Saturday, August 28, 2010

Is this actually real?

It's August 28th. Wait, what? What happened to summer? The two and a half months since graduation have flown by. It's been a whirlwind. Fall is starting to peak its head out now, though. Many of my friends have left for college, there's a chill in the air, and the leaves are even starting to change. But it still hasn't fully hit me that, in less than two weeks, I'll be leaving for EIGHT months. I'll say goodbye to my family, friends, house, pets, bed, cell phone, and laptop and embark on an incredible journey around the world. What lies ahead for me still seems like a fantastical dream, but reality is slowly starting to kick in. Primarily when it comes to that dreaded P word...packing.

For the last few weeks I've been attempting to accumulate the equipment and clothes I'll need: a backpack, water filter, new camera, first aid supplies, etc. But now I can't ignore the fact that it's crunch time. Today, I pulled out everything that I want to take with me and made sure it fit in my backpack...I'm actually quite proud of myself for this. Even having done that, I still wonder if I'm bringing the "right" things. There is a delicate balance when it comes to packing, and I envy those who possess the skill to obtain that elusive paragon. I want to get by on as little as necessary, but then again, I don't want to be missing things that I'll need. It's helped so much that alumni from last year's program have been answering our questions on a facebook discussion thread. I've picked up some really helpful tips, and have concluded that there are a few things I need to get still-- stuff sacks, casual shoes that look nice but are good for walking (do they even make those?), a light jacket. Other than that, I think I'm pretty set. I'm trying not to worry too much though, because I can always send things home or have things sent to me.

I've also been trying to squeeze in as much home as I can into my last few weeks. I'm eating my way through a list of my favorite homemade meals and restaurants, trying to spend as much time with family and friends as I can, and doing other various things that I know I won't be able to do for a very long while. It's hard for me to even imagine being away from home for so long. My parents, brother, friends, dogs, cats, sea monkeys, bed. Frankly, I'm nervous and a little bit scared. Having said that, I am-- to put it bluntly-- freakin' excited for what's to come. I looked back over the country briefings and program overview, and cannot wait to immerse myself in every vibrant culture and meet countless amazing people the way. My goal is to use this blog to post updates so I can share all of these experiences. I hope I don't disappoint.

Until next time!