Thursday, 14 July 2016

Acknowledgements of a Wanderer

When the adventurous fantasy series Inheritance I had been devouring for the last six days came to a close, it did so gracefully and nostalgically. Almost 3000 pages of beautifully narrated fiction in six days leaves me filled with joy and bliss. As it draws to a close, so is my time spent in Australia. Incredibly enough, 366 days ago, on a rainy winter's Thursday I arrived to Sydney eager to throw myself into this year-long adventure.

But such reminiscence is a story for my last day. Before that, I'd like to thank each and every one of those people who made these 366 days an absolute pleasure - and a life-changing experience. As the City Council of Glasgow proudly states, “People Make Glasgow”; and people in Sydney have helped me grow, deal with emotions and hardships and happiness and adventures and absolute bliss. I close this chapter of my life with a whole series of saying grace, acknowledging in a very small way the great joys you have brought me. Shame on me, should I have forgotten someone.

To the flatmates in my wonderful Enmore house, three at any given time and six in total; Sylvia and Chuck and Sam and Jens and Nagisa and Kerry, for long periods or short, for happiness and cleaning duties, for drunken nights out and for dinners and uncontrollable laughter. I’m grateful for having spent precious time with you and ashamed that it was never enough! For all the friends and boyfriends and one-night-stands you’ve introduced me to and brought over to the house. For hours in our backyards, interrupted by airplanes and mosquitos and stunning sunsets and glimmering night skies filled with stars.

To my lovely Exchangies, Innie and Yaara and Ryan and Lise for filling up those early frightening first days and weeks, and the countless hours of laughter and coffee and discovering ever since. Never often enough and never long enough, I’m looking forward to seeing you all again very soon – probably on a beach in Israel – or when Innie mysteriously and unexpectedly shows up elsewhere! To Veronica and Cary and Anna and Scott and Tessel and Nav for wandering parts of this road in life with me.

To Máté, my future flatmate, for checking my econ arguments & algebra and having patience with correcting my sloppy math skills – and showing me around Perth! I’m super-excited about our plans for the future, and I’m always inspired by your ideas and your superb understanding of the financial and economic world. You’ll do great things, and I’m happy to piggy-back on your excellence from time to time. To the adorable Perth-friends I forced you into, the confused and entertaining Cathal, smart-yet-sloppy Stefan, the sex-hungry Nick, sassy Portia and gorgeous Maya, despite your leftie fringe (one day, I'll tell you that story...) and oddly-coloured hair, your ambitions and delightful presence I have very much enjoyed. To Alice and Ivan and Garrath and Julia and Audrey and the other cool people I met at Trin.

To Zac with his rigorous intellect, despite his questionable (and sometimes hopelessly horrible) moral beliefs having put up with my unintelligible and often arrogant rants – and his cute drunken hugs (“I like you!”) and honest friendship and adorable apologies (even though I was probably to blame); to Clair for her dramas and adorable life and morals (“euw, vom”) and guiding me to mysterious and beautiful places - I’m sure you’ll do great deeds and one day disprove my many beliefs and prejudices; to Rosie for spontaneous hugs of the sort I’ve missed very much, unwillingly taught me beautiful Aussie ways of speaking, questioning me when relevant and scolded me when I deserved it, your stunning looks have impressed me, your endless reading about like, terrorists (*rolling my eyes*), is probably going to be life-changing at some point - and I promise from time to time to be less antagonizing. To brilliant Nat for being sassy and grand (dem titties, or rather dat twerking!), always curious and always missed, your beautiful smile and company always made me happy, a genuine and lovely person through-and-through. For all of your many amazing friends that I met at one point or another; Chris, Mizzi, Claudia, Steph and more.

To Ally, my sassiest of friends, for nerdy econ discussions, for your inspiration and always making me happy, for putting up with my rants and enduring my weirdness. I admire you, your brain and your absolutely gorgeous person – I’m sorry I never spend enough time with you, and I’m blaming your corporate job for it.

To Jing and Luc for welcoming me to your home in Brisbane, for inappropriately spoiling me and embracing my strange thoughts. I constantly miss you, and wish we could have spoken more often. Best of luck in Abu Dhabi, and I’m sure we’ll see each other soon.

To Glenn for generously welcoming me to his beautiful farm, educating my ignorant mind in cooking and Australian politics and filling my life with more useless knowledge!

To my losertarians in <50k, Marc, Sam, Michael, Stephan and Charles (whose one-liners are worthy of some bloody prize) I’ve lost count of the hilarious nicknames we’ve given each other over the year and all the fun I have had with you, IRL or online. That Gala night at Friedman, some of us handsomely dressed up, mocking and insulting everything, including (especially) each other, is probably top-3 most intense laughing experiences this year. Our ridicule of all things imaginable, our sarcasm at seriously stupid people, and our incredible joy has taken me through many a leftie-dominated days at USYD. Our fb chat has gold mines of high-quality intellectual discussions (8000+ messages, god damit!) as well as varying degrees of sarcastic quality-humour (and those freakin’ puns, Sam, srsly?). The ratio between the two probably like 10:90, but who’s counting? I’m grateful for your time and efforts, and having met all the people at Sam’s meet-up group, especially for those precious 2-3h Sunday afternoons where reasonable people have inspired me and taught me things I desperately wanted to know – as opposed to the rubbish micro they force me to know. Ben, Chris, Warren, Joe, Annaliese and other smart libertarians I have had the great pleasure of meeting this year.

To Celeste and Kerrod and Ninos and Alex and Andy for advancing some variety of liberty by any means possible; To Ariana and Christian and Peter and Alex and Pancho and Natasha and Karen and everyone else in SUSLAS for helping me practice my terrible Spanish and occasionally giving me a much-needed break from the library. To Sunnie, for being probably the most perfect human being I have ever met; your curiosity and idealism inspire me and I’m constantly amazed at your dramas, your life stories, your rich experiences and beautifully naïve courage – who needs television when you’re around? Most of the great people in VegSoc whom I unfortunately never prioritised enough, but whose dedication provided me with great food, and events with much-needed joy. To Kevin and Ralf and Paul and every other cool face at Heinemann, for laughing our way through boring days at work. To all the people attending LOTR, or Lord of the Rings as I call it (or ‘Socialists’ as my <50k losertarians call them), to Colin, to Austen and Dylan, Tim, & John, Andie and Matthew and all the freedom-fighting people I have had the absolute pleasure to meet, here and at the 4th ALS Friedman conference; Jonathan, Zoe, Sarah, Jordan, Jack & Ben, Mark. To all the volunteers, participants and speakers – an incredible opportunity and wonderful gathering of seriously smart minds. I’m terrified and ashamed over how inferior I am to most of you.

To my brilliant professors at USYD, some of whom are more brightly-shining stars than others. Especially Dr. Susan Schoeder and Dr. Mike Beggs and Dr. Tony Aspromorgous, for your modesty and intellectual integrity, for always being willing to discuss topics with clarity and open minds and answering my confused questions. I admire you most for approaching economics and political economy with humble and wide intentions and providing me with a few hours of academic sanity every week. Not to mention that you have greatly contributed to me regaining faith in academia. To all my fellow students of these courses, I’m glad to have met you and discussed important matters with you and I urge you all to read wide and deep, and not make the mistakes of the mainstream: putting on the intellectual blinders to make things easier for yourselves. More thanks to the guys in my ECOP reading group, Jack and Andrew, for incentivising and disciplining me into reading someone I’d never managed to read on my own, and greatly helped me understand his arguments. Your brains are impressive, your hearts in the right place and I admire your will, your pride and your intellectual capacities. You’re the sort of lefties I respect: honest, insightful, who know their shit and base their reasoning on sound and solid grounds (as opposed to the garbage of shallow reasoning I see everywhere on and off campus). I wish there were more of you!

To Martine and Qian and Amy and Jenny and Kyle and Cecilia and the many other great faces I encountered in NZ. Your presence made those three weeks of absolute bliss even better. To Alex for putting up with me and sharing two beautiful days with me in Bay of Islands and Auckland (“Orcas, ORCAS!”). For every curious and inspiring and beautiful face I met on one or another of those trips around Australia that I never allocated enough time (and money) to.

To my wonderful neighbours Julian and Brom and their adorable border collie Oscar. Your B&B is the best I’ve seen, and I’m so grateful that you have spoiled me, taking good care of my parents and allowed me to walk Oscar whenever I’ve wanted to. He has made my life great, physically and mentally. To my yoga instructors and companions at HC Fitness for believing in me, having patience with me, pushing me further and inspiring me into taking yoga more seriously. For Monday nights with Claire’s smile, the Saturday mornings with Michelle, the occasional weekday night with absolutely stunning Antoneth, Claudine or Erin, the kindest of people and beautiful practitioners of this lovely thing called yoga. You have been an absolute godsend, and I’m forever indebted to you. To Yaz for his endless repetition of the “The little voice in my head that doesn’t know how strong I am”, and all my fellow yogis in #YogaEveryDayChallenge.

Some people don’t have to be physically present to shape your life. Many of my dear friends elsewhere on this green and blue planet of ours have made sure that my year in Sydney was neither lonely nor detached from “the real world”. To Julia, my lovely invincible optimist and strange companion of life, always ready to listen to my qualms – big or small – telling me beautiful things, and posting me German cookies. I never would have made it without you. To Teddybear for being happy and beautiful and encouraging, your words are among the selected few on my Wall of Inspirational Fame . I have missed you every day. To Sonja and Axel, my former flatmates, understanding me better than most, you have patiently listening to my doubts, read my essays, laughed with me on Skype and been giving me advice when I most needed it. I owe you the world and more. To the irreplaceable Linnea for laughing with me and especially at me, encouraging me when I needed it, punished me when I deserved it – I have sincerely missed someone like you in Sydney, someone to effortlessly hang out with, at whatever level feels good, no bullshit. To Živi for diligently taking care of my stuff and providing me with great comments and much laughter. I miss your face and your cosy hugs. To Marcus and Linnea and Jessica and Kalolina and Bella and glittriga-Sanna and Lovisa who sometimes make me miss Sweden.

To Leticia whose travels inspire me and dedication encourages me (sempre tenho saudade de você), to Jade whose pretty face bounces up on my insta from time to time, and all their friends that make me miss Brazil. To Agos and Malena whose native Argentina is always in my heart, with wishes that I’ll see you soon. To Megan, for our very strange relationship of intimate questions separated by thousands of miles and thousands of minutes. I’m happy for your support and compassionate words.

To all my misesians in Europe and the States, for your support and info-sharing and references when I have needed it, for all your dedication and excitement when the world around us has demanded it. For your writings, your links, your blogs, references and knowledge – and youtube videos and podcasts when I have wanted them. To the great people in AEME for diligently carrying on our legacy and intellectual contribution, your effort reminds me, in a positive way, of my own insignificance; the furthering of our school of thought rests on many more great shoulders than mine. To my great friends in Glasgow Economic Forum, for your splendid work on a great conference this year and it is with much joy and anticipation I look forward to next year’s episode. Your efforts and actions make me proud calling University of Glasgow my alma mater.

To my brilliant sister Josefin, who celebrated her graduation just a few days ago, and proves her academic worth and personal maturity (as always) much before I do, for always putting time aside to proof-read my essays. My grades wouldn’t be half as decent without you. I’m grateful and proud of being related to you, and eternally indebted to you; it is incredible how often you have picked me up and dusted me off whenever life has required you to. You have listened to my rants and had patience with them and the econ-mumblings and econ-writings you couldn’t care less about. To my wonderful family, making sure I have never felt lonely, greeted me with visits over Christmas and Easter and spoiled me rotten, socially, culturally, emotionally and financially. I am so proud to be your son and relative.

To all people whose names I’ve forgotten or relation I’d neglected, feel included and appreciated.

Lastly, I want to thank University of Glasgow Study Abroad team for making this happen, working behind the scenes ensuring that we students can go on this fantastic adventure, and USYD for taking us in with open arms. Seonaid at UoG and Lucy & Georgia at USYD for solving any and every admin problem I encountered.

Thank you very much!

/J

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