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You’re on your own, kid.

Moving to Australia was one of the most difficult things I've ever done. Leaving the safety of my mother's arms and going out into the real world seemed exciting at first, but it quickly became daunting. Having lived in a bubble for most of my life, I was never allowed to take risks, go on dates with boys (although that didn't stop me from dating one), or do anything remotely independent. Because I was their only child, their only hope. Especially my mother, who sacrificed so much so that I could have a better life than she did. And I was not about to be a disappointment. As I embarked on my first plane ride alone, I contemplated going back home; better to give up now than later for being an absolute failure. My friends who had travelled solo before didn't understand the pain I was in; how could I leave everything I knew for the unknown? 


Could I leave my parents and live a life separate from them?

Could I leave the only friends I'd ever had? 

Could I leave the only boy who ever found me attractive? 

But I managed to create a home in a place I never imagined. 

 


When I first moved to Sydney, I never understood how I would make a cramped dorm room my home. After littering my room with pictures of my family and high school friends, I felt calm, but that's when the storm hit. The realisation that I needed to make new friends at a place that seemed so foreign. My first friend in college came like the wind, softly taking me away with her grace and kindness. The comfort she brought me had no end, and I will dearly miss holding her hand and lounging around with her in the hallway. 


The people that soon became a part of what was known as the 'gang' came shortly after. One taught me how to do laundry and was always ready with a fun fact, making mundane things such as grocery shopping and lunch feel fun. The other made me laugh and showered me with affection and witty conversation. The constant teasing and torture of our friend Rowan became our favourite past time, but his warmth and friendship is something I will always treasure. I did not see the last friend come in. She was sneaky, pulling me in with her effortless charm and wit. Teasing her was easy but loving her was easier. 


Soon, I realised that home was not the shoddy kitchen at E-block or the cramped-up dorm room I slept in, but rather the people that soon became the newest additions to my life. Home was the smell of pasta at lunch time, and the soft touches of the people I call my best friends. It was filled with the sound of May’s laugh and Rika's fun facts, dusted with Victoria’s compliments that would make our days better. Home had the echoes of Tansey singing “my money don't jiggle jiggle, it folds” and Rowan screaming utter nonsense. Home was calm, chaotic, and wild, but most of all, home was where the heart is, and my heart was with the five individuals I call my friends.


Two years later, the gang broke up. Rowan, Tansey, May, and I were the last ones standing, and soon we formed new groups of friends with vivacious and vibrant characters who I cannot imagine my life without. I fell in love with someone who brought an indescribable light into my life, and even though he left, I will always treasure the time we spent running around the city. My life soon became one that resembled the coming-of-age stories we see on screen, only better. 


However, it isn't always bright and beautiful. There are days where I yearn for the familiarity and comfort I once had. Days when I just want to go back home and run into my mother's arms. But then I put on my shoes and go for a walk around Macquarie. I listen to some music and remind myself how brave I've been so far and that it's too late to give up now. I come back home and hold my friend's hand as we go to the dining hall. I sit with the people I love most and laugh until my ribs get tough. And in this moment, I swear I’ve never been happier. 


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