Earlier this month, as I was returning from easily the best Christmas Break ever, my luck took a colossal nosedive and I had quite possibly one of the worst weekends in the history of mankind. Things broke down and were destroyed, money vanished to the point where I had no idea what to do, people were arrested, and let’s not even get started with the Packers game…not a single positive event occurred in a span of about three days. Yet I managed to get through it all by reciting one word to myself over and over.
I’ve felt like Red for the past few months, saying “Zihuatanejo” over and over, reminding himself that there’s hope for seeing his old friend Andy one day. This past summer, a good friend of mine gave me what might turn out to be some of the best advice I’ve ever received. We hadn’t talked in quite some time and we both knew that it was going to be one of our last meetings for quite a while, so we were determined to make the best of it. We discussed every topic imaginable and when I was through pouring my heart and soul out to him late in the evening, he looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “Ryan, you’re not like this place. Get the hell out of here. There is so much more out there and you feel it. I can see it in your eyes. You’re through with this place and it’s through with you.” I remember sitting in the booth for a few minutes mulling over what he had just said before slowly nodding my head in agreement with him. It was something I had needed to be told for quite a while and he somehow sensed that. I guess that’s always why we were such great friends.
The day I moved back to Columbia, I had a little unexpected bad luck fall my way. Of course, it only helped further strengthen my “everything happens for a reason” mentality for it sealed my friend’s advice and the next day I walked into the Study Abroad office, told them I was a senior, and asked what forms I needed to fill out. There was no question about it, I was on the “Australia or bust” bandwagon.
With me being a senior in my final semester, it adds a different twist to the whole equation. When most people go to study abroad, they still have at least another year of two of college remaining. They are able to go away, do their thing, and then come back and assimilate back into their old lifestyle. But that’s not the case with me. College is over for me. The classes in Aussie are “ass/fail,” meaning that it doesn’t matter if I make all D’s or all A’s, I’ll get the same credit regardless. That, in turn, means my GPA is officially locked and done with, I can take whatever classes I want, and when I return I graduate. I’m planning on going to maybe one or two classes a week. The next 5 months will essentially be a long vacation for me and I feel I’ve earned it. When I come home, I’ve already got plans to visit 5 or 6 different places and people across the country, I’ll have a grand sendoff with my bros at Jeremy’s bachelor party, and USC will hand me a diploma. Then it’s off to start chapter 6 of “I Bet My Goob is Bigger Than Yours: A memoir by Ryan Shyzer” or whatever the hell I decide to name it.
I was able to say goodbye to my family over Christmas Break, which was wonderful. Nothing in the world is more important to me than my siblings and my parents and therefore I was extremely thankful to have been able to have such a fantastic extended vacation with them and make sure we created some new memories. Last night, I was given the chance to say goodbye to all my friends here in Columbia as well. A kick ass “Goob Farewell Dinner: Brought To You By Kevin Fellner” was held in my honor and it was fantastic. (Wait, that sentence doesn’t even begin to describe last night. As one of our guests so eloquently phrased it, “Fellner, you went all out!” He started BBQing somewhere around 2 in the afternoon outside in the freezing cold and rain. When it was all said and done, we had ribs, chicken, corn, and beans. We even had a celebrity guest and today I was able to eat many leftovers. All in all, a most memorably night that will never be forgotten. Brought to me by the one and only Fellner.)
I’ve got three choices / job offers for once I get out of college and the closest one to South Carolina is 800 miles away. Color me excited. Of course I’ll miss all my friends and family, but that’s the exciting part. I’m forcing myself to get out there and start from scratch all over again. The level of terror I feel every time I think about the fact that I’m about to travel 10,000 miles to live in another country without knowing a soul is off the charts. But the minute a drop of that terror starts to flow through me, it makes me feel ecstatic. It’s a good terror, hell, a great terror. A few minutes later it has me convinced I can take on the whole world and that feeling doesn’t subside for days.
This isn’t some “the grass is greener on the other side” cry for help either. I know I’m running away from here. There’s so much baggage that I haven’t successfully dealt with that it’s not even funny. I’m not even going to try and hide it and maybe being upfront with that will help in the long run. But for me, it’s time to pick up the check, kiss South Carolina goodbye, and take off for the night. Hell, it’s not even that I’m unhappy here. I honestly haven’t been this content in a long, long time. It’s just that there’s still something missing, something more out there that I need. I can feel it every single day and I’m just irritated that I waited 22 years before going out in search of it. Is it in Australia? Probably not. But at least I’ll have searched there.
I actually only got accepted into the affiliate program, which will end up running me about an extra $1500 compared to what it would have cost had I been accepted into the direct enrollment program. I’ve also been told recently that my housing acceptance letter was never received, meaning I’m now in a heated battle trying to regain my room. But you know what? I don’t even care. At my current rate, I’ll run out of money in Aussie sometime around late April, but I’ll find a way to make the extra money, even if that means pawning off everything I own. And as far as housing, I’m sure that will work out. If not in the dorms, I’ll get an apartment. That’s how bad I want to go and see what’s out there. Besides, everything works out in the end. Everything.
I still don’t know what I’m going to do with Shyzer when the time comes. I can assure you here and now that in no way will I close shop. I’ve invested far too much blood and energy into my baby to just toss it aside for six months. Besides, there’s nothing like this nagging sense of duty I feel to a group of people whom I’ve never met. Of course, I won’t be taking my computer with me and my laptop has no Internet connection available, so the whole “Internet Access” might pose to be a problem. But I’ll make it work. I give you my word that you’ll have weekly updates and they won’t be some half-assed post. I feel I owe it to all those who’ve stuck around here for so long. IM will quickly become a thing of the past (which I am intriguingly interested in anyways) and the thought of no cell phone is actually a little comforting. And surprisingly, I’m debating whether or not to bring the name “Goob” along with me. That is actually one of the hardest decisions I’ve been forced to make in quite a while.
Well, the sun is rising now, which is my signal to hit the sack. But before I do, I’ll leave a few questions that I want some of you to answer. Why are you living where you currently reside? What special grip is holding you to that area and what would it take for you to move on? Seriously, I want to know.
Australia. Australia. Australia.