Where is Adelaide?

Where is Adelaide?

Since I’m infamous for direction-giving, I thought I’d post this map. Lots of people have asked, where is Adelaide? South. Yeah, it’s south.

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“So third grade…

“So third grade self, I’m about to do you proud.”

It seems like yesterday when my dad picked my sister and I up from elementary school in his big blue semi-truck. He’d park across the street from the blonde brick building that we’d rush out of at 3:30 every day. I went to a k-12 school in rural Colorado, grew up on a farm, and graduated with 10 kids in my senior class.

I felt like a princess when my dad picked us up in the semi. It was huge and awesome and all the kids in my class were jealous. Plus, if Dad picked us up after unloading, he always had these delicious fruit juice drinks the grain elevator sold. I don’t remember what they were called and I haven’t seen them in years, but they were a special treat, the kind all Dads get to dole out.

My sister and I made seismographs of the dirt road. She started it. But being a little sister, as soon as she had done it I thought it was the best idea ever, and I wanted to do it too! We’d both bring paper and limply hold our pencils over it, letting every bump and sway carry our graphite across the pages until we had seriously measured the quality of our travel.

I also liked to bring Sadie in the truck. She was my cabbage patch kid.

I’d sit with her on the sleeper bed and imagine her at the beach, swimming around in the ocean and exploring. She found shells, she met octopuses and starfish, and just generally had a great time. Everything was a possibility!

And then when we got home I’d run into the house and hug my mom, who gave up a career and all opportunities in the big world to make one little, loving, amazing world for my sister and I to grow up in. One fall our peach trees made peaches, determined through the brown and windy climate of eastern Colorado, and maybe we’d eat one of those for snack after piling out of the semi and waving to my dad. 

My mom would ask me about my day and I would excitedly tell her like five stories at once about stuff that had happened, and who said what, and what happened at recess, and the coolest thing we’d learned in history, really anything and everything. And she was such a perfect listener. I’m a pretty poor listener myself, and it sort of floors me my mom just sat there and listened to me and asked me questions and let me talk until the urge to go bother my older sister to play with me overcame all else, and I’d bound away from the kitchen to find Sarah.

But anyway, my point is that I remember those days as clearly as though they happened just yesterday– in my mind it was just yesterday! But I guess fourteen or fifteen years have gone by, and I despair to think I’ll never proudly walk across the dusty asphalt road outside Bethune School to ascend my throne in the blue semi-truck and drink my special fruit juice and profess all my feelings on everything to my mom at our yellow kitchen counter.

I shouldn’t feel too badly though, because I can carry those moments with me my whole life, and I have a lot to look forward to in the next few months. I’m turning twenty soon.

An icosahedron has twenty faces. Twenty is the number of turns required to optimally solve a Rubik’s cube. The atomic number for calcium is twenty. In physics, twenty is the third magic number. For me, twenty is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Literally.

Do you remember how you thought of age when you were younger? Twenty sounded so cool to me, everyone that was twenty was probably cool. They were in college, they had lots of friends, they thought interesting thoughts, and they did brave and worldly things. They could also stay up as late as they wanted, probably anybody would play outside with them if they asked, and boys would bring them flowers and delicious chocolates, of which they could eat as much as they wanted whenever they wanted, even before dinner!

It sounds pretty cool, right? Except that now I go to work and school and have to do my own laundry, and staying up late sucks, because then all your responsibilities are twenty times more arduous the next day. Also, the chocolate thing only sounded great because I was pretty unaware of calories and it turns out I’m really allergic to flowers. But hey, I’m not going to totally fail my third grade expectations of who I might be at twenty. That would be lame.

 

So third grade self, I’m about to do you proud.

This semester, I’m going to Adelaide to study abroad. And before I do that, I’m going to New Zealand. And maybe I’ll make it to Fiji sometime in there, too.

I don’t know where all this trip will take me, but I’ve looked forward to being the kind of person that does this kind of thing for a long time, and I hope you’ll all be kind enough to join me!