I am a daydreamer to a fault. I am always chasing stronger emotions and richer experiences. I take life just as I do my tea – strong, with way too much sugar and in a mug full to the brim. I seldom have the patience to wait for it to cool and rarely do I get the balance of milk and tea right. Nevertheless, I try to enjoy every tongue-biting sip. This impatience and enthusiasm perfectly describes my attitude towards life. My ‘to do’ lists are endless and what I struggle to achieve in real life, I aim for in my dreams. Daydreaming is what helps me battle quotidian hurdles. As I returned from my year abroad and felt the Scottish chill once again, I realised that my mind had not ventured into imaginary realms in a long time. I had not been daydreaming in Australia. I was living the dream – and it was as real, challenging and gratifying as can be.
I arrived in Australia late into the night and as I fell asleep in an empty room, I wondered why I am doing this – I had just figured out my way around Edinburgh and yet I abandoned its comfort to move to the other side of the world. Little did I know that I was in for an adventure I had not even dared to dream of. My year abroad felt like a year at home. A different home, but a home nonetheless. I discovered new landscapes, animals, smells and tastes. Somewhere amidst the barren deserts and dense rainforests, I fell in love – with Australia, its beautiful nature and warm-hearted people. Most of all, I found myself completely enamored of life itself. A year abroad is not perfect – everything is new and exciting, but it can also be scary and intimidating. I never felt alone at my host university and I am so grateful for the support I received. In my lecturers and classmates I found inspiration to aim higher and not be afraid. Building a life so far from what I knew as familiar freed my mind of limits and just like my mind now knows no boundaries, neither do my dreams.
For me the hardest aspect of a year abroad has been its very essence – it is only a year and a year unfortunately comes to an end. As a Bulgarian studying in Scotland with a year abroad in Australia, I now have so many people and places to miss. I never expected the great joy being in Australia would bring me. I did anticipate the sorrow I would feel upon my return, though I grossly underestimated it. However, if there is one thing I have learned while being abroad, it is that dreams can come true. As I now finish my cup of bitterly sweet tea and look over the Edinburgh skyline, I once again find myself daydreaming. This time, however, I know that living the dream is indeed possible.