On Friday, I was running through possible subjects for my two-month blog post as I fed the horses, and I came to the conclusion that I should get into the habit of posting weekly before I leave. That’s when the reality of two months sunk in—two months times four weeks a month . . . surely I had more than eight weeks left before leaving!
As it turns out, I have nine weeks to go, and the weekend has given me enough processing time to come to terms with that reality. But for most of Friday, my head was spinning. How will I get everything done before I go? I haven’t even started on my to-do list! What if I can’t work enough? What if I can’t get into shape like I want to? I can’t even speak French as well as I think I can . . . what if I fall on my face on day one and can’t get back up? How am I going to leave everyone here? What about my horse? I don’t have anyone to lease her, and my saddle still hasn’t sold! I hardly have any time with friends left! I hardly have any time at my church left! I hate saying goodbye, and there are going to be so many goodbyes . . .
I like to think of time cyclically. Life has an ebb and flow to it, and I don’t just mean the seasons. I find that emotionally, spiritually, and even physically I come to similar places in a rhythmic fashion, though of course each time I encounter that old obstacle or a familiar happiness, I’m a slightly different person. The waves of time change us. It’s like I’m walking on a spiral staircase, able to look down at who I was or up at who I might become. Yet in this case, my departure date feels so . . . definitive. All at once, it’s a death and a birth, a departure from one life and an entry into another. Who will I become? How will I respond to the challenges? To the joy? When I come back, will I read these words I’m writing now and recognize the person I was before study abroad? This is not a vacation—I’m going to live a completely different life for a year. It’s scary mostly because it’s so irreversible.
I’m still excited; I’m still terrified. I have no idea where this will lead, but I know it will be an incredible journey. And it’s going to start in just nine weeks!