Tuesday, 8 Feb 2011 – 2:30 pm EST through Saturday, 12 Feb 2011 – 1:40pm (11 Feb, 10:10 pm EST )
The final packing push, and all other tasks on the day of departure, didn’t feel truly real. At the time I was splitting my consciousness in two. One half reached for the void, the black unknown of future being and experience, the other half was comfortable in the ever more fuzzy past. Throughout the day and a half of travel I tried resolutely, and fairly successfully, to stay rooted in the now, to be fully present in my journey.
Dulles and the airplane to San Francisco were both fairly empty. This allowed me space to metaphorically “warm-up” for the 14 hour trans-Pacific flight. Five hours and fifteen minutes later I completed my first time jump: backwards to 8:53 Pacific at what should have been 11:53 Eastern. At SFO I contemplated people and travel (who travels? why? destination?) and was anxious to meet my seatmates.
No worries there. Y does design work and now he’s in his second of three years at Uni in Sydney for a business/IT degree. I was glad to have some knowledge of design and branding from my brother’s education and work. This built enough common ground for us to realize we had been to the same places in Brooklyn, and were actually in Williamsburg, VA at the same time two weekends ago!
C, on the other side, was traveling to visit her sick mother and seemed to be preoccupied, but conversation did come later. She and her husband have education and careers in biology (in labs), so we discussed everything from cancer research to education to the “Bad Project” video. She had some very good advice about Australia, especially to keep my wits about me during orientation.
The three of us comfortably eased in and out of conversation, sleep, and eating the (fairly unmemorable) complimentary meals. It’s good to have a connection in Sydney, if only a 14-hour acquaintance sort, but I definitely plan to look Y up if I make it to Sydney.
The Sydney transfer took some time with Immigration, baggage, Customs, re-checking baggage, security, and getting to the new terminal, but I made my Adelaide flight. At this point I’d flown another 14 hours, but traveled ahead in time to 8:20 am, going forward in time 6 hours. Leaving at 9:45 am, landing only an hour and a half later, I enjoyed my shortest flight and only a 30 minute BACKWARDS time jump to land at 11:10 am in Adelaide. Oh, and it’s late summer here. Confused yet? Wishing everyone went by GMT? Me too. For future reference (pun intended) I’m 15.5 hours ahead of most of you. When you’re eating dinner Friday evening, I’m eating brunch Saturday late-morning.
I have temporary housing for the week at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. It’s not air conditioned and the decor’s pretty out of date, but it’s comfortable and quiet and they have showers, so I’m happy for the time being.
The last couple of days I’ve been walking around North Terrace and Rundle Mall (a 10-ish block stretch) getting acclimated to the weather, time difference, new sights and sounds. My first couple of meals have consisted of: Hot Cross buns, peaches, “Pud” Thai, Pesto Pizza and, today, breakfast out with a Master’s student who I met on my hall last night. She’s also studying for a semester here and was in the States for high school. Thursday afternoon I ran into B from W&M at Woolworth’s. I got good advice from her about cell phones and a possible housing option and this afternoon I’m meeting up with E from W&M. I’m sure I’ll meet some real, live Aussies soon, but it’s good to know some people just for these first couple of days before O Week.
On a side note: I can’t find any Goldfish crackers.
Allison Kellum is a Biology major and Art History minor at the College, graduating in May 2012. In between studying and TV-show marathons she can be found cooking, thrift shopping, or hiking. Read more at Allison’s Awesome Australian Adventures.