Coffee shops, sunsets and road trips.

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This is not so much a personal blog or a list of thank you’s, although it will appear this way. The people I am writing about do not necessarily need a public ‘thank you’. This is not to say they don’t deserve it, they are some of the most amazing people I have ever met; but they have received my thanks, and I hope they know how sincerely I meant them. So instead this blog is a way for me to be honest. Many people have taken this journey to America with me; some I have known and others I will perhaps never meet who have stumbled upon my writing or my story through a search engine or a friend of a friend.  This blog is a small way I can sum up what has been the last 4 months of my life; what I have learnt, who I have befriended and who I have become. It is a way for me to say, “I don’t have it all together” even though I always try to appear as though I do. It is a way for me to say, “I need other people”, and that’s ok. Even more so, it is a way for me to say, “I’m learning to be ok with me and to love myself,” because these people have shown me that I am worth this much.

A few days ago I left The Burrow for the final time. I cleaned up the house with my fellow TWLOHA interns, walked through the office and gave the staff farewell hugs, wept upon seeing some of my closest friends depart for home and proceeded to feel some of the most fervent emotions I have ever experienced. The days since have been strange. My fellow interns and I have stayed in contact via text and Twitter- you’d barely know we we’re separated if not for the continuous ‘location’ tweets such as “DUDE, KANSAS?” and “WHAT IS SNOW?”. But as with all people you become close to and then leave, you feel a constant ache. It’s not bad as such, it’s more an indication that I have grown to love these people so deeply that to be in a different location to them causes me to become somewhat homesick. Not for a place, but a feeling and experience I have been so fortunate as to have.

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We were known as The Ladies of Fall, and together we were five vastly different, unique and passionate females who somehow gelled and became the best of friends. These ladies showed me love I did not believe I deserved, they showed me that I am worth loving and that I am not defined by the labels I place upon myself. Even more, they taught me that it is ok to be weak because everyone struggles, and even more so we are to celebrate our strengths and laugh at the hysterical times between both these things. Andrea, Brandi, Alicia and Jess- I have said it many times and I will continue to tell you this, I love you. Somewhere between kindred spirits, best friends and sisters, the four of you have taken up residence in my heart and I am eternally grateful for every moment we shared and will share- the birthdays, Spring breaks, Wombat Day celebrations and weddings. I miss you, but I know we must take all we have learnt home and we are each stronger for having known each other. I will see you soon; you know an ocean can’t keep me away from you much longer than a year at a time!

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Team TWLOHA, when I began this internship you were ‘celebrities’, the ‘people’ who changed the world. You still are world changers, but I am humbled and happy to call you my friends and family. You have taught me that every person is significant, and that anybody, including myself, has the capacity to help someone and in doing so mold our culture. Thank you for being genuine, for sharing your lives with us and accepting us as family from day one. To put it quite simply, each and every one of you is rad. Whether you call every one ‘Dude’ or dress a tiny Chi Pin in festive holiday gear, you are precious to me. There are too many moments to list with each of you in something such as this, but I have remembered every single detail and have been encouraged, challenged, molded and felt a love and acceptance I have struggled to accept prior to coming to Florida. Mark, Chris, Alyce, Holly, Chloe, Chad, Jason, Jess, Lindsay, Denny, Emily, Janet and Jamie- thanks for making Florida home and giving me something to be homesick for when I am back in Australia. Lauren- thank you for your love, your honesty, for having me look at myself with fresh eyes and a heart not only open to others but also myself. Whatever the future holds, you have played a significant role in my life.

My Illuminate friends, especially Ben and Ashley, the sheer relief of being able to talk about God in such an honest and sincere environment spurred me on and centered me during my time in Florida. Thanks for the fun, the laughter, the teaching and challenges, the parties, the junk food and the questions about Australia. My time in the US would not have been anywhere as near as fulfilling without you guys.  I love you tremendously.

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Coming into this internship, I’m not sure if I expected to have it all together at the end, but I certainly expected to know what the rest of my life would look like. Upon completing it, I have realized that while I am further along than I was to begin with, my knowledge of what the future holds and who I will be is vague and frustratingly lucid. But I am learning to be ok with this. I see that life has never been about reaching a destination or fulfilling a set of rules to achieve ‘perfection’; rather it is a continuous journey; a story still going if you will, that will be completed with a run, walk, stumble, rest and sprint all the way to the finish. I will never be perfect and will always be in need of other people and their support; I will grow in wisdom, maturity and love as a tree spreads its roots through every season of my life due to the love of these many people.

Friends, thank you for showing me that it is ok to be genuine and for befriending me because you wanted too. I love you.

These words have been circling the internet for some time, and of late TWLOHA released them as a new tee design called ‘Reblog’. Reading these words, I feel they sum up my life near perfectly right now, so I will continue the reblog and share this quote with you.

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About Jessica Morris

Jessica Morris is an internationally published journalist, writer and social media manager.

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