So I have eleven days until my mom drives me to DIA with two suitcases to my name and a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Its just incredibly surreal realizing that I’m really moving halfway across the world without ever having even ventured outside of my cozy United States before. The idea that maybe the outside world doesn’t exist and they drug you on the plane and put you into a matrix-like coma until your “trip abroad” is over still remains shoved away into a corner of my mind. If my friends ever knew how often those types of thoughts come out of their corners they’d be justly worried about my mental health…that is, if they aren’t already.
Besides moving halfway across the world in less than two weeks I’ve given myself plenty of other things to stress about, as always. My clumsiness landed me in the doctor’s office with a badly sprained ankle, of which I probably tore all three ligaments in the side of my foot. I lost my wallet somewhere between Clell’s house and the gas station (without even getting out of my car!!! I swear it must have legs) and I’m planning my own going away party, which if you knew me, you’d have pegged that as a terrible idea to begin with. I ADORE planning events and easily get carried away/OCD/neurotic with the details and organization. This party really is no exception.
But that’s just the drama queen I am, if I’m not busy with something or constantly worried about that other thing I’ll create yet another thing to get in a fuss about. This really is phase 4 of my freakout about moving to Argentina. Here, let me explain:
Phase 1: Isn’t phase 1 always the honeymoon? Well I’ll be cliche and say that this phase was the 13 year-old girl-at-a-sleepover-gushing-about-her-future-husband honeymoon….maybe the sickly sweet ‘splendamoon’ phase. I decided I wanted to go to Argentina and wasted no time in becoming overly optimistic and excited. I hadn’t even really started the application process (which would have severely toned down my enthusiasm) and it was still only a dream.
Phase 2: Applications ‘n sh*t. The “‘n sh*t” part of that is definitely supposed to be profane (ear muffs little ones.) This was not easy at all. The essays. The other school work on top of that. The essays. The financial aid mumbo jumbo (which continues to give me a headache.) The letters of recommendation. The essays. The grovelling before professors and the like. And did I mention the essays? I probably worked off at least 2 dozen Kit Kat bars running around campus just to fill things out, talk to certain important people, scan and copy forms, and pay money to those important people for more forms to scan and copy. Surprisingly though, as my metabolism raced faster and faster, so did my thoughts and excitement about going!!! When I got accepted I started checking out tons of books about the culture and the country, hungry for every single tid bit of information I could get my worn out brain to devour. I was rather know-it-all and brainy–spouting off random trivia facts about Argentina. I’d be mid-conversation with a friend and randomly pop in “Did you know that Buenos Aires has the most psychoanalysts per capita in the entire world?!” I’m not sure everyone loved my excitement but it definitely gave me the energy to get through this phase.
Phase 3: The un-splendamoon. Oh right…going to Argentina means that I’m leaving everyone I love behind for a whole, entire, 365-day year. Didn’t think about that during the decision making process did I? I wasn’t very much fun during this phase and I still continue to be kind of a downer. I just really love all of the people in my life here and don’t want to miss out on anything. Looking back on this past year, so much has happened and I’ve really changed and grown up!!! It’s going to be like that but tenfold while I’m abroad. After the initial excitement wore off I realized that what I signed up for is going to be astonishingly difficult. I know the whole experience will be worth it but…well that’s just it. There’s a “but”.
Phase 4: I’m really not sure what this phase is called or what it entails but I’m just now entering it. It’s a whirlwind of emotions, a monsoon of hopes, doubts, fears, love, tears, and excitement. I’ll bet my boat’s strong enough to face the flood though. Especially with everyone I love helping to patch it up.
I feel like all that stuff they’re making me read about culture shock is relevant even before I get on the plane. It’s like I rode that roller coaster (probably built it too) already.
**This blog has been republished on the Collegian website. The original publication date was 7/8/2012.**