There is No Place Like Home – Or is There? – The Taylor Swift Paradigm

While I waited to depart LAX over a week ago I started to have a small anxiety attack. What in the world was I doing, moving across the world, away from my family and everything I knew to be normal. Had I lost my mind? A few tears later and a phone call home, I boarded the plane with more worry than wonder racing through my head. The hectic experience of flying 15 hours, going through customs and transferring to a domestic connection only escalated my thoughts of I am so alone and so far from home. Once landed in Adelaide, I gathered my bags and rolled out to the curb in search of a cab. Easy to locate, yet so different from home I watched the driver climb into the right side of a vehicle and departed on opposite side of the road. But then it happen, the radio came on and low and behold I hear “Nice to meet you, where you been? I could show you incredible things”. It was the song I wake up to every morning that Lilly blares from her room. Maybe I am not that far from home, Taylor Swift is singing to me.

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Highlights from our week – A field trip to McLaren Vale wine region and some fun food & wine around town.

After ten days of living in another country, I have come appreciate a few things. The more I embrace my local environment, the more I discover, as much as things are the same, they are different. This week we started class and I have challenged the senior project class to discovery their selves and the world of agriculture. Each of them will plan a class and select a theme of our learning adventure. I decided we should visit the local grocery store and reflect back to their AGB 101 projects. We examined agriculture commodities, as well as, the marketing efforts compared to California. The Australian love of farming and food is apparent with a simple stroll down the shopping aisle.

Food is just one element that has been adjustment in my everyday life. Here are just a few daily activities that I have found similarities with a twist.

1 – Grocery Shopping – There is vast array of lovely fresh produce and fruit. A huge advantage of experiencing summertime is the bounty of harvest goods. However, deciding if the price point is comparable is a lesson in mathematics and a strong knowledge of the metric system. Selection and sizes of various products are limited. Yet, you need to make sure you bring your own bag, just like home. Which brings me to the next topic transportation.

2 – Transportation – I live in a city. I basically walk everywhere, including the grocery store. So shopping is limited to what I can carry home (bag or no bag). And let me tell you, liters of water are heavy! So to adapt to my new city life I purchased a backpack. It is beyond handy and quickly making my daily trips so much more enjoyable.

3 – Weather – It is summer time. I am a north county girl. Bring on the 100 plus degree-days, but can the nights please cool down like at home? Did I happen to mention the weather is in Celsius? Once again bring on the math and conversion table.  Today we are dealing with rain and 14C, and the occasional thunder storm.

4 – The Perfect Bite – In my daily quest for the perfect bite I did struggle during my early days abroad to find that café, restaurant, wine bar that fit my tastes and preferences. In Adelaide you can find any type of food you desire from India, China, South America, Turkey, Italy you name it, there is a dinning opportunity. I am happy to report I have tried new dishes and old favorites with great success. And the wine is a selection of Australia and European classics.

So as I stroll down Rundle Mall, backpack in tow and I start to think how different my life is here in Australia, I will pass a shop and hear “Grab your passport and my hand, I can make the bad guys good for a weekend”. The Taylor Swift Discovery brings a whole new perspective to having some blank space to fill with new experiences.

Miss you Lilly Ann

Here are the student blogs if you would like to take a peak:

Begin Again . . . Please Don’t See Just a Girl Caught up in Dreams and Fantasies

January 1, 2015 came into my life not only a day early, but in an entirely new country. Feeling under the weather and out of place was not the perfect start to any day, much less a new year. I had great expectations exploring my new surroundings. But instead a cold and time confusion filled my head. Luckily my apartment came equipped with everything I needed for a nice cup of tea (complete with a tea pot), so I headed back to bed with drink in hand and my laptop.

I decided to stop fighting the feeling of disappointment and focus on getting well. I settled on renting a movie on iTunes, instead of an afternoon stroll through my new neighborhood. What movie struck my fancy? Begin Again, the title alone fit the theme of the day, and being a believer in “signs”, it was the obvious choice. Yes I enjoyed the movie and I am starting to get my bearings back in place, but what really struck a cord with me (musical reference, I am so tricky) was the final scene. Featuring the song Lost Stars, the words just woke me up, literally. I replayed it four times and then went searching on line for the lyrics.

Each New Year I make a list of accomplishments I would like to achieve. Not so much resolutions, but simple to extreme changes or actions I would like to conquer in the coming year. I recently read an article by Cheryl Richardson that suggested instead of “goals” we should write a prescription to allow ourselves to do something different.

As I sat there and listen it dawned on me that we should treat everyday as if it was New Year’s Day. The words from the song were telling me to start this year off differently. They were giving me permission to veer from my normal path and begin again. And that everyday we have the option to choose what wonderment is out there to experience. Maybe a little less worry and a little more wonder. How about replacing confusion with exploration? And a big dose of belief to replace doubt. Yes, this year I am not going to set goals or write a prescription, but more like a recipe.

Jacky’s 2015 Life Recipe

1 cup Believe Anything is Possible

1/2 cup Find Time to Reflect

1 tbsp. Experience the New

2 tsp. Create Breathtaking Memories

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Just a few photos of my new surroundings.

Combine with family, friends, food and a few fabulous bottles of bubbles

The next couple of months I will be living in South Australia. I can assure you that I will be a much better blogger during this time, as I made it a teaching assignment. I can’t wait to share my experience and maybe a few posts from my students.

Happy New Year – Jacky



Lyrics to Lost Stars (in case your interested)

Please don’t see just a girl caught up in dreams and fantasies.
Please see me reaching out for someone I can’t see.
Take my hand, let’s see where we wake up tomorrow.
Best laid plans; sometimes are just a one night stand.
I’ll be damned; Cupid’s demanding back his arrow.
So let’s get drunk on our tears.

And God, tell us the reason youth is wasted on the young.
It’s hunting season and this lamb is on the run.
We’re searching for meaning…
But are we all lost stars trying to light up the dark?

Who are we? Just a speck of dust within the galaxy.
‘Woe is me’ if we’re not careful turns into reality.
Don’t you dare let our best memories bring you sorrow.
Yesterday I saw a lion kiss a deer.
Turn the page; maybe we’ll find a brand new ending.
Where we’re dancing in our tears.
And God, tell us the reason youth is wasted on the young.
It’s hunting season and this lamb is on the run.
We’re searching for meaning…
But are we all lost stars trying to light up the dark?

I thought I saw you out there crying…
I thought I heard you call my name…
I thought I heard you out there crying…
But just the same…

And God, tell us the reason youth is wasted on the young.
It’s hunting season and this lamb is on the run.
Searching for meaning…
But are we all lost stars trying to light up the dark?
Are we all lost stars trying to light up the dark?

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