Preparing to leave for Spain has been completely different than I imagined. Because I am an Orientation Leader at Quinnipiac, I have to be at the university during the week before my departure. It was extremely stressful to pack one suitcase of my “reject” clothes that weren’t coming with me to Barcelona, as well as all of my stuff for abroad. I was leaving home a week earlier than expected so it really forced me to think about my separation letter and the importance of separating from my family. Being at Orientation and away from my family this week has forced us to begin to separate, but in a place that we were all familiar with. It is helping us transition into the next, and much bigger, separation. As I was writing my separation letter, I mostly was thinking of ground rules and important things I wanted to relay to my family, but it also helped me think about the things that would hold me back from transitioning from the liminal phase. A huge setback for me is the fear of missing out. I always want to be in more than place at once and with the people I love. I think a way to combat this is to stay off of social media, texting, and Skype as much as possible and embrace where I am.
In order to stay off social media and technology I have decided to not have an extensive phone plan while I am abroad. It is imperative for me to plunge right into the Spanish culture and make Barcelona my new home. Staying off my phone while I am outside of my room will be a huge part in doing this. This will keep me from getting my “fear of missing out” and will help me to avoid any type of home sickness. I’m going to try new things and fill my time with all that Barcelona has to offer. I never want to live the same day twice because that isn’t really living. Saint Augustine sums this up perfectly saying, “The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page” (Saint Augustine). I never want to be stuck in one place I want to travel to learn, grow, and discover. I want to go out of my way to discover things I never knew about or thought I would like and make the most out of my experience.
In my letter I talked to my family about all of these things and why they were imperative to my experience. Without separating I won’t fully be able to go through this rite of passage. I’m so blessed to have such a tight-knit family, and it makes saying goodbye so difficult, but through the letter I was able to convey everything that was important to me and why the use of my phone was especially important for me to move past the liminal phase and the feelings of being “betwixt and between.” I ended the letter with the cliché quote that, “I’m so lucky to have something so good that makes saying goodbye so hard.” As I begin this journey I need to make a healthy separation from my family and life at home. Slimbach states, “Instead of indulging a sentimental longing for an irrecoverable past” we need to move forward in our new situation and use it to experience new things” (Slimbach 4).
I chose to put in a picture of me and my family from two weeks ago when we went to Niagara Falls. This is where I presented them with the letter of separation and we spent the last weekend together as a family before I leave. My mom and dad said to me as I was leaving, “We are so lucky you are able to have this adventure. Take advantage of every opportunity.” I can’t wait to show them everything I have learned and discovered and to start this journey.