I sat outside the Sydney Airport, scanning the rather empty parking lot for the shuttle to the city that seemed to have forgotten about me, when a old Australian man struck up a conversation with me.
“Got a light?” he asked,
“no, sorry, sir, but that man on his cell phone over there just finished smoking, he probably has one,” I replied while motioning in a direction off to my right.
The man got a light and returned to the bench where I sat.
“American or Canadian?” He asked me while blowing his smoke the opposite direction of me.
“American,” I said as cheerfully as I could having just been deep in thought about how I just landed half way around the world alone, “I’ve never been to Australia before, I’m excited.”
The man looked around as if he too was in a brand new world, “yeah, change is in the air.”
At first I thought he was being sarcastic in a way that I just didn’t understand, but in that moment I realized he was really being contemplative, basing his words off some sort of wisdom that I had yet to acquire.
I looked around not feeling change being in the air because my arrival was the result of a natural progression of events for me, and said, “well, everything seems normal around here, like, I’m sure this is how this place normally operates.” My voice cracked midway as I spoke as the emotion of realizing that I had really flown here alone hit me again, it came in waves.
“But you’re here,” the man said, “that’s a pretty big change, and not just for you, I tell you change is in the air, I can feel it.”
Just then the man’s ride pulled up. He put out his cigarette and a woman, who looked to be his daughter, helped him load his luggage into the car.
“You take care of yourself, and enjoy Oz,” he said to me with a grim as he got into the car.
“I will!, thank you!”I responded just before he closed the door and the car drove off.
I sat there for a few minutes thinking, “I have really done this.”