Pre-Departure Thoughts

I’m hanging in my favorite mid-morning spot at Hope: in the comfy chairs in the library with my friend Natalie, trying to get work done and instead going on Facebook.  Just typical college things.  As I sit here and think about finals and everything going on, it hits me.  In less than one month, I will be on a plane to Quito, Ecuador.

Less than a month.

I thought this day would never arrive- I’ve dreamed of studying abroad in a Spanish speaking country since I was in elementary school.  As a kid I used to read my Children’s Atlas for hours, exclaiming at each new country I found and wondering where I would go.  And now, it’s so close that I can picture it in my head: the city, the people in my program, the school.

It’s all very exciting.  It’s all very scary.  It’s all I can think about.

Recently, I’ve found that my search history consists of all things Ecuador.  My Spotify listening habits have begun to trend towards Ecuadorian artists (Helloo Nicola Cruz!).  My Instagram suggestions show volcanoes and rain forests and mountains.  I’ve read up on the demographics.  I’m giddy every time I hear Spanish and think about getting to speak it everyday.

But these are just preparations.  If you know me, you know that I love to research things.  However, this research can only take me so far.  It’s one thing to know a lot of facts about a place.  It’s a whole other thing to actually LIVE there and experience the ebbs and flows of daily life.

So for now, I’m trying hard to stay focused and grounded where I am- my last week of classes at Hope with finals on the horizon.  I’m trying to enjoy the people that I’m here with for the last time until August.  I’m trying to soak it all in.  I keep telling myself to practice mindfulness, to enjoy these last little moments.

Yet at the same time– I’m so ready!  My travel visa should (maybe?) be coming in the mail soon, my packing list is growing, and my excitement is unprecedented.  Yes, I’m still bouncing between feeling nervous and excited, and I’m constantly laughing at how unprepared I am, but the anticipation is growing everyday.

Stay tuned- the adventure begins on January 2!

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