EIGHT DAYS. Wait. Has it already been six days since my last post? Time is flying! Which is both great and unfortunate. It’s pretty obvious why it’s great…I am about to embark on the most exciting and self-realizing trip of my life to date. I am so, so excited to learn about myself, even though I’ve heard that these breakthroughs typically come after tough times and doubt. But I’m ready. My excitement beats out the fear. So, why unfortunate? Well…let’s just say my procrastination with the submission of my visa application has me a little (and by a little, I mean REALLY) anxious. I still haven’t received confirmation of its approval. And when I get that, I still have to send my passport into the Swiss consulate in LA. If I don’t get the confirmation by Wednesday before 4:30 (or shall I say 16:30), this girl is traveling from LA to Lausanne all by herself! Which I’m prepared for. But I’m still praying. And nothing is impossible for God. So whether I get my visa in time or not, I will have learned a great lesson, and maybe, just maybe my procrastination will be cured! If it doesn’t get approved in time, I’ll get the added bonus of complete independence, making me much more confident to take on the continent of Europe by myself!
With that said, it’s time for me to be extremely proud of myself! My phone (and now computer) clock is set to 24-hour time, and I’m getting used to saying 15:45 instead of 3:45 (I still have to do addition – fifteen minus twelve is…3! Also, this 24-hour time is making me go to bed much earlier in the evening); my clothes are all set aside, albeit not all folded and packed, and Mom still has laundry to do (hehe thank you Mommy!); my two suitcases are at 74 pounds combined (can I get a whoop whoop?!), even though I still have a few more things to pack; my French is…on its way, but still needs some serious practicing; and my books are ordered – except for one, which I need to get to work on, whoops!
So, really, all I need are washed clothes, one more textbook, 24-hour time on my alarm clock (and, ideally, all of the clocks in the house), some new music for the plane ride over, my visa (important!!!!), and twenty seconds of courage.
I watched “We Bought a Zoo” with my family this weekend, and my mom keeps reminding me about the importance of those twenty seconds of courage – I’ll need it when traveling alone; when talking to the Swiss and French; and in many, many other situations. Like talking to strangers on the plane if I don’t get to go on the group flight. If I want this experience to be as groundbreaking as I’m hoping it will be, I can’t be afraid of making mistakes or getting lost – those are the moments that become the most memorable. So, Leigh, forget your reservations and break out of that box!
While I am so extremely psyched for this upcoming trip, my mind keeps wandering to several pitfalls: homesickness, familysickness, and friendsickness (yes, I know the latter two aren’t words, but they really ought to be! Why say, “I will miss my family” when you can fit it into one word?! Isn’t that what the Germans do? Only I’m not even completely sure, so…don’t quote me on that. Like I said, German is not very…how do I put this gently? Agreeable…for me, at least). Everyone keeps telling me that going abroad will be no different than going to California. With Facebook, I’ll still be able to keep in contact with my family and friends. My family is coming to Europe for three weeks over Christmas break. I only came home once last year for Christmas, so it’s almost exactly the same. Ahem. (This is where I prove them wrong! Even if it’s just a weak attempt…) I will be anywhere from 7-9 hours ahead of the people I love, depending on their time zone; my parents can’t just buy a ticket to see me if I’m super duper sick (of course my sister had to question the validity of my argument, since I most likely won’t be in much danger of getting sick in Lausanne, but I could break a leg on the slippery streets!!); though I will be surrounded by 67 other students, I am going to feel so alone and far away from everyone I am the closest with – I can’t text my girls from home or family, asking for advice or help or prayers or a phone call to help me feel better on a bad day; and let’s be honest, I am going to miss Pepperdine and Malibu with all of my heart – it’s already broken because I can’t visit my friends and freshman roommate, and everyone on campus is posting gorgeous pictures of the beach and the Malibu sunsets and campus. These all have me concerned, and already sad, admittedly.
Hold on a minute. There’s gotta be a bright side, though…right? Well, of course! Like I said earlier: I. Will. Be. Independent. Which I desperately need. This trip will break me out of my let’s-call-mommy-and-daddy-because-I-have-no-idea-what-the-heck-I-am-doing and I’m-just-too-darn-scared-to-try-by-myself comfortable boxes. I will get to know 67 amazing Pepperdine students insanely well and probably become lifelong friends with some of them. I will have adventures I’ve never even dreamed of having, because they were way too amazing to even get my hopes up. I will be able to take so many gorgeous pictures that I’ll have to print 500 of them and switch them out of my frames for the rest of my life!!!!! (Extremely excited for that!) I will be fluent in French by the time I arrive back in the U.S. Most importantly, my relationship with God is going to grow so much, and I know He will shape me to be a stronger Christian and person.
Whoa. That’s a lot of emotion. Another item on the checklist: prepare for mental breakdowns this week. The last Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in good ol’ Albuquerque coming up next! In the next 3 hours, to be exact. Let us close here, before any tears erupt, any ice cream is consumed, any sad chick flicks are watched, marking the beginning of breakdown no. 1.
Until next time,
P.S. Cross your fingers that my visa is approved soon!