Now that I am about to leave in four days, reality is starting to set in. After giving my dad the letter, I felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders. It was nice to know that in a way, I was giving him an orientation or prepping him for the adventure I am about to embark on. It was most definitely an emotional time for both of us since I didn’t think saying good-bye was going to be so difficult. The quote that I included in my letter was “Because rites of passage occur at moments of great anxiety, they are dramatic occasions, naturally or socially provided crises, when the person is most teachable” (Barbera Myerhoff). I decided to add this specific quote because I feel as though whenever I feel lost or when I need help, I reach straight to my dad. I’m hoping that this quote will ease his stress and help him realize that even when I feel lost and afraid, I will be learning and growing. At this point I now feel prepared to separate from my previous life and begin my journey over seas.
The only thing that I feel as though may hold me back from separating in this ‘healthy-way’ is the fact that I run a business back home and will need to be in contact with my employees/managers in the United States. I feel as though I have worked hard to make this separation go as smoothly as I can (abroad cell phone plans, new employee orientations, new ways of checking in, truck tracking etc.) so I am not as worried as I once was at the beginning of the summer.
A successful education abroad will entail being able to experience new things and keep a level head. As time has passed, I have found that I have a lot to do when I am abroad (run a business, work for my internship, attend class… and travel of course!) and I want to be able to find a healthy balance with all of these other things on my plate. I will be able to measure my success by how smoothly the business is running at home and by analyzing my own personal stress levels compared to my peers. Living in a foreign country is stressful in itself so I am expecting that we all will be dealing with some levels of stress on a day to day basis. That being said, I am ready and willing to expect the unexpected. I am going to embrace the fact that I can no longer plan for everything which is one of the character traits I currently have. I will need to be more flexible and able to ‘ roll with the punches’ even though I am going to be working abroad. I am excited to be able to experience new things, create a new lifestyle, get a feel for a new type of diversity and see the world from a new perspective! I have been comparing this journey to my first semester of college; scary and unknown, exciting and refreshing – but this time with only one suitcase, not a full pick up truck.
The photo embedded into this post best represents my journey to date. I have felt like I have been pulled in a million directions (all of the eyes on this monster) and sometimes I feel like no one understands how insane it is to prepare a business for an event like this (the crazy spots on the monster). The tongue on this monster though represents how excited I am to begin this adventure. I feel like I’m 16 again and counting down the days until I get my license… but this time I will be headed to Europe for 4 months.