Our final day in Sydney was spent with a brunch at the Bell’s café. The food was ridiculously good (and they serve iced coffees with ICE CREAM!). We hopped on the train and headed into the city. Kate wanted to walk over the Harbor Bridge, which we walked across. Something about our trio walking over the bridge and talking about various people who have come into and out of our lives was very liberating and exciting. I can honestly I’ve traveled across the world and spent time with friends I will always cherish.
After shopping around, we sauntered around The Rocks, the historical district, and then headed over to the Sydney Opera House. It was fitting that the last thing Kaitlin and I would do during our time in Australia was visit its most famous monument.
Although we all parted ways after our time in the city, we were to be reunited early the next morning for a final group run. I was fueled by a fantastic dinner cooked by Sarah Vaccari. It was the last supper I had always dreamed of having. Laura, funnily, had decided she wanted to skip the most important meal of my time in Australia. I’m not bitter at all though. Really. Okay maybe just a little.
That next morning was a morning of goodbyes. I parted with the Vaccari’s one by one; they each left for work early in the morning at different times. I really appreciated all they did for me, and I always will. The hospitality of the people I encountered was overwhelming and made a lasting impact on me. I hope they all take me up on my offer to visit me any time in the United States. I miss them already. Later that morning I parted with my good friend, Kate, after our run through the Sydney Olympic Park. It seemed only appropriate that we spend time all together on our last day in Sydney. It attests to the kind of experience the Father Smith Fellowship has been: a challenge and an opportunity to growth with the help of those by whom you are surrounded. I learned much from the communities I became a part of, but I also learned from my travel partners, Kaitlin and Kate. I want to thank them both for that, their friendship, and for putting up with me (five days for Kate and a whopping six weeks for Kaitlin).
We hopped on the plane home that day, both excited and deflated. We each missed our parents, our friends, and the familiar environment at home, yet we wished we could have stayed longer. Kaitlin and I can both say that we have three homes: the US, our homestays in Sydney, and Fanualama in Auki. After some scary turbulence over the Pacific, a transfer in Dallas, and three hours of sleep in 29 hours, the open arms of our families greeted Kaitlin and me.
So I guess this is where it ends. I want to thank all those who played a role in organizing my fellowship. I consider myself eternally indebted to those who graciously awarded me this once in a lifetime opportunity, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart: my life, and, hopefully, the lives of those with whom I interacted will never be the same. Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank my family and friends for supporting me, and God for giving me the grace and strength to travel around the world to do his work.