Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pre-trip anxiety

The time between now and my departure on Jan. 1 is infinitely shortening, and I feel a (not uncommon, I hope) mixture of excitement and worry. On one hand, I will be living in France and exploring Europe, something I've always, always wanted to do, more than typed-up words can express. On the other, I will be in a country whose first native language is not my own and where there is a distinct lack of all my close friends and family. What if I don't make friends? What if I can't remember the word for hairdryer? (Actually, I don't even know the word for hairdryer to begin with.)

I was really nervous about that, especially considering I'm the only one going on my program, possibly because of the tumbling economy, possibly because Geneseo's programs are small anyway and it just happens I was the only one who felt like gallivanting in the south of France this particular time around. So, there aren't even other college students I can forge a friendship with based on our common study abroad program. But Montpellier is full of other students, I hear. The friends will come, people say. That is some comfort.

And furthermore, I was thinking about my worries and I feel like some of them might be rooted in that strange phenomenon of actually doing what you set out to do. Because so many times I have thought up trips in my head, planned out destinations, looked on maps for places to go and adventures that lay somewhere else. I rarely go through with a set plan of action, though, whether it be from lack of funds to an absence of travel companions or my own disappearing motivation to follow through.

But now, by some miraculous order of the universe, I sat through all the paperwork and money issues and here I am, with a student visa and a plane ticket. And when I consider all the things I could be worried about now, it doesn't compare with how unquestionably pumped I am for this trip.

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