As I type, I feel I have entered a surreal expanse of time, like a cliff face dividing my adventure from everything else familiar. In less than 12 hours I will jump off into one of the most testing experiences, almost as foreign as living outside the US for a year! I am still as young, naïve and impulsive as when I first applied 6 months ago, but maybe it is that sentiment itself that gives me hope that I will be able to succeed.
The past few days have truly been a blur. I finished packing yesterday, about a week and a half worth of clothes and lots of host family gifts which I think are really wonderful and represent where I am from in Massachusetts. I have never really had an affinity for folding, but I did my best. After stuffing my various piles of important things into the suitcase, I held my breath when weighing it on the scale. Though I’ve never claimed to be a weight lifter, yet… This thing was heavy. In the end it came down to 50.5 lbs, but at this point it would be harder to unpack. What can I say, I like to live life on the edge and I hope my scale is a bit off. If my calculations stand correct, I will spend 28 hours traveling tomorrow, layovers and all. It would probably be helpful for me to calculate the best time for sleeping, as to not upset my circadian rhythm; although I have already disrupted my circadian rhythm by not sleeping this summer, oops!
In the past few days I have spent time with my family trying to take in the things I love most, although I feel like it will only be once I’m away that I can figure that one out. My family made a nice going away party for me. It was great seeing old friends, being able to reminisce and share all the things I’m looking forward to in Oman. I have enjoyed plenty of excellent food courtesy of our beautiful garden that is running a few weeks late due to all the rain earlier in the summer, but that’s ok. I got to eat a huge tomato with basil from the garden tonight. This morning, I finished season 3 of The Wire, which I should mention does not disappoint. Best finale ever. Life has been pretty great.
Inevitably, there are moments I feel particularly overwhelmed. The moments the new language, starting a new school in that new language, all hit me right in the head. Honestly looking back only six months ago, I wonder what I thought I was getting my self into. I think the excitement that I felt 6 months ago is what is driving me forward and helping me with goodbyes. I know in one short year I will be in my back yard once again, having Frisbees pummel my head or maybe eating a quality family dinner! But I think I know how to say goodbye, and when the time comes I will walk through security, through the terminal, onto a plane that will take me more than 6,000 miles away. Yes, it intimidates me, but honestly I can’t help but feel extremely excited. I have worried about small trivial details, trying to collect random objects, Arabic phrases, qualities in my self, trying be as prepared as possible. I will never be prepared for this. It is unrealistic to expect a perfect exchange year. But that is part of the appeal at the same time.
I don’t know if I’m ready for everything ahead, but I never will be. But I think I can handle it. Today I got to visit my Great Uncle. To his credit he has very much earned the title of great through the years. After finishing high school, he joined the navy and it was there he learned to fly, something he has always been passionate about. At 18 he was still unsure what he wanted to do with his life. So when we are young we take risks and unearth new situations, sometimes even finding the best stories and our favorite times.
Tomorrow I will leave to see the world through my own eyes, instead of through books and newspapers and I plan to absorb every second of it.