As I stated earlier, I traveled down to Charleston this past week to spend my days and nights with Fellner and his family. They so graciously accepted me into their vacation for the second year in a row and as I’ve always said, a week of fun and sun never hurt anybody. So sorry for the complete lack of posts, but there was no Internet connection and seeing as I have yet to get that chip installed into my brain that will provide me with 24 / 7 web access, I had to wait.
While I was in Charleston, I managed to see some of my best friends from back in the day as well as those I run with more often in the present. It was fantastic seeing each and every one of them. In fact, it’s been amazing seeing all my friends since I’ve arrived back here in the states. It boggles my mind when I think I’ve only been back for three and a half weeks. With all the stuff I’ve done and people I’ve seen, it almost feels as if I never left. But whenever I start to feel like this, I invariably run into somebody I haven’t seen since my pre-Australia days and naturally, one of the first thing each and every one of them does is ask if I enjoyed my trip. I, of course, tell them how much fun I had and how I’m going back this February, which of course leads to a follow up question that I’ve been asked at least 100 times.
“But what’s so amazing about it? Is it the land? Or the people? I don’t see what they could possibly have that America doesn’t that would make you want to move there.”
This question is to be expected. It’s no surprise whatsoever I’m being asked it and so, you would think, I’d be able to formulate a response ahead of time. But ever since I’ve arrived back in the states, I’ve had trouble answering it and it wasn’t until recently that it finally dawned on me. Anybody who would ask that question automatically doesn’t and won’t understand it’s answer.
When I was down in Charleston, I met up with Jessica (my ex-girlfriend) and Elton (the one person I’ve ever been closest friends with). It was fantastic to see them both, since I had not really seen or talked to either one of them in over a year. As the night was winding down, Elton and I decided to go grab some food at a diner and before I knew it, four hours had passed and time was making fools of us yet again. But somewhere in the middle of those four hours, a thought passed through my head. Of all the people I’d seen since I got home, Elton was the only one not to ask that question.
It shouldn’t have really surprised me though. It was Elton who convinced me to follow my heart and get out of South Carolina in the first place. It was Elton who had gone to Chile, and since Brazil, and soon Cuba. It was Elton who I had grown up with, shared my deepest thoughts and desires with, who always knew me better than I seemed to know myself. He had no need to ask such a silly question when he already could see it in my eyes. I was no longer the Goob he had counseled just a short year ago. Sitting across from Elton was the Old Goob, the True Goob, and he could put two and two together.
Somewhere around the third week of my stay in Australia, Sez and I were talking in my room one night and she asked me, “so, is Australia everything you thought it’d be?” During the delayed seconds it took me formulate a response, all the uncertainty and nervousness I felt on my way over there came rushing back. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect and I was only hoping for the best. All I knew was why I was going over there and what I was hoping to gain from the experience, personally. So I responded with, “I don’t know if it’s everything I thought it’d be, but I can certainly tell you it is everything I needed it to be.”
She probably had no idea what in the hell I was talking about, but I knew even as early as week 3 that the five months I was about to spend in Australia was exactly what I needed to finally give re-birth to the Old Goob. And that, my friends, was exactly what I went there to do.
About a week before I left, Emma came to my room with a small piece of poster board. She was leaving the next day to go home, so this was the last night we were going to get to spend together before I left. The poster board in her hand, though, was an ingenious idea she had come up with earlier. There are quite a few International students at Newcastle – some stay for a semester, others for a year. But in the end, we all have to go back home. Well, Emma came up with an idea to get every International friend she had leaving to sign the poster before they took off and that night it was my turn. I came back to my room to sit and think for a minute and eventually the previous conversation I had with Sez came floating through my mind and I thought about how right I’d been, even early on.
Back in middle and high school, I was a happy go lucky guy. Sure, I was serious when the situation called for it, but on any average day, I could be found with a smile on my face and a sarcastic remark on the tip of my tongue. And most importantly, I was happy. Truly happy. But somewhere along the line, and trust me, I’ve thought long and hard about where, I began to change. There were forces in my life, both ones I knew about and ones I never even recognized until many years later, that ultimately seemed to sap the positive energy out of me. By my first year of Uni, I was exhausted and far too serious. Gone were the days of constant sarcastic remarks and random periods of uncontrollable laughter. Instead I was much too moody, judgmental, and serious. Sure, I laughed and joked and had fun, but that spark that I used to have was gone. I no longer would randomly shout out some weird phrase and giggle just for the hell of it. I no longer would act goofy and stupid and completely out of normal just for the hell of it. I no longer was Goob, I was just some average Joe.
But luckily, this only lasted for two years. By my third year at Uni, I knew something was gone, something was missing. I began to search for it and slowly, Goob began to regain his old form. I would send random IMs containing nothing but my favorite recipes. I would call my friends and leave voice messages in my made up language (which only I can speak). I even started creating new alter-egos to entertain people for hours on end.
But the kicker didn’t come until I went to Australia. I needed a fresh new slate, a group of people who had never met or heard of me before. I needed to find them, introduce them to Goob, and see how they reacted. I hoped a few would accept me. Maybe I’d even make a few friends. But I never dreamed I’d fall in love with as many people as I did in such a short amount of time or better yet, that I’d have people actually wanting me to stay instead of come back to the states. And the best part of it all was that I was able to make friends with each and every one of them all while being my true self. Australia proved to me that I could go out and be myself and people would still like me. Australia helped me to remember what it felt like to be the Old Goob and for that, I will forever be grateful.
But that’s just part of the reason why I’m going back. Like I said, if you have to ask the question, you’ll probably never understand. =)