It was 7 o’clock on a Monday morning in mid September and I was still half asleep when I got the email that would confirm my placement for my semester abroad. Imagine me, standing in my bare feet and sleep wrinkled pajamas with hair sticking in all directions and a major life changing notification, almost a month sooner than expected, on a screen in my hand. I was not at all prepared. But now I am! January 1st, 2018 marks the beginning of a new year, but also the beginning of my semester abroad studying at The University of Jyvaskyla in Jyvaskyla, Finland. The morning of the first, I will be dragging myself, my luggage, and my family to the airport where we will say our so-longs and see-you-later’s. BUT, I still have one more week to prepare for my semester in Finland and I will be spending every waking moment making packing lists, ordering last minute necessities on Amazon (woo two day shipping), and enjoying my last few days with my cat, oh and my family.
I have been asked by many people about how I am feeling about my departure and I guess I don’t have a good answer, because it’s not that simple. There were emotions at every stage of preparation for this semester. There was frustration and confusion while trying to apply to schools in the dead of summer when no one was in their office and the average email response time was a week. There was relief when I finally submitted my application. Then back to frustration and confusion when I got placed at my third choice school which turned to satisfaction that I even had a placement and then excitement when I could wrap my mind around Finland and all of the wonderful things about it. Then came the “I’m over my head” stage with endless emails of information about housing contracts, bank accounts, health insurance, and transportation. It was exciting to travel to New York for a few days with my mom to apply for my residence permit but I was soon struck with panic yet again when the Finnish Consulate told me some of my documents would need revision. And don’t even get me started on my course approval forms, that was a nightmare. But now, all of that is in the past, and soon the life I know and the places I call home will be as well.
With everything I have stressed over, planned for, and dreamed of only being a week away, all I can do is wait. I will enjoy being home while it lasts.