I’ve finally written the first official blog post of this coming year, and it is going to be all about my leaving RDU to start me first semester abroad by traveling to Reykjavik, Iceland for 3 days. The picture above pretty much says almost everything I need to about leaving RDU and my family. I was 1. extremely sad and emotional about the entire situation, which is extremely rare for me, and did not want to leave my family. 2. I packed a lot and had a lot to haul with me across the ocean (but can you blame me, I’m going to be gone for a year).
Another highlight of my departure was that one of my best friends (pretty much in the entire world) named Meredith came to see me off! I’ve known Meredith since the beginning of freshmen year at Chapel Hill, we used to live on the same floor, we bonded tremendously throughout freshmen year, I was her debutante marshall, we continued to be best friends sophomore year, she left me for Sevilla, Spain during the second half of that year, and interned in D.C. for the entire summer so I didn’t get to see her and only got to Skype her sporadically. But she was sweet enough to see me off and give me one last hug (one of the best hugs I’ve ever gotten) before I left for a year. I’m going to miss her so much (and of course all my other friends from Chapel Hill) but the excitement I was feeling at that moment was so high that I couldn’t even think about it.
But easily the most difficult part of leaving the United States was leaving behind this motley crew that I get the privilege of calling family. My mom, my dad, and my sister are the pillars in my life that support everything I do, and I know that nothing I have accomplished or will be doing this year would have happened without all that they have taught me. At the airport there were many tears (and even that’s an understatement there legitimately could have been flooding) and it was easily the hardest goodbye I’ve ever had to say.
I hadn’t really thought about the gravity of what I was doing during the days leading up to my departure. I was so busy focusing on packing, repacking, getting all of my documents in order, calling my banks and credit cards, and all the other little things I had to accomplish before leaving that I didn’t realize the weight of my departure on both my life but also the lives of my family. Not physically seeing a person for a year is actually kind of a big deal. And the moment I got to the checkpoint where I go through security and my family has to stay and stand at the gate everything hit me. And it hit me hard. All the emotions I wasn’t feeling or was suppressing so I could be focused on what I had to finish overwhelmed me and the gravity of the situation crashed down upon me. I realized for the first time that I would be without them for a whole year. That I would be on my own. And I’m not going to lie there are times it has been hard, but I know how resilient I am. This year will be difficult, challenging in ways I’ve never experienced, and intimidating. However, I also know that this year is going to be full of adventures, meeting amazing new people, and an opportunity for me to grow and better myself. And because of this I’ve pushed the fear to the back of my mind and have decided to fully embrace this experience that almost nobody gets and make the most of it.