• Meghan Bartok

Back to reality after five weeks in Paradise

Updated: Dec 6, 2020

Time is a crazy thing. For me, the past five weeks have felt like a lifetime, but at the same time, flown by so quickly. Living at Paradise Cove was like being in a completely separate world, and it was the greatest five weeks I could have asked for. After two (great) weeks of staying in Sydney sightseeing, it felt so good to get back into a routine, even if that routine was completely different from any I had before. Getting used to waking up at 6:30 am and going to sleep at 10 pm was a lot easier than I would have imagined, but I am looking forward to getting to sleep in tomorrow! Only having wifi in the main house made me realize just how nice it is to not spend hours scrolling through your phone right before bed.

The best part of Paradise Cove was how, over the past five weeks, it came to feel like home.

When you’re spending almost every waking hour with the same six people, you come to feel a lot like a family (however, there were a lot fewer arguments than you might expect!) – we worked and played together, ate loads of family meals and had some of the best heart to hearts and biggest laughs. Living, working, and playing together made us all extremely close – having someone leave was always so sad, but at the same time, meeting new people was super exciting.

Staying in the same place for five weeks, and I really do mean the same place – I left the resort to go into town exactly one time while I was there – makes you appreciate the little things. The highlight of everyone’s day is finally getting to take a shower after a long day of work, and a nice cold strawberry milkshake. I spent my free time going on nature walks down the creek, laying by the pool, and taking lots and lots of bubble baths. I also learned how to not be afraid of snakes and toads, which is a huge thing for me! I barely wore shoes for all of my time there, and I’m honestly not quite sure how I’m going to adjust to being back in civilization and having to wear shoes again.

One of our friendly neighbourhood dingos

I love that it became normal to see dingos running through the front lawn, or to see a baby shark or stingray in the creek. The sunsets, sunrises, thunderstorms and rainbows were all incredible. It was so nice to be able to experience nature so intimately while I was there – even if that did mean a possum wandering into our bathroom while I brushed my teeth!

While there were ups and downs – like those days that you really just did want to make one more bed or do one more dish – I would not have traded this for anything. Living in Paradise was one of the best experiences of my life – the place was great, but the people really made it!

To everyone: Thank you for being my family for the past five weeks, for all of the banter, hugs and memories. Thank you especially for putting up with me even though I don’t know how to spell chili and cried into the dinner dishes.

To Sunny: Thank you for letting me tag along with you, and giving me this opportunity. I don’t know if I’ve ever clicked with someone as fast as I clicked with you. We had such a good three weeks here, and I can’t wait to see you in Norway!

To Amber: My little Scot. I don’t know what I would have done without you. My bed making and laundry buddy, thank you for always having the answers when I needed help, and for all of our deep conversations. Seeing you leave was so hard, but now I have a reason to come to Scotland and see the Highland Coos.

To Luke: While we had our rocky patches, things turned out alright in the end. Thank you for being my (literal) shoulder to cry on, for cooking so many meals for us, and for putting up with our antics and teasing. Also, will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

To Justine: Thank you for being so caring, for always checking to see if I was okay, and for your great sense of humor. I loved having someone who liked photography, sunrises, and dingos as much as I did! Additionally, you make the best spaghetti Bolognese I’ve ever tasted.

To Kip: Thank you for answering all of my (probably annoying) questions about Australian wildlife. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing you don’t know in that department. You were always willing to help the girls so we could get done faster, which was much appreciated!

To Jess: Thank you for all of the laughs we had together, singing, dancing, and just being goofballs; also thank you for being someone else who always is in the mood for a hug! Even though it was only two weeks, it feels like we’ve been friends for so much longer! I can’t wait to see you when I’m back!

To the Boat Boys – Chris, Jiah, Billy, Kane, Rolly, and Dan: Thanks for being our fresh faces in the afternoon, for the jokes, the hummus, the dinners, and the conversations. You’re all great, and I’m so glad I’ve met you!

P.S. I’m sorry this is long and kind of emotional, but what am I as a person if not emotional? Hope this was a good enough update – there are lots of things coming up that will be more fun to hear about than the 635 beds I made in the last five weeks!


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