It Still Hasn’t Sunk in…
As excited as I am to study abroad, Peru wasn’t even on my mind until yesterday when I started throwing my most important 40 lbs of stuff into my bag, which, unfortunately, weighed about 50 lbs when I was finished.
To avoid the checked-bag overweight bag fee, I find myself on a 5 hour layover in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, carrying a bag of books and electronics and wearing all of my heaviest clothes: a flannel shirt, long pants, a sweatshirt, and hiking boots, as well as a Northwestern University T-shirt, so that another ifsa-butler student might more easily recognize me. I feel linguistically unprepared, tired, a little hungry (although I am about to fix that) and very, very excited.
I left my house in Lake Bluff, IL at 3:56 am, and my parents drove me 45 minutes to the airport. My mom was listing all the things that she was worried about and making sure I was prepared to deal with each and every one of them, from malaria to murder to a canceled flight.
I still don’t have a great idea of what to expect; the only thing my friends who have been to Peru have told me is “Wow, you are going to be really, really tall.” I’m 6′ 4”, and the average height in Peru is about 5′ 2”. I was also told to expect a two week-long headache as I slowly get used to living my life in Spanish.
But I know I’ve got a lot more to look forward to than that. I’m super excited to learn the culture of a place so different from the US, as well as to be volunteering for an NGO in an area with a whole different set of social issues than we have here. Lima is an awesome food city, and the cost of living is pretty low, so I won’t be spending nearly as much as some of my friends who are studying in Europe. And when its all over, I’ll finally be able to speak Spanish effortlessly.
I don’t think reality will set in until I am greeted by a large city speaking an entirely different language, but I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t think that would be the fun part!