I have been hesitating to write this post because I planned to have so many things off my plate before it came time to leave which, as it turns out, are still there. I head out in six days. There are so many things I am looking forward to – visiting a friend in Wales en route to Switzerland, the program itself, and a trip with my partner afterwards through Geneva and down to Rome. I am looking forward to getting to know the other participants better and I know that Dean DePauw has planned some excellent meals. In Wales, Paul has managed to arrange for us to see a medieval ship. Christjahn and I will walk across Liechtenstein and up Monte Testaccio in Rome (or as I like to call it, Trash Mountain)*.
I am also scared. I was supposed to have defended my thesis nearly two weeks ago so that this would be a stress free victory lap. I planned to brush up on my German so I can get through a sentence without accidentally switching over to Swahili, bargain hunt for a better luggage bag, get some rest, and start a summer job at a local catering business to support myself over the summer. I did start the job, but due to a few surprises and a bit of poor communication I am also working on my thesis. I won’t have the spare time my committee would like for me to use to work in Europe, so I know that my travel will evoke as much guilt as joy. I am worried that I won’t be able to make the most out of the Global Perspectives Program. I am afraid that my guilt will pass on to my partner and make the trip which was supposed to celebrate our graduations worse. On the eve of departure, less than a week to go, I have not packed. Six days out from a month abroad, I am sick for the third time in two weeks. On the eve of departure, I am sitting down to work for the evening having recently gotten off a shift at my summer job, not practicing German or spending time with my family.
I tried to think of a way to talk about what I was excited about and ignore the other parts of my life to make a more positive post today. I think that would be dishonest and I am sure some of my soon-to-be traveling companions are also experiencing fears and disappointments in the days leading up to our program. To those people, I feel you. Let’s try to crank out some good work before we go so we can learn from and enjoy this opportunity to the fullest. Let us eat raclette, meet new colleagues, and see mountains which may well put our Appalachians to shame.
*It should be noted that these are my destination highlights and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my traveling companion who will make sure we see more classic destinations on our trip, too