18 November 2012

To Boldly Go Where ElleJay Had Never Been Before! - Part I

A group of Melbourne Lolitas and I outside the Lolita shop, Miss Kittiness

When I made the decision, I told no one. I "secretly" acquired my travel visa before knowing if the trip was actually going to happen. Of course, I had to have quite the difficult talk with my parents, get the time off work, and as my travel date approached, I let my closest friends know where I was going and why. My friends and family struggled between being excited for me and nervous that I was going very far away, very suddenly. Most people, however, did not know until pictures starting popping up on Facebook that I had travelled to Australia.

I stayed in a suburb of Melbourne, VIC from September 17th until October 4th. Those two weeks were some of the most happy and fulfilling of my life. Every place I have travelled, I enjoyed, but there are few geographies that make my heart ache. Melbourne is one of them. Why that city? Why then? Well, telling you means I need to be candid about a couple things.

A major relationship had changed permanently in a very big way. I became unattached, and I moved back into my parents' home. As I started to pick up the pieces of my life, I was hired into one of my dream jobs and began working at a planetarium as an educator. One of my duties there is to work after-hours events occasionally, and I elected to work the party we were having for the Mars Curiosity landing. (I really love Mars and our rovers. I love Mars almost as much as I love cats.) That night, I met someone extra nifty.

Me, on the left, with one of our volunteers, working the event

I was set up at a long table outside one of the theaters with a variety of materials we used to teach about the Rovers, including a replica of one of Curiosity's wheels courtesy of NASA. The wheel was the one thing I wasn't completely comfortable talking about because I didn't read enough to make me a proper informant. A dashing, young, Australian man approached me with questions about it, and I poorly attempted to act like I knew something. After he entertained my fumbling around, he began to teach me. His professional knowledge gave him the ability to discern things about it from its appearance, and I jokingly invited him to stay at the table for the remainder of the evening to do my job for me. While he didn't do that, unfortunately for the rest of the guests that evening who had to listen to me, he did stay at the table nearly the entire night.

When we closed down the table, he and I watched the landing together in a crowded classroom. (We had unbelievable attendance. It was such a win for science!) To be honest, I didn't much pay attention to the feed because I was intensely enjoying our conversation. However, we paused as mission control cheered at a successful landing. It was such a joyful moment; I still get emotional about it when I watch the video in the museum. (I am a nerd.) After that, the museum emptied, and we decided to spend more time together on the beach outside.

My ~curiosity~ was definitely piqued. He was on holiday, and the next day was his last in Chicago before he moved on to other parts of the country. To my delight, he chose to spend that day with me. It was absolutely magical; he was refreshing, and the day was everything I needed. I was able to feel like I didn't think I could any longer. Seeing him leave the next morning was difficult. It seemed silly to me that I should feel that way, but I accepted it for what is was. Life was already tumultuous, and I learned to stop questioning my ridiculous emotions.

Over the weeks, we kept in touch, slowly getting to know one another. Speaking to him was a part of the day I looked forward to and helped me get through a lot of darkness; it was an effervescent, unexpected happiness. The bond we shared was intriguing, and we wanted to explore it more. The only way to do that was to go to Australia, so I did.

In the interest of suspense and not making this unbearably long, you'll have to wait until my next entry to discover what happened there! Yes, it involves both frills AND kangaroos. Seriously, real kangaroos. As an American, that was so novel; I totally freaked out. Until then, tell me about leaps of faiths you've taken. Have you ever met someone that inspired you to take risks you wouldn't have previously? How did it work out?


  1. I took a leap of faith into going to Australia to study, or at least applying to the program. I managed to get in and that is where I am currently located until December 17th. It's been a wonderful experience, and I agree with you on the kangaroo's! It was fantastic seeing them up close and personal! I even held a koala! It's been an amazing experience. I can't wait till I can read more of your story!

    ~Christine S.

    1. That's so cool, Christine! What inspired you to apply to the program? Do you plan on staying there after it ends?

  2. I better be in your next entry xDDD

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    1. What a sweet, story! That's really wonderful! I'm glad you followed your heart~