Takin’ It Easy

One time last year, I got breakfast with my dad and he told me that when I feel sad, I should go out of my way to make some that I love feel happy. That making someone else happy will bring you limitless and fulfilling happiness that you can never achieve by simply trying to make yourself happy. Happiness is meant to be shared. That conversation has come to mind anytime I feel discouraged and that method has never failed me in the slightest. Thanks, Dad.
I’ve been playing my ukulele a lot and I’ve been getting a lot better with the help and encouragement of the musical friends I’ve made here. Playing, listening to, and dancing to music with people that enjoy it just as much as you do is a simple pleasure that I’ve been lucky enough to have an abundance of here.
The last week of April was my two best friends’ here’s birthdays. First-year Kyle turned 18 and my fellow American Caroline turned 21. Although I hate my own birthday (it’s tomorrow), I love other people’s birthdays. For Caroline, a group of us we went out to a restaurant pub where they play my and Caroline’s favorite live music then for sweets at the chocolate store in South Bank. After, we walked along the river that splits the city, which was still very alive with people as the crickets sang in the warm night. On our way to the bars in the city, we took a detour at the big glowing casino. I’d never been to a casino before and this one was huge and bustling with the weirdest diversity of adults I’d ever seen. I didn’t bet anything for lack of knowledge of the games (and money) however, between all of my friends we won $75. The key is to stop playing as soon as you win once.
For Kyle’s birthday, we gathered in the common room at midnight and we all cheered as Kyle took his first ever legal shot of alcohol. Afterwards we cut and shared the cake that Kyle had made himself. The next day 12 or so of us piled onto the bus to take Kyle out to his first ever time at the bars followed by his first time spending way too much money on drinks, eating street food at 2am, and then trying to get an uber back to campus. “Thank you for making my birthday fun!” Kyle burst into me and Caroline’s rooms at 4 in the morning to tell us.

The reason I was so excited for these two birthdays is because I absolutely love those two kids. Caroline is so similar to me it’s creepy and she goes out of her way to be a caring friend from her unwavering silliness to how well she listens. Kyle is just as energetic and annoying as I am and he’s always there to talk my head off and talking with him always leaves me feeling inspired and important. As I try to write this blog, at 1:25am, Caroline won’t stop jumping up and down on my bed and Kyle is laying on it while loudly singing the theme song to Phinese and Ferb. Many of my favorite moments thus far are of just dancing around in my room with Caroline and Kyle and singing as loud as we can. Or laying piled on my bed talking and laughing for hours on end. Those are the hours “wasted” because no productivity was achieved. I didn’t spend those hours seeing important Australian landmarks like I was often doing in Europe or getting homework done and working towards my future or anything of that nature. But in my mind, these hours were anything but a waste of time. They’re the hours that make life worth living.

When I was in Europe, I regarded every Australian I met as an angel. They appeared at my moments of despair, restoring my hope and showing me how much love life holds. That might be a bit of a fantastical exaggeration, but on some level it’s true. Imagining them with angel wings reminds me that everyone, Australian or not, has an abundance of worth, love, and good in them that it’s easy to forget is there sometimes. This hasn’t stopped since I’ve been here. Last week a friend of mine named Peter invited Caroline and I down to his beach house at Rainbow Beach so we packed everything into  his tiny old car and drove 3 hours down the coast.

Peter and his sister Steph were very hospitable. They made us food and were proud do show us around the best of the tiny beach town they had been coming to since childhood. The evening we arrived it was raining and we ran up barefoot to the sand dunes overlooking the ocean that surround the neighborhood and jumped off big ledges of sand only to land in more soft sand below. Although the forecast for the entire weekend predicted thunderstorms, it miraculously remained sunny the entire time we were outside after that. The next day Peter made us pancakes and then we hopped back in the car to go four-wheel driving through the forest. Because Peter’s car was too old to have an auxiliary cord outlet and we were in too obscure a place to get any radio stations, we ended up listening to the Eagles greatest hits CD, an inconvenience that couldn’t have been more perfect. I’m trying to learn their song “Take It Easy” on the ukulele now. As we were driving, singing, with the wind in my hair I thought to myself that whenever I’m somewhere dull, this is where I would rather be. The forest path ended at the beach where we sped down as the waves crashed only a couple feet to the right of us to a part where there were no people, just ocean and sand, and went for a swim. Afterwards we went to a Eucalyptus tree lake which was somehow both perfectly clear and the color red at the same time. Although it was freezing cold, my friends coaxed me in. We went back to the house for avocado and ham sandwiches and then went back out to the dunes to try our hand at sand boarding. It didn’t work out too well but that didn’t stop us from pushing each other down the hill or burying Peter in the sand or having a really competitive sand ball fight. The next day we drove back back out onto the beach and went surfing. Now that I’ve had some experience with it, I’m getting a lot better and I catch more waves than not. I’m truly blessed to have met Peter, who shares my extraverted yet sensitive personality type, ENFP.
Realizing that I am an ENFP personality type has actually made me realize an immense amount about myself (thank Anne Ferguson for telling me that I was in the first place). ENFP stands for Extraverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving. “ENFPs are both idea-people and people-people who see everyone and everything as a part of their cosmic world.” Many of my friends share this personality type with me and talking with them about thoughts, ideas, problems, etc. has brought me so much clarity. I’ve had a lot of tests on my character and who I am here and I’ve had to answer to the consequences of growing up but I’ve truly learned a lot about myself, just in these last few weeks. Knowing more about who I am and knowing there are other people like me has made this learning experience easier, as easy as growing up can be.

Memorable Moments:

  • Putting a tree in Kyle’s room

Caroline and I found a tree and put it in Kyle’s room.

  • Lawn Bowls 

My hallmates and I dressed up like old people to play a sport called lawn bowls. It’s similar to bowling but played outdoors, by old people, apparently.

  • Taking Bailee and Max to my Unibar 
Bailee and Max came to visit me from the Gold Coast and I was ecstatic to be able to take them to my the unibar at my school where all my school friends were ecstatic that I brought actual Americans to the American themed night at unibar. 

  • Bailee and Max taking me to the secret beach behind Burleigh Heads 

When we go to the beach we usually go to Burleigh Heads but little did we know that behind the national park was more wild beach to swim in.

  • Floor Party

Each floor or the dorm I live in gets their own party. The floor I’m on, third, was themed nationalities. It was interpreted quite…creatively. 

  • Of Monsters and Men & Odesza concerts 

Caroline and I went to back to back concerts these past two weeks at the coolest venue in the Valley called the Trivoli. 

Stay tuned for a tear-jerker about how sad I’m going to be to leave this place I call home. Right now, I haven’t let myself even entertain the idea that I’m leaving in two months for the fear of crying in public.
As Peter would say, it’s been “hectic fun!!!!!!!!!!”

Published by Mia Olea Garza

I am a photography, videographer, and filmmaker in Austin, Texas.

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