In high school I was a pretty avid bodyboarder. Now, I’m not saying I was a good bodyboarder but I enjoyed it and went whenever I could and enjoyed the perks of being on my high school’s surf team (hanging out with the coolest boys in school, getting to travel for cheap, etc). I was acquaintances with lots of people at school and had a core group of friends, but I spent lots of time at home, too. My high school days were like the golden days of AOL, being online was still new and exciting to a degree. I was still amused by chat rooms (which, sidenote-do chat rooms still exist?) and I liked looking for member profiles of boys who were my age and also bodyboarded to chat to. One night as I was on looking at profiles, one popped up from a guy who was about a year older than me, who bodyboarded and lived in Australia. Nothing seemed more exotic at the time. So I IM’ed him. It was a friendly chat about surfing, wave conditions, and what life was like in Australia. Little did I know that that chat would set me on the course to my life that landed me in Australia today. S and I started talking a lot. We had so much in common and we didn’t ever run out of things to say. We talked for months online and then I got a boyfriend, but we still continued to talk, I’m sure even about the boyfriend, because while we might have liked each other online, S and I were still living real lives, as well. Over that year S sent me a few letters and we started talking a lot again when my boyfriend and I broke up. He even sent me this awesome letter that I still have and all these burned CDs of Australian bands he thought I’d like (though I didn’t listen to them because they had awful names…..Grinspoon anyone? Haha) before I went on a safari to Kenya. I even brought his letter with me to Africa and read it at night when I was bored. I also sent him postcards and picked him up a bracelet and an arrow from real Masai warriors on the trip. I had just lost a very good childhood friend to suicide and I was pretty mixed up at the time but S was so nice and seemed so perfect. I remember writing in my journal that I wished he and I lived closer so we could meet and see if we got along as well in person. After that, I got back together with my loser exboyfriend and S was cool enough to play along when he’d call as someone I met through one of the boy’s on the surf team, rather than a random internet friend so my loser exbf wouldn’t get mad. Childish games right, but whatever, I was 18. S and I lost contact for about a year there, but I still thought of him at times. Loser exbf and I fought all the time and eventually broke up (well like 4 times, back and forth, I was messed up at the time and thought I was in love for the first time, ok?) and although I had never wanted to go away to college or leave, what I thought was, my perfect life in Orange County, I decided I needed to move away for a change of pace. I was originally planning on doing a study abroad thing in London so I could experience a real winter and stuff, but then I remembered that I kindof knew someone in Australia and maybe he could help find a school to go to, plus the weather would be more what I was used to, plus our dollar was worth more down there, and plus it was freaking Australia. I searched through my room looking for S’s phone number or email address. I called his house and his Dad picked up and it was pretty awkward asking if S was home, he wasn’t. He spent most of his week at his friend’s place since it was closer to the university. So I left a message and a phone number and wasn’t sure if I’d hear back from S/the message would make it to him. I remember going in to see my Mom that night, as she always read in bed before going to sleep while my Dad watched TV, and telling her that I had contacted someone I knew from online about schools in Australia. She was excited, my parents are awesome and supported my decision to study abroad. I think it was the next night that S contacted me and we got the ball rolling….
More to come tomorrow!