‘Till next time. Promise.
This is the long version of my good-bye.
My farewell to America. It has been one amazing journey and I want to thank everybody who played a part: from a smile across the hall, to those who stood alongside sharing passions, stories; your lives. These are friendships I will treasure that transcend all borders. I write here today to express my gratefulness on having this experience, and to mention that it was never a good-bye, but a bye for now.
Being able to study at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo (Michigan), then to travel through just over 20 states of the USA and to both sides of Canada has been an unforgettable experience to say the least.
It has made me feel closer to the world, a learning experience that genuinely cannot be matched by any classroom, any talk or presentation.
For me personally, the journey has opened up a lot. Truths about myself, and the world around me. But I have yet to make a conclusion, and to stop seeking this – a defined view of what the world means, is a loss to ones own personal education.
Western (WMU) has been what I called home for one semester. But it has been the best time in my life thus far. (Once a Bronco, always a Bronco!) And it is with great sorrow that I must leave it all behind. At this point though I consider out of the many students that do exist, only the smallest fraction get to experience this wonderful opportunity.
I talk a lot about opportunity and in which what I’ve proven is, you can achieve anything you set your mind to with dedication and effort. Nothing is free. Sometimes we lack that inspiration, but as a pastor I knew in past, and as the Nike brand effortlessly claims: Just do it.
A few thank-you’s of course, and that is to every single individual involved in this experience. The new friends, the people behind the scenes, the ones I didn’t spend enough time with (some too much).
Some special mentions are firstly to Outspoken @ WMU. Without this organization my life on campus would probably have not been as enjoyable as it had been. This group, in fact I will go as far as to say ‘this family;’ represent the LGBT community and friends on campus. For me having their support especially as someone who for years was less open about a gay identity was immeasurable and an asset for many others out there. This is especially important today with recent tribulations endured young people especially in America and in the wider world with highly unfortunate incidences of bullying through prejudice by other human beings and institutions.
But regardless their support has brought me to where I am today. And to my supremely awesome new friends met through this (all you beautiful people, argh, I miss you!); I was overwhelmed with the amount of support provided with open arms. I urge others to support this group, as I know they will lead and forward the movement as well as an integral part of WMU.
Also, my room-mate(s) Austin (and that extends to Avery as well!) whose tolerance had exceeded expectations and a ‘modest cool’ demeanor had let the good times roll. Our crew grew to extended family members whether biological or not it was certainly enjoyed like mug of Butterbeer.
But there is nothing that compares really to Henry Hall though. From the rotating bunch of people, Henry was ours. The lobbyists, and if ever there be someone down there, it was never a dull day. We know the times we had! (Nothing like a Sweetwater’s run at 2am either). Through our brilliant hall I wouldn’t have bumped into Steven who took me under his wing during Thanksgiving which was a superb time. I also thank is family who had welcomed me and showed me one of the US’s fantastic cities Chicago.
Finally the most unique and I think to be treasured highly by myself is with another family of sorts, and that is Alpha Eta Rho (AHP) fraternity. Naturally as a pilot one of my passions is that of our industry in Aviation.
I remember the Dean mentioning how tight aviation is; it’s absolutely true. And the bonds between our airmen/airwomen, navigators, administrators, maintenance, controllers, engineers, in any discipline is one that is treasured by no organization greater than AHP and that of furthering aviation in all it’s facets. Thank-you to the executive team, new friends made, and to my ‘Big’ Craig (we did it)! I still wonder if I could ever emulate the greatness of AHP in Australia, it’s a working progress.
Whilst on aviation, another mention is Scott Warner, who works very much behind the scenes as well as at the forefront (especially at Battle Creek) in Aviation at WMU. This relationship is not possible without the bonds created with my friends also (Sam, Vinh, Ben, Cam) who enjoyed this experience of studying abroad. I leave our next chapter of the Swinburne-WMU story to Chetan, who I have enjoyed exploring a little more of the USA with. Have a blast.
And lastly, Andrew who joined me on my travels as I explored the majority of the West coast. Whilst at times we resembled an old couple, I don’t think I could have ever enjoyed my time as much without you. The exploring, the sleep-ins which saw us believe we had missed our bus, and of course the drive, which I was mostly asleep on.
There are some also other unmentioned individuals, but have meant the absolute world to me (and still do). You will never be forgotten.
So will I return. Yes, but I can’t exactly say when. Life’s journey is full of options, choices. But I have made the promise that I will be back in Kalamazoo, and certainly to further explore the world.
I have plenty more stories to share on my experience, so take a look around on my blog. I hope to upload every city that I have been to and more events that happened by the end of February. So do come back!
One must not dwell, nor live in the past, and it’s to the future in which we gaze.
There will be the inevitable drift apart, but your memory serves of a reminder of the time we had; keep it alive, please stay as touch best you can.
Strength through unity.
NB: My flight got delayed on the 31st of January… I’m still in LA. But yeah you get it.