By BJ Poss
Elm Staff Writer
What is it that makes a place paradise? Is it the scenery? The sun reflecting off the purple sky just as it begins to creep into view to start the day, the waves lightly crashing down one after another with each one the slightest bit differing from the one preceding it. Is just being in this beautiful place enough to make it paradise? Or is it the couple holding each other to my left off in the distance that are really in paradise? Maybe it needs that little something more.
Sitting here watching the sunrise takes me back to the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Every year since I’ve been old enough to care my family has rented a house for vacation over the summer right on the ocean in Nags Head. And every year we drag ourselves out of bed, if we’ve even made it to there yet, and watch the sunrise together. Why would we do this day after day? I’ll admit it is a bit of a pain to get up at 5 a.m.to sit there for 15 minutes. But once you’re out there every second is worth it. Sitting there with my friends and family, not a word even has to be said. Everybody is in their own little world. It’s amazing how the mind can wander. Sometimes you get to that state where you’re staring out at the sky, but at the same time you’re not really seeing it. The rainbow colored sky is just an open canvas for your mind, for that moment you can go anywhere you want.
It’s hard to compare the two, Nags Head surrounded by the people I love, and Burleigh Heads surrounded by strangers. On one hand, when you’re with your people you will always have the memory there to talk about in the future. You will always have that moment that you shared with each other. But when you’re by yourself you can go deeper than you would if you were accompanied.
Your mind is fending for itself, nobody is there to dish off a thought or idea for you to run with. You’re staring out at the sky in front of you thinking about God knows what, and you get that feeling. Time is no longer an object, same goes for anything going on around you. It’s kind of like zoning out but just a little bit more intense. I love this feeling, I mean how can you not? Music makes it even better. What I’d give to go back there right as I listen to “Tumbling Dice.” If you close your eyes it’s almost like you can see the notes dancing in front of you, intertwining together in perfect harmony.
Eventually you snap out of it and come back to the reality that the sun is already hanging up in the sky and you didn’t really even realize it was happening the whole time. But nevertheless you feel relieved afterwards, it’s like a giant weight has been taken off your shoulders that you didn’t even know was there in the first place. To me that moment is paradise.
I haven’t stepped foot on American soil for over a month now, the thing that I miss the most is undoubtedly the people. I’m not talking about Americans in general, but those few that really mean something to me. They know who they are. I believe you can only enjoy something to a certain extent if you don’t have anybody to share it with. When you’re with the people that you care about it seems to make everything just a little bit better.
When I chose to come to Australia I was thinking that of everywhere that was an option, Australia would be the most Americanized, which is probably true. But it is still something to see the difference between Australians and Americans on a regular basis. The Australians just seem so much more welcoming than people do back home. I get the feeling that you can go around looking any which way you want without being judged by anyone. You can really be yourself without having to hold back. It goes all the way up to the businesses as well. Back home if you want a serious job with a company it seems like you have to fit this mold. You have to wear the right suit, talk the right way, have the right haircut, all of that kind of stuff. But what does any of that really have to do with if you can get the job done or not?
What I really like about being here is none of that other stuff really seems to matter. Which I think, is how it should be. I mean my Business Stats teacher looks like “The Dude.” If I could take all the people from back home and just throw them in Queensland, Australia I’m not sure if I’d ever make it back home. Maybe it’s too much of that salt air getting to the people’s heads over here. But then again, maybe it’s getting to mine too.