Anxiety Level (out of 10) : 4
Time for another lovely, pre-departure update:
It seems that I am now less than two weeks away from my departure date, and oddly, it couldn't feel farther away. I am still situated up at Lawrence, doing on-campus research (studying 17th century theater!), which I think definitely has something to do with it. With all my belongings still comfortably situated in my dorm room (nary a box in sight yet), my travel bag squirreled away under my bed (outta sight, outta mind), and the lovely people I will miss so much surrounding me, it is hard to fully wrap my head around the idea that I will be leaving the country in less than two weeks. It just seems so disconnected from where I am and what I am doing.
But, sometimes as I am laying idly in bed, my imminent departure manages to creep into my head all sneaky-like, despite my best attempts to (in the words of today's blog title) "deny, deny, deny." I still can't tell if I am doing myself a disservice by not thinking about it. Don't get me wrong; I have googled packing lists, travel abroad trip tips (say that ten times fast), international cellphones, bankcards, and all the rest ad nauseam, but for me, making lists, making plans, is completely different from trying to actively picture myself saying goodbye to the boyfriend, the family, and (what feels like) my peace of mind for four months, a practical eternity for the intensely anxiety-prone, control freak inside of me. When I try, my stomach sinks so low that for a second I feel like I may have misplaced it all together, and all the "what-if's" rush eagerly to the surface.
It's as if I am researching some dangerous stunt like solo skydiving, and every now and then I realize that, oh wait, I am actually the one who has to jump out of the plane. For the first time. All my myself. And the instructor will be yelling instructions in another language...Now, I am not saying that studying abroad is particularly dangerous, especially if you are sensible and are traveling to a safe area, but there is an enormous amount of variables to keep track of when one travels. (New languages. Plane departures and arrivals. Hotel bookings. Pick pockets. A new schedule. Unfamiliar people and places. You get the idea) And for someone like me, variables can often feel like the enemy because they increase the "what-if" factor (technical term), which in turn increases anxiety because I don't know what to expect.
With something like travel abroad, the "what-if's" and worst case scenarios become practically infinite. Am I pretty sure that I won't be stolen and sold into sex trafficking thereby forcing friends and family to pull a Liam Neeson and kill everyone in their path until they rescue me? Yes, I am pretty sure that neither of those things will happen (knock on wood). But am I positive that I won't have an awful panic attack on the plane or experience severe anxiety once I get there, rendering the rest of my stay very unpleasant? No, I am not positive that those things won't happen. So for now rather than allowing myself to dwell on all the worst case scenarios, I shall continue my googling and denying until I have to face the music! Wish me luck!
- *Again, thanks goes out to the Helen Barr Rudin Grant for making this blog and my adventures abroad possible**