Travel Log 2: “Rites of Separation: Looking Behind Looking Ahead: Expecting and Accepting the Unexpected” by Brent Peiffer. Fairfield, Connecticut

Three days until departure, and it has come way faster than I could have ever imagined. I’m still not fully packed and there is so much to get done before I can even think about leaving the country. I am more worried about what I have to get done tomorrow than I am about leaving for four months. I tend to leave change like this for the last minute and then deal with it then instead of preparing for it. This is not too healthy but it has worked for me thus far. I am so far from ready to leave but hopefully my Separation Letter will get me into the right mindset.

I was very happy and confident with my Separation Letter and decided that it would be better to bring up my points with my family over dinner instead of formally introducing the activity. My family is much more honest when a conversation happens naturally. I approached the conversation by presenting my reasoning for studying abroad and what I believe will allow me to have a successful education abroad. I want to be immersed in the culture of New Zealand, I want to learn about its history, about the way of life and the different lifestyles that can be seen all over New Zealand. I want to use the opportunity I have to participate in research to ensure that what I am studying is my passion and I can use what excites me in class in practicality. Most of all I want to be comfortable and confident with the way I hold myself in a multicultural environment, while also learning about the way others hold themselves and interact. My family seemed rather impressed but also bored with my goal. They were more concerned with question such as: When will you be coming home? Who are you living with? What is the town like? How are you getting to school and how far is it from where you are living? What is the food like there? These are all questions I have not taken the time to answer for myself, let alone for my family so I started to get overwhelmed. These were all things I expected to be figuring out as I arrived as started from scratch in a new city with new people, but my family expects me to know now. I am ready to take on the unexpected obstacles that will come my way. I am excited to be going to a new place with nothing but new interacts and people to meet. It will be interesting to be in an environment where everyone is ready to make the most of their limited time in New Zealand. Although I was overwhelmed by all the questions I am bombarded with before leaving, it was important that my family was asking them. These were and are the questions that are going to help them have a healthy separation.

When separating from anyone in my life, I have always been on the end that has accommodated the needs of others. It is very natural for me to work to make sure that the other party is happy and comfortable. Therefore when I am the one in need, the situation becomes a little more difficult. I know that what I need is time to adjust, time to see what happens simply because I don’t know what to expect. I told my family that I will make sure to keep in touch, but I may need a few days after I arrive to adjust to things on my own. With this I found a quote that reinforces how I feel about having a healthy separation. This quote reads as follows, “True friendship isn’t about being inseparable, it’s being separated and nothing changes.” This is how I see a healthy separation turning into a healthy reunion. There is a lot that is going to change at home while I am gone, but I am very hopefully that I will be fully embraced when I return to a new home and a new family. My ideal return home would feel as though nothing has changed, like I never left at all.

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My journey to a new country includes my separation from something that I can not return to. My specific experience will not allow me to have a perfect return home, because no matter how similar our new house will be, it will be change regardless. I have come to terms with the fact that I will sleep my last night in my childhood house on Sunday night and I will not able to come back to my house again after I walk out of the door on Monday morning. However, as my mom keeps telling me, “We are onto a new chapter of our lives.” The one thing that is keeping me moving forward is seeing how happy my mom is in the start of her new chapter, relieved and ready to start anew.

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