A trip that has been nine months in the making is finally here – finally about to begin. Sitting in my bed right now at 7 a.m. in my parents’ house for the last time in three months, I thought I would feel more scared than this. But, I’m not so scared anymore.
Maybe it won’t really hit me until I am sitting on that airplane, or when my parents drop me off, or when the hugs goodbye will be the last from my friends and family for the next three months. I don’t know.
I was hanging out with my best friend on Thursday night, and she told me, “I can’t really wrap my head around the fact that you are going to the UK.” Me neither. It seems like I have been planning this trip forever, that I have been talking about it forever.
I have told people over and over again about my study abroad trip, “in the fall,” then “in a few months,” then “in a few weeks,” then “next week, then “in a few days,” then “tomorrow.” I doesn’t seem real that today is the actual day I am going to England.
When I was a freshman in college, I was the most unadventurous person on the planet. I didn’t want to rock the boat. I didn’t want to leave my safety net. I just wanted to go back to my parents’ house and be a kid forever. But, things changed, slowly.
I started pushing boundaries, and now, it’s hard not to look back at the girl I once was and find her unrecognizable. Soon, my senior year of college will begin in a foreign country. My life is still just beginning, but even now, sitting in my childhood bed, waiting to leave for the airport, I know this moment and these next three months, are going to change me forever.
There is a quote I once read, in my favorite book, Mile Markers, in a chapter about fear that says, “She applies the rocking chair test to life’s most compelling questions. She explains, ‘When you are old and sitting in a rocking chair, talking to your grandchildren, how would you want to tell the story.”
I don’t know what’s ahead of me the next three months. I don’t know if I will love it or hate it, if I will wish I could stay forever or leave the next day.
But, what I do know is that when I tell the story of the time I lived in England to my grandchildren, it will be a story of adventure and finding myself. I know that things will change – I will change. I know I am strong enough to succeed. I know I will miss the sound of my family, running paths, my bed, the way the light hits my bedroom window in the morning. But in the end, I know that the only one who can really determine my study abroad experience, is myself, my attitude, and my ambitions.
I wrote once, your happiness is your responsibility, and maybe that’s truer than ever here. No one, not one person on this Earth, can determine my happiness the next three months but me.