A while back we did an exercise in a class that involved explaining our relationships in our families by arranging our classmates in a structure that symbolized each relationship. It was emotional for most, awkward for me.
Does that make sense? It’s find if it doesn’t, the exercise is not the point.
I’m not usually one to like these kinds of emotional-journey type exercises (like, at all), but what I did like about this one was that we were to choose a person in our family and say whatever we wanted to them. And I chose my sisters, Katherine and Erin.
Because since being in Jordan, I’ve noticed something: I really love having sisters. I found myself talking about them quite a bit, researching the perfect gifts to bring them, and seeing things that I wished they could see too. Our ages, 21, 18, 14, have started to feel a little closer. And I’ve started referring to them as some of my best friends.
How do you finish off a study abroad blog? I don’t know, but this is what I’m going with.
Dear Katherine and Erin,
The shuttle to take me to the airport will pick me up at 1pm. I will have been in Jordan for 3 months and 10 days. It’s weird because it feels like yesterday I was in the airport with you guys, Mom, and Tony and saying our goodbyes. And now here we are, it’s all over and I’m coming back. People don’t lie, these kinds of things go by in a blur.
The day before I left, I was wandering through Barnes and Noble and visibly shaking. I was pulling books off shelves and staring at the covers, not registering the titles. For weeks I had been debating with myself over whether or not I was making the right decision. I was scared for a number of reasons: the area and my limited and arrogant knowledge of it, flying, meeting people, navigating the city, classes, whether or not I would be able to fit everything into my suitcase.
But despite my nerve-wracking fear, there was still something that was motivating me to move forward. To ultimately ignore my preexisting assumptions and walk toward the feeling I had that there was something waiting for me.
Erin, you’re a freshman in high school. Katherine, you’re starting college soon. There will be so many moments very similar to the one that I had before I left. Moments where you’re staring at the future and feeling so scared you can’t move. Moments that will cause you to force smiles at people to convince them that you know what you’re doing when in reality, you have no idea if you even remembered to put deodorant on in the morning.
Moments where people really suck.
Moments where you think no one is listening.
Moments where it seems like your entire being hinges on one decision.
But these things should not keep you from moving forward.
The program has only just ended and I’m already beginning to feel my life shift, and I’m sure I will continue to notice things throughout my life that are possible because I chose to study abroad. Things I have earned because I decided to go to Jordan despite my fear. And it feels so great.
I want you guys to feel the same way. I want you to travel and meet new people and push past the boundaries you’ve grown comfortable with. I want you to panic the moment you step foot in an airport across the world because you feel out of place and alien. I want you to take a deep breath and try new food and listen to new stories. You are so smart, and interesting, and weird, it would be a crime not to share your stories with others too.
This entire experience has been so much fun. And even though it wasn’t all perfect, I wouldn’t change anything. Even during my worst bouts of homesickness, there was not a day that I regretted coming here.
I hope that you’re scared for the next parts of your lives. I hope you’re exhilarated, dizzy, curious, and happy. You guys deserve the world.
I can’t wait to see you.