Note: This post is from a few days ago. I just now discovered the wifi password where I’m living (blessings) so I’m going to be posting stories from the last few days all at once. Brace yourselves.
I’m sitting in the international flights terminal in Atlanta, wondering what in the world I’ve gotten myself into.
Last March when my professor suggested I study abroad in order to put a good dent in my Spanish major (another questionable decision of mine), I thought this could be one of the best things I ever do! I immediately started working on my applications, thinking this would be a quick process and I’d be hiking the Andes just a few months later. What I didn’t know was that the process of not only international travel, but for an extended time, and with the intention of studying at a foreign school, I was in for a HEAP of paperwork that would send me into a temporary state of mental instability. To add a cherry on top, I am doing this alone, so I don’t have a group checking my lists twice. IT’S ALL UP TO ME.
When I started picking my classes for the semester, imagining what life in South America might look like, and trying to plan out all the places I want to go, I didn’t even consider that I was trading my sense of reality for a whole new world. New people. New food. New languages. New home. New school. Everything. My boarding pass is my ticket into a completely different life for five months and now that all the prep work is done and I’ve said goodbye to my family and friends, I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. No really, someone come get me from Atlanta.
It’s kinda like being in a dance circle–everyone has made room for someone to make a move and suddenly you get shoved out into the middle by someone you barely know and now you’re exposed. Everyone is cheering you on, hoping you’ll do something amazing, but you’re not sure what to do and you see no gap of escape, so you just go with it and make awkward movements until the group realizes this is not where you belong, so they let you blend back into the circle. That’s me right now. Awkward moves only.
I keep going over my mental checklist, making sure I haven’t forgotten anything and hoping that all these hours of listening to my Spanish music (shoutout to you, Enrique Iglesias) will help me remember the vocab that’s been fizzling out of my brain for the last few months. Not really knowing the lyrics leaves room for me to think about everything that’s happened in the last few weeks and all of the wild things I’ve had to be sitting in this weird airport seat listening to a lady call out the boarding procedures.
I’m grateful for my sweet parents who not only drove me to D.C. to get my student visa, but then drove back AGAIN when I forgot all of my paperwork the first time. My bad.
I’m grateful for my friends who promise to keep me in the loop on all shenanigans and who always encourage me even when they know my facade of pure excitement is covering up the fact that I’m scared out of my mind.
And I’m grateful for my Spanish teacher who knew I’d be feeling all of this anxiety and knows that in 6 months I’ll be crying when I have to come home. (But seriously if any of you are on your way to Atlanta to pick me up, don’t slow down.)
If you want to follow this blog, I’ll be using it as a diary for the next few months to document a little blonde-headed gringa trying to become a little more Chilean.