Disclaimer: The images shown are irrelevant to this post but show you how we spent some of our time in the Southern Highlands.
As most of you are aware, my daughter, on a whim, went on-line and bought herself an airline ticket to the USA. She had an idea in her head that traveling solo to the other side of the world would be a good idea. She also thought that staying in youth hostels in dodgy corners of LA would also be fabulous.
So here’s an update on how things are going, 10 days into her adventure.
I think I let you know there were tears at the airport; tears of bewilderment from Arabella and tears of I-think-I-know-how-this-will-pan-out from me.
After her 30-hour route-march to LA via China, my sister met her at the airport and brought her to her house for some jet-lag recovery and a home-cooked meal. They did invite Arabella to stay for more than 24 hours and I did yell through the Viber connection that she should take them up on their kind offer, but she was determined to move on to the youth hostel on Venice Beach.
At Venice Beach she found her eyes popping out of her head with all the unusual sights of the human kind and suddenly realised that being alone on the other side of the world isn’t as romantic as it seemed.
She survived a day or two then organised transport to Disneyland where she toured the theme park all alone. She became very lonely and decided to go on one final ride before heading back to the hostel. But on that ride she met some lovely girls about her age who were also from Sydney and they invited her to join them for the rest of the day. What could have been a lonely day at Disneyland turned out to be a day of new friendships and lots of fun – things that align with the spirit of Disney!
Arabella left the Venice Beach hostel for a hostel in Santa Monica but there the loneliness set in. There were desperate attempts to reach me and her father but our phones were out of range and so she called her brother and said, ‘I’m so homesick; I just want a home-cooked meal and to sleep in my own bed’, which is hysterical given when she’s here she fails to eat at home or sleep in her bed.
But she recovered as some people invited her to spend 4th of July with them. She also had a night with my sister, Em, and her husband and their friends as they entertained 10 for dinner.
She insisted on being dropped back to the youth hostel where she was bright and bubbly and full of confidence. To the uninitiated, it would seem that all was rosy but Miss Arabella can be more fragile than the confident exterior she exudes.
The next morning Viber went into overload. All I could hear on the other end of the phone was sobbing. ‘Mum, I’m so lonely; I’m just so homesick, I’m all alone in this youth hostel and there’s nothing to do and I don’t know what to do’.
‘Why aren’t you staying with Em?’
‘I don’t want to intrude. They have other guests so I don’t want to impose’.
‘They’ve invited you to stay so take them up on their offer. While you’re in LA you have family who can look out for you; unlike when you get to New York. In New York you have no contacts so make the most of the family connections you have while in LA’.
‘Mum, I don’t know what I’m going to do in New York. Can you come to New York with me?’ And I’ve had this feeling that this was how Arabella’s solo excursion around the world might play out.
‘Mum, can you come?’
So today I booked myself a flight to New York. It’s an economy flight and if I had just a couple more frequent flyer points I would be able to upgrade but alas, rules are rules and being a few beans short, I’m stuck in economy. For almost 30 hours. Miss Arabella is ecstatic. We haven’t had a holiday, just the two of us, since her early teens when she didn’t like me and I thought some time on the Great Barrier Reef might help her to see me in a new light. And it did.
I’m looking forward to my week in New York with my one and only daughter. I’ll move on from my Southern Highland posts to posts from the Big Apple.
I must go – I need to sort out our accommodation issues!
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