Seven years ago, I made a promise to a very special family and myself that I would see them again one day. On the last weekend of my study abroad experience, I made this dream come true. 🙂
One of the major reasons why I decided to study abroad in Australia was because of my incredible experience with People to People’s Student Ambassador program, which I participated in for three weeks in 2009. During that trip I had a homestay for three days with a family in Coffs Harbor. Over that three-day period, the Buddens became a second family to me. I still cannot put into words how we got as close as we did in such a short amount of time, but to this day saying goodbye to them has been one of the hardest goodbyes of my life.
I did not want that to be a forever goodbye, and ever since I have saved and worked to make it possible to return back to Australia to see them. After years of connecting through Facebook, I finally got to see Craig, Deb, Tyler, and Bronte in person.
When my flight landed in Coffs, I could not believe it was actually happening. I met Deb at the airport and we immediately started to cry as we embraced. My heart was full of happiness and it took me at least two hours to believe I was actually back with my host mum again, not just in a dream. As we drove home, I remembered some of the streets, and the house was still very much the same, and it felt like I was coming home.
Throughout the day I was reunited with Craig and Bronte, and soon enough those seven years seemed to vanish away and it felt just like yesterday we had said goodbye. However, one thing that had most certainly changed since the last time we saw each other was technology. Last time we were together, there were no iPhones or Snapchat, and social media was pretty much brand new to us. As I was showing photos of my adventures in Australia and of my home, I wished I had photos of my house and town that I could show them. Instead, I was able to use Google Maps to do a street view of my house and certain areas of my town, which was so unbelievable to have technology to bring our separate parts of the world closer together.
Throughout the weekend, the Buddens took me to gorgeous parts of Coffs Harbor, including the Promise Lands, Boambe Bay, and Belligen, as well as a small sunset hike over the harbor.
The weekend came and went all too quickly. When Sunday morning arose, I woke up with a knot in my stomach knowing that I had to say farewell once again to my second family. We enjoyed a nice brekky and shared some last stories before packing up and driving to the bus stop. When we arrived the bus was already there, limiting our goodbyes to only a few minutes. I feared this time may have been the final goodbye, as I had made the most of my four months in Australia, that I did not feel unfinished adventures still remained for me to come back for. However, I know over the next few years, we will be reunited again for special events in each other’s lives, and that we have more hellos in our future.
I am beyond blessed to have a story so amazing as this one. I have only spent seven days with these people throughout my entire life, yet they remain to be some of the most important people in my life.