‘Oh! The places you’ll go!’ – Dr. Seuss is the phrase that came to mind as I sat here, thinking about the adventure of a lifetime I am about to embark on. Though the thought itself may have been evoked by my 6 year old brother’s recent rendition of the Seussical at school, I feel, that the words rings true for all of us about to leave on exchange.
I am 16 years old. Living in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia. I would describe where I live as small. Not at all in the sense of the land it covers, since The Blue Mountains is actually a fairly large expanse of area. Not even in the sense of the importance or beauty it holds. If you have ever been to the Mountains (as we call it) you would know of its immense beauty, in not only the landscape, but the people and community.
When I say small, I mean none of these things. It is small only because of the shelter it provides and of the protection and the safety I have grown up with. That I can’t go out without bumping into someone I know. Or that I’ve attended the same school of 150 students from Kindergarten to Year 12. Or that sometimes the bustle of the city confuses me.
The city of Nagasaki, Japan, is where I will be living and attending school all of next year. I would describe Nagasaki as BIG. A city with a population of over 5 times that of the Blue Mountains. An unfamiliar culture. A new language. A huge school. A place where I am no longer the big fish in a small pond, but a 小さい魚 (small fish) in the うみ (sea).
But this change is exactly what I am looking for in exchange. It will provide the opportunity for me to develop and grow, and I am excited to see who I become throughout this coming year. It’s less than two months until us exchange students board our flights… to so many wonderful destinations across the globe. As the moment nears, I wonder about my life next year. I wonder about the people I’ll meet and the friendships I’ll make and the things I’ll do and the adventures I’ll take. (If Seuss rhymes why can’t I?)
I am a people person. My relationships with others being one of the my most prized possessions. I cherish my family especially. My four younger siblings are my greatest playmates. And I’m only the eldest when I have to be. My mums are my best friends. And I’m only one of the kids when I have to be. As I said before, I’ve been at the same small school since I was 5 years old, so my classmates and friends are like my family. There are all these extraordinary people in my life. That I am going to miss. That’re going to miss me. I hope that for every amazing person here, there’s another, equally brilliant, on the other end of my flight.
I hope to share my passion for music with others. Though I love to compose, sing and perform I would never describe myself as a musician. Music is important to me in a different sense. I love to dance. I can’t dance. But I love it. To put on a song, and sway. Bust a move while nobody’s watching. Or grab someone’s hand and embarrass them (and myself) on the dance floor.
Sport and exercise. It makes me happy. Every night I walk my dog. I play volleyball and netball competitively. I wonder how I will be incorporating physical activity into my life next year. My family are big sporting people, and we often play games of tennis, football and many other sports together as a pastime. It’s an incredibly simple yet fun activity that I would love to share.
I also have an interest in school, debating, cooking, reading and writing, and especially language and communication. I’m curious. So curious. And love to learn and develop myself. Not only academically, but socially, physically, mentally and positively in any way, shape or form.
Thank you to everyone who has made this dream of mine into a reality.
I can’t wait to share amazing moments and memories with you all.
Oh! The places we’ll go!
— ruby parsons burns —