Counting Down the Days
“What will this day be like? I wonder.
What will my future be? I wonder.
It could be so exciting to be out in the world, to be free
My heart should be wildly rejoicing
Oh, what’s the matter with me?
I’ve always longed for adventure
To do the things I’ve never dared
And here I’m facing adventure
Then why am I so scared?”
I will be leaving for Argentina in exactly one week! I’m starting to get more serious about getting ready to go, I’ve created a to do list and I’ve started to think about packing (think being the key word here). Every day I remember something else I need to take care of before I depart, it feels like I have to get my entire life packed up before I leave!
But I’ve learned that I can’t spend all day thinking about studying abroad, if I do that I begin to feel just the slightest bit anxious and stir crazy. So I’ve done a lot of fun things in the meantime. Last week I went to volunteer at the school my mom teaches at. I always love helping out there because the staff and students are so friendly and welcoming to me and always appreciative of my help. Also, as someone who is considering a future in teaching the more experience I get in a classroom setting, the better prepared I’ll be for a future career in education. I also was able to visit three of my friends who go to college locally, it felt really good to step foot on a college campus again and once again be surrounded by people my age.
My other excitement from this week was this past weekend I went to visit my sister, Deborah at her college, Whitman, in Walla Walla, Washington. It was my first time there, and Deborah showed me around the campus and the town, and introduced me to her friends. Besides loving the chance to spend some more time with my sister before I leave, the trip also gave me back a greater sense of self-confidence.
By successfully navigating unfamiliar surroundings and meeting many new faces, I reminded myself that I’m capable of a lot more than I sometimes give myself credit for. When I returned home from my trip I realized that over the weekend I had entered “independent Rebecca” mode without even realizing it, I hadn’t needed help calling a taxi to the airport or figuring out how much to tip the driver, I didn’t need to call my parents when I was confused about which terminal my flight was leaving from, and I didn’t need help getting my things into the car when my parents picked me up. I even successfully translated for a Mexican passenger on my flight, which made me feel better about my Spanish skills! (The flight was continuing on to Guadalajara and they had placed a non-English speaking person in the emergency exit row. The flight attendant needed someone to explain to her that she had to switch seats because the people in the emergency exit rows needed to understand English, and I volunteered!)
Another exciting thing that happened this weekend was that I received my host family assignment! Having that information felt like a huge relief, somehow just knowing where I would be living and with who helped everything feel a little less uncertain. It looks like I will be living with a couple and their two grown children. It also looks like the family is Jewish, which I wasn’t expecting, but will definitely make the transition easier (at the very least it will give me a good way to get connected with the Jewish community there!)
All of these experiences over the past week have helped me to visualize myself being successful on this semester abroad, and reminds me to have confidence in myself and my abilities to adapt to new surroundings and make the most of new experiences. I’m once again starting to think that this adventure might be fun.
I leave you with the lyrics from “I Have Confidence” a song from one of my favorite musicals of all time, The Sound of Music. I rewatched (for at least the 20th time) the movie over winter break. Everytime I watched this movie growing up I gravitated my focus towards one of the children, Gretl or Marta when I was younger, Luisa or Liesl as a teenager, but this year when I watched it I found myself identifying with Maria for the first time, especially in this song, as she tries to prepare herself for the uncertainty that lies ahead. Like Maria, I’m beginning my preparations for my journey with a fair amount of hesitation, but I can also remind myself that this is a challenge I’m ready for and through this experience I will achieve more than I think I can.
“It tells me all I trust I lead my heart to
All I trust becomes my own
I have confidence in confidence alone
I have confidence in confidence alone
Besides which you see I have confidence in me!”