For the last three weeks, I have been a walking list. Scratch that, I have been a list within a list

After summer school ended in early August, I joined my parents in California where my sole goal was to prepare for my trip abroad (and see my parents of course). From the first day I landed, my mother and I mapped out what we would do each week to prepare for my trip.

            My first list looked something like this:

                        Get wisdom teeth pulled

                        Get contact lenses

                        Get a year’s supply of my prescription medicine 

                        Get vaccines

                        Organize paper work 

                        Study Arabic

                        Purchase clothing

This simple list evolved into a second list, then a third. At one point I had at least 9 different lists that explicitly detailed what I needed to accomplish to achieve the first list.

For example, my clothing list became an ordeal. First off, I have to always keep in mind I can only carry fifty pounds. Secondly, because I have no intention in returning to the United States, I have to pack for both Jordan and London. Those climates and social norms are radically different from each other. Consequently, finding clothes that work for both regions proved to be challenging.

Really, all of this just meant for my last couple of weeks in the US, I’ve been running around Bakersfield trying to complete everything before August 31st.

Well its 1:50 AM on AugPre-Departureust 31st and my overweight bags are packed, my paperwork is in order, and all I have left to do is begin my journey to Amman in 4 hours. As I stare at all my lists, double-checking to make sure I didn’t miss any task, I realize this has to be the first time in the past three weeks where I can just sit and process what is about to happen.

And I realize I’m still completely nervous.

In my previous blog post, I had mentioned how my reservations about my future trip were assuaged by my conversations with students studying abroad at Georgetown. However, in these last few moments at my parent’s home, these concerns have come roaring back. I have noticed that though I am physically prepared for my journey, I am not mentally ready, and I only have 3 hours left.

The question then becomes, “What’s a girl to do?”

Writing this post certainly worked to calm me down. It has allowed me to articulate my feelings and think of ways to counteract my nerves. For instance, I think I really should just embrace the butterflies in my stomach. There is nothing I can do for the anxiety except, accept it. Plus, I cannot possibly be the only student who is nervous. Once I meet up with my classmates at the JFK airport, I am sure I can speak with someone who is also nervous.

My advice to any future travelers: don’t try to downplay or ignore your fears. Instead, confront them and embrace them.


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