A Letter to My Mother

Marisa Etzell James Cook University, Australia


September 12, 2018

Dear Mom,

We are now past halfway through the semester. It’s week 8, and classes are beginning to pick up. I think I’ve finally “woken up” and realized this is no longer vacation and that it’s crucial to do schoolwork while I’m here. It’s crazy to think that people back home are only just now starting school.

Our lecture recess (semester break) is coming up and I can’t wait to explore more of Australia and all that it has to offer! I’m going to go to Bali for a bit too! I’m proud to say my ultimate frisbee team, Torn MenDISCus, won our last two games. And I scored a point! It’s been really awesome to see how much our team has grown during the past couple weeks.

Our first game, we had no idea what we were doing. We were pretty much running around like headless chooks (chickens) the whole time. But each game since then, our skills and communication have significantly improved. You see, our team has a bunch of athletic people, so we have that going for us, it’s just that none of us have really played frisbee, besides a couple people. So there’s definitely been a learning curve, but little by little, we’re getting the hang of it.

There has definitely been a shift in the weather here and boy, am I feeling it! Whereas before I didn’t touch the air conditioning unit in my room, now I press it on a daily basis. The temperature this week is 26 degrees Celsius and above (that’s about 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher). My body is struggling to maintain homeostasis because I’ll go outside where it’s super hot to bike to class, but then every classroom building is air conditioned, so I end up freezing. There seriously is no in between!

Even though Townsville can seem secluded at times (when compared to big cities like Sydney or Melbourne), there is no lack of things to do. In fact, there’s something happening practically every weekend. Whether it’s the cultural fest, race weekend (sailing), or trail runs, there can always be new activities and things to explore.

Sometimes I wish I had chosen to go to a university in a bigger city, but then I remember how much I love rural areas and the sense of community they cultivate. After all, being raised on Whidbey Island, the community has been ingrained in me and now, wherever I go, I seek a strong sense of community.

Thanks for choosing to raise me in a small town and showing me the value of community. I love you so much and miss you like crazy. Say "Hi" to the boys for me and give them all big hugs from me.

Lots of love,