Saying Goodbye

Today is the day.

Thanks to yesterday’s fake-out, I was able to get a better night’s sleep, and I woke up at 4:00am finally ready to get on the plane to China. Well, make that the three planes to China.

Maria and Eden were up and getting ready for their trip to the airport as I headed out the door. Today’s goodbyes were much more relaxed than yesterday’s. I didn’t feel as emotional walking out the door of my house since I’d already had that experience once before.

But I still wasn’t really prepared to say goodbye to my mom. We hugged before I got into the security line, and I fought tears whenever I’d turn back to wave at her.

It finally hit me that I was leaving for good as I sat down in the airport and read the letters that my family had written to me.

A year seems like such a long time, but I’m sure that in retrospect, it will seem to have flown by. After a long, stressful sophomore year of college, I’m ready for a change. I’m ready to push the reset button on my life again. Continue reading “Saying Goodbye”

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The Fake Out

Well, my last days in America are coming to an end in a more surprising way than I’d been expecting.

These past few days, my family has tried to spend our evenings together. This Friday, Mom surprised us with sky lanterns (like in the movie Tangled), and we spent our evening lighting them and watching them fly off into the sky. And last night, our family went and saw How To Train Your Dragon 2 (which I didn’t like as much as the first movie, but the animation was amazing).

That same night, I got a call from the airline telling me that my flight had been cancelled and then quickly rescheduled. I didn’t really think much of it, so I packed my bags, hugged my cats, and prepared to leave home for a year. Continue reading “The Fake Out”

The Devil Is In The Details

I’ve been having a great time hanging out with my family! We recently took a trip to Minneapolis together, and I got to see my little cousin before I leave for China. When I get back, he’ll be five years old, and I bet I’ll hardly even recognize him! I’ve also been spending a lot of time with my sisters and my two cats, and after being away from home for two years, I think I might be on the verge of overstaying my welcome.

While I am doing a lot of relaxing (and catching up on television shows that I don’t have time for in college), I’ve also been working on finalizing all my travel plans.

When I first got back home from school, I was in denial that I was even going to be leaving. It was so nice to not have anything to worry about that I let some of my study abroad responsibilities slip through the cracks. With only a couple of weeks until my flight to China, I’m really starting to feel the pressure.

Continue reading “The Devil Is In The Details”

Big Moments

Even though I’m done with college for the semester, my sisters’ school year is still in full swing. This past Monday, I had the opportunity to attend Maria’s Choir Awards Concert, and this evening I supported Eden at her Confirmation mass.

I love spending time with my family, and being part of my sisters’ big moments is my job as the oldest sibling. So I really am worried that I’m going to miss a lot of important life events while I’m away for a year. I’m most concerned about missing Maria’s high school graduation next spring. She’s always been there for me, and I should really be there for her, too.

My family is very supportive of my decision to live abroad, and I know that I should seize this opportunity while I have the chance, but sometimes I worry about what I’m leaving behind.

Two Years Ago

Two years ago, I was a high school senior about to leave home for the first time. On my first night at college, I wrote in my journal, “If at this moment I had the choice between my house and college, I’d choose my warm bed at home without a second thought.” The next day, I had already changed my mind. I wrote, “I think I’m going to have a blast at ISU.”

A lot has happened in the past two years. When I walked through the doors of my old high school on Friday afternoon, I felt like a completely different person. I got lost in the halls (it didn’t help that I was trying to navigate through the new addition built after my graduation), and all of the students just looked so young.

Visiting with my high school Chinese teacher also made me realize how far I’ve come with my language studies. As a high school senior, I couldn’t imagine taking a college Chinese class in which no English is spoken, students write 400 word essays every week, and quizzes consist of writing characters down from memory. I didn’t realize how much I’d improved until I looked back on where I was just a few years ago. Continue reading “Two Years Ago”

Tying Up Loose Ends

The end of the year is finally here. The past two weeks seemed to drag on forever, but now it almost feels like my last day at ISU is sneaking up on me before I’m ready to leave.

Goodbyes are starting to feel very final. I’ve spent the past week trying to schedule last-minute meetings with the people I want to thank before I leave, and it’s really starting to hit me that I won’t be seeing my university friends, coworkers, and professors for an entire year.

After I found out that I’d received a year-long scholarship, it was harder for me to broach the topic of my study abroad plans with my friends. I just didn’t know how to casually say, “By the way, this is probably going to be the last time you’ll see me for over a year.” But everyone’s reactions have been so overwhelmingly positive that I feel like I’m receiving a lot of love and support.

As I’m finishing out the semester, the process of tying up loose ends has been a whirlwind of its own. I’m simultaneously moving out of my dorm room while studying for finals (which makes some things, like trying to find the hole punch, a bit more difficult), and I’m wrapping up some year-long responsibilities that are hard to step away from.

Continue reading “Tying Up Loose Ends”