As my month-long holiday is coming to an end, I find it ironic how I take a vacation from my vacation (Australia) at HOME. But more than that, I realize how incredibly LUCKY I am to be able to do so - that my "home" is a vacation.

Granted, Sacramento isn't the biggest tourist destination (ha), but that's my original home and I will always always ALWAYS love it dearly. I got to be in one of my oldest friend's wedding, spend time with my family and play with my nephews that are growing all too fast (reality check, or should I say a slap in the face by reality: when they're around 20 years old, I will be 40!! FORTY!!). Anyway, I got lots of good family time in and got to see some old friends as well, which is always nice. I absolutely LOVE summer days in Sacramento consisting of BBQing, swimming, going to the lake and ending with the most amazing warm summer nights!
I was back and forth from San Diego to Sacramento a total of 3 times. That's three 8-hour drives & one flight. I didn't originally intend on going back and forth so many times, it just kinda happened. When I first arrived back in the States - 

OH and can we first talk about how I was reeeal reluctant to go back, BTW? I may or may not have been a little careless with my passport the week prior to flying home  so I might have an excuse not to have to go back (sorry America, but I looove Australia and I reallyy wasn't ready to go back to reality)

- I had landed in LA and then took a train to San Diego after hanging out with my mom in the horrible city that is Los Angeles (8 hours in the city really solidified my hatred for this place. From the exasperating traffic, to getting lost in the ghetto - thanks mom! haha - to rude employees at the train station.) After spending the 4th of July in not-so-sunny SD, I drove up to Sac for my high school best friend, Rosy's wedding. I drove up with my friend, Miles, and was close to deciding to just stay in Sac the remainder of my time in The States, until he ended up needing a ride back down to SD. 

My first few days back in SD were kind of a bummer. Everybody was pretty busy working & what not and I spent the weekend mostly by myself. The weather was perfect and I went on bike rides to the beach and ate all of my favorite food - alone. I decided to go back up to Sac early and then of course, my last 2 days in San Diego, everybody was around and reminded me why I love this place so much. It's funny because I was seriously questioning whether or not I ever wanted to move back to San Diego and then did a complete 180 and am now excited to move back here when I return from traveling. I guess loneliness will do that to you.

Anyway, I spent my last couple of days in San Diego wishing I wasn't going back to Sac and wanting to stay there. I had a flight from Sac-LA and then my international flight from LA-Melbs and so I decided last minute to change my Sac-LA flight to Sac-SD so I could spend my last few days back in SD. Talk about last minute plans.

So I made the drive back up to SacTown and spent more quality time with the fam. My dad came into town, which is a kind of rare occasion, so it was nice hanging out with him. And then my mom came up for my sister, Mallory's birthday a few days later and so we had a BBQ with each of them (one perk of your parents not being able to be in the same room as each other = more family events because of having to separate them). So here I am back in Sacramento and you can probably guess what I'm thinking by now - I just want to stay here instead of going back down to SD! (Yes, I sometimes wonder if I am clinically bipolar as well).

I literally thought of every possible way to just stay in Sac and worked out a pretty good plan, but decided last minute to just go back down. So now, I'm in San Diego on my last full day of vacation before heading back to Aussieland (and for some reason I'm inside blogging instead of laying on the beach...hmmmm...). And of course, I'm not completely 100% thrilled on going back (I may or may not have delayed getting my visa to enter back into Australia, at the chance that I may not have to go back). 

Not that I'm not incredibly excited to see Nate, but this trip back and pretty much my entire trip to Australia, has made me realize how much I love my home. How much I love California and honestly, America overall. And I've never been one to be super pro-'Merica. But I love this place - this country - and I love living right by the beach (No - Australia is NOT all beaches like how their propaganda leads us to believe!) I love cheap alcohol you can buy everyyywhere. I've missed my friends and my family so much. I'm LOVING watching the Olympics from America. I miss having a working iPhone (damn you AT&T for making it impossible to use iPhones with foreign sim cards!) I miss driving, In-N-Out, California Burritos, having toilet seat covers in public restrooms, Sacramento water (it tastes amazing! Although I may be a little biased since I grew up there), seeing all American sports on TV, driving on the RIGHT side of the street and the rest of the familiarities of home.

So as much as it seems like all I've done is whine and complain about where I am or where I'm going, from all of this, I've come to really appreciate so many things - everything really. Not only am I blessed to be able to travel to all of these places - my homes included - but they're all so amazing that whenever I arrive at each one, I don't want to leave. 
Overall, I had an amazing time catching up with old friends - one of the biggest things I've missed while being away is having a lot of friends. I've made a few good friends in Australia, but most of the friends I made at all have moved back home. I've missed the nights of going out with a big group and then passing out on a friends couch with the pizza guy banging on the door because your drunk friend ordered a pizza and then decided not to wake up when he came to deliver it. I don't miss getting hammered 5 nights a week (well, every so often I might), I just miss making crazy memories with friends. 

I'd love to think that one day I will decide to just live in some exotic city like Nepal or Tuscany or something, but I honestly don't think I could permanently live anywhere but California.
 
When I first arrived in Australia, they told us at our International Students trip that we would experience emotions on the "W Curve". Which, initially, relieved me because I realized I wasn't the only one that was having adjustment issues. I have a tendency of putting up a front like everything is okay and I'm having the time of my life at all times. Not the case when I first arrived, which I have already explained. But anyway, Got through the culture shock and have been going through the recovery the last week or so. Nathaniel finally got here so I'm sure that was part of it. But even if he wasn't here, although I'm obviously glad he is, I think I still would be okay.

Anyway, I moved out of my sh*thole of a house, pardon my language. You know how I said before that the hard part was finding someone to fill my room? Wrong (again). The hardest part was finding a place for both me and Nate to live in. I decided I wanted to be closer to the city & basically just out of the middle of nowhere (AKA Burwood). So we went through the grueling process of searching for places and calling/texting/emailing dozens and dozens of people. We finally found a place that was a tad bit expensive, and when I say a tad bit, I mean extremely and ridiculously expensive, yet BEAUTIFUL place in Hawthorn. It's an amazing location right by all these shops and restaurants and bars and shopping and EVERYTHING. It's about 15 minutes to Deakin and only a 10 minute express train ride to the city. MONEY. (Literally, a LOT of money hah.) But it was soo worth it so we decided to go for it. If we both decided to do housing separately, we'd each be paying more, so it's really not that big of a deal that I'm paying almost as much a WEEK as I did for a MONTH of rent at my old place in San Diego. It's on the 4th floor at the top of the building, has a huge balcony/patio, the whole place is huge & clean and new and beautifullll.

So we moved in and that was yet another arduous process. We had to take multiple trips to the new place from my old place via TRAM and lug all of our luggage on and off and walked miles and miles (okay, Nate did most of the carrying). And so the last 2 days have been spent making our room a room. Because, oh yeah - this room wasn't furnished either. So we made due with an air mattress for the first couple of nights and then decided to finally hit up Ikea - yup, they have it here too - and break the bank a little bit. We didn't do half bad either. I feel like a broke college kid all over again:) We also had a great time lugging back a bed (in a box of course because it's Ikea. But it's stil a bed, which is very heavy) and a bedside table along with other random stuff. 

I also opened up a bank account here finally (& a joint bank account w/ Nate - yikes! Our bank teller thought it was very exciting that it was our first time opening a joint account together. OOOH, and the savings accounts here give you 5.5% interest. RIDIC. If you ever come here, get an account where you can withdraw or transfer all of your money from your home country to Australia and just keep everything in your savings so you can earn interest). We've finally cooked some real meals for ourselves and have groceries in the fridge for the first time in months. This is also the first time in 3 months that I've had a real closet and a real room. I've been moving from San Diego to the bay to Sacramento to Vegas back to San Diego to Australia and had roughly 14 different residencies all together. So it feels nice to finally not live out of a suitcase.

A few great discoveries I've learned the last couple days: Australia has Groupon! They also have Yelp, which is equally as exciting! We found a couple good asian restaurants and markets that were pretty cheap (the only cheap thing we've found in Australia). We walked around the city yesterday for the first time and discovered how HUGE it is and amazingly beautiful as well. & Nate made some delicious rootbeer floats with Captain Morgan, A&W & cookies 'n cream ice cream - BOMB:)