The countdown on my phone reads 14 days until Tanzania. Two weeks from right now I will be on a plan on my way to Amsterdam, a minor pit stop on the way to South East Africa. My countdown started at 50 days, which seemed like such a small number. Now that it’s almost in to the single digits I’m having a hard time believing it.
When I applied for this study abroad program it seemed like one of those things that would never actually happen, in the same way that it seems like we’ll never actually graduate college and enter “real life”. Now, after multiple orientation meetings and talking about it at least once a day for the last 4 months, it finally feels real. I leave Grand Valley to go back to my home town in 5 days and just 9 short days after that i’ll be on my way. I’m about 75% ridiculously excited, 20% nervous, and 5% stressed about getting everything ready in time to leave. In those 9 days I’m home I need to do some shopping, pack, and try to see everyone that I don’t see enough while i’m at school and that i’ll miss for that month i’m gone. That’s where the 5% stress comes from.
The 20% nervous is because, frankly, i’m a home body. I told my mom for years I wasn’t going to school because I didn’t want to be away from home. I had anxiety about being gone for just one night until eighth grade and moving to the other side, and the fact that i’ve stayed there, was surprising to many members of my family. So leaving the continent for a month brings along with it some nerves. But I think this is normal since the only “international” travel i’ve done is to Canada and some islands. I don’t know what to expect at all, besides an amazing experience. Which leads me to…
75% so incredibly, ridiculously, and insanely excited. When I think about the experiences I am lucky enough to have it makes me absolutely giddy. I will see animals that most people can only dream of seeing in zoos in their natural habitat. I will climb a mountain. I will reside in Africa. I will make a difference in student’s lives that are thousands on top of thousands of miles away. On top of all that, I will make amazing friends, learn about myself, practice my future profession in a real classroom, and be changed as a person forever.
While right now I have that 20% of me that is nervous, I know two weeks from today as I am sitting at the gate in DTW waiting to board my plane on what I expect to be the best adventure of my life, I know I will feel 100% excitement and amazement.