Less than two weeks…
…until I start a whole new life. Wow. It’s hard to believe that I only have less than one two weeks until I will be in Lima. I should probably introduce myself first. My name is Crysta, as you have probably figured out. I am a Senior this year at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. I was born in California, and then moved to Oklahoma, and finally Minnesota. I am studying Spanish and Secondary Education. I love working with kids, and I am so excited to study abroad. I have been fortunate enough to travel quite extensively in my life. I have been to Russia, Spain, and Northern Ireland for over a month each.
The prospect of leaving for five months is still a little scary. I don’t know how to feel about being gone for that long, to be completely honest. There are so many questions spinning around my mind. What if I don’t like the people I am with? What if my host family is not what I thought they would be? What if the classes are too hard or I don’t have anything to do in my free-time? How am I going to plan a wedding internationally?? (I’m getting married in May) The list of questions goes on and on.
When I honestly think about it though, I know that everything will work out. Everyone says that the courses overseas are so much easier that the ones we have here in the United States. I guess being bored is more of my concern than anything. I’ve taken at least 21 US credits each semester since being at Iowa State, and with the plethora of other activities, I haven’t ever had a moment to myself to “do nothing”.
This summer I am living in Kansas nannying for four of my cousins. I love the kids, but it is going to be a nice break in Peru to not have four children running around wanting attention 24/7. I haven’t started getting ready at all. Nothing. Being in Kansas has been great, but there is the minor problem of me not being able to pack until I get back to Minnesota. I will have three days to get everything packed, ready, and out the door.
I am really excited for the semester. I have been communicating via email with my host family and they sound amazing. I had very specific hopes when I requested a host family. I wanted a family that shared my religion and had similar morals and beliefs to me. I couldn’t have asked for a better match. IFSA-Butler has gone above and beyond in the aspect of matching me with a compatible host family. My host family is also strong in their faith, and they have a small child (which I also requested). Furthermore, they are a very musical family, which I am very enthusiastic about as well. I can only hope that my host family turns out to be as good as they sound.
I have had a lot of people ask me why I decided to study abroad in Perú. They think it sounds like a strange place to go, and as weird as it may seem, I chose it because of an experience in elementary school. When I was in fourth grade in Oklahoma I had to complete a research project about Machu Picchu. Ever since then I have had the life goal of going to Perú, and it is finally coming true. I have heard rumors that they are going to close Machu Picchu to the public in a few years due to the damage that is resulting from the massive amounts of tourists. I am really fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to visit such beautiful locations, and I hope to learn more about the country of Perú and South America in general while I am there.
For now I can only imagine what it is going to be like on August 2nd when I arrive in Lima. The semester is sure to hold many new experiences and opportunities. I just need to make sure that I take full advantage of each opportunity that is presented.
Next time I write I’ll be on Peruvian soil! ¡Hasta luego! (Below is a picture of me with one of my cousins)