Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two days to go........

...and I am definitely stressed.

Not only am I moving to another country for 4.5 months, but I had to move out of my apartment that I've lived in for 3 years, and quit my job that I've had for just as long. Those things alone are known to be stressful events in a persons life. Lump them all together and you've got tears, breakdowns, exhaustion, etc, etc. Although I must say, I am very proud of myself for tackling my to do list in what I think was a timely manner. There are lots of things to do in preparation for an adventure like this. Unfortunately, it seems that something else is added immediately after I scratch something off and the list never seems to get smaller. Fortunately, both Panrimo and CSU provided me with study abroad orientation materials to assist me in managing the daunting preparations.

In the beginning it was lots of paperwork and mailing documents and making travel arrangements and sending emails to Panrimo and CSU. It was deciding what to do with all of my belongings and my car and my cat. It was figuring out the finances and making a savings plan and finding things around the house that I could sell to raise money for your trip.

Then, it was a lot of waiting. There was a little while there when the semester was over, I hadn't moved yet, and the holiday season had arrived, where it pretty much just felt like the same old thing. This was just the calm before the storm. Once I moved out of my apartment I was painfully aware that my life was dramatically changing which, quite frankly, made me pretty anxious.

These last couple of weeks I have spent tieing up loose ends. When you leave for 4.5 months you have to do everything that might need to be done in the that time before you leave. And as it turns out, life goes on without me here in Ohio while I'm gone. I still have to pay those credit card bills. I am still responsible for the well-being of my animal. I still have a family, a boyfriend, and friends that I will need to find a way to communicate with while I'm gone.

I am happy to report that these last few days are allowing for my stress to dissolve into excitement. My friends at work had a going away party for me and then my family did the same. Having all of those who are close to me come together on my behalf to celebrate my upcoming departure allowed my focus to shift. They wanted to ask me questions about my trip, share their excitement, joke about their jealousy, and express their concerns. I realized that I am ready to be excited. I am prepared for this. I am in the midst of a period in my life that will probably change me in a very profound way, and I am officially excited.

As my departure approaches things continue to fall into place. I received word today from Tony (whose official title is: Tony Amante Schepers, Director of University Relations at Panrimo.com) about my host family. I must admit, this was a huge topic of concern for me. I believe strongly that the relationship one has with their host family could make or break a study abroad experience. I am thrilled to report that the family I was placed with seems to be a perfect fit for me based on the description Tony gave. My host mother, Ximena, is considering buying an iguana, but will wait to meet me first. I have a really good feeling about this.

I was thinking earlier about when I first became interested in study abroad. I remembered the reason why I chose not to go. At the time, I didn't think it seemed possible to make the necessary changes that would enable me to leave my life behind for awhile. The interesting thing to me is, nothing much has changed about my life. I simply decided I was going to do it. What I have realized as a result, which is a very valuable lesson for me, is that all you really have to do is make the decision and the rest has a way of working itself out.

Next topic.....packing. I don't even know where to begin.

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