Monday, August 24th
I fly out today. As my departure time nears, the easiest way to describe how I’m feeling is a mosh pit of emotions. Here’s what I’m experiencing:
Fear. This is almost an illogical, and possibly even a laughable one. I’m not exactly sure what it is that I’m fearful of…the culture shock, my inability to speak fluent Italian, or simply the fact that I’ve never been to Europe. My previous excursions out of the country include The Bahamas and Canada, and let’s be honest, those don’t really count as ‘cultural experiences’. All I do know is that this is will be a dramatic change from what I consider to be normal.
Nostalgia. I always try to be welcoming of change, but this is bittersweet. Things are going well for me, and I’m truly enjoying my place in life at the moment. I’ve been living in a loveable and diverse city, working on an awesome team of admirable mentors, and spending time with some amazing new faces whom I already miss. It’s hard to walk away from anything that makes you happy, but perhaps in this twisted sense of abandonment, I’ll uncover a renewed meaning of ‘home’.
Eagerness. Don’t let the first two fool you. My enthusiasm for going abroad is unparalleled to virtually all of my prior experiences. Consider standing in line for a roller coaster—the growing impatience as 10 minutes slowly turns into 45; the claustrophobic cozying up to crowds that are just as confused about your appearance as you are of theirs; the unwelcomed mob of butterflies that always seem to show up to the party. Nobody enjoys waiting in line, just as I never enjoy the controlled chaos that goes into preparing for such a trek. All I know is that this roller coaster looks like a hell of a good time, so I’m patiently waiting to get on.