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Pre-departure anxiety, woo! (12 Days)

July 21, 2010

Sorry for the lack of activity around here. One reason for the silence is that since this is supposed to be a blog about Ecuador, it seems a little silly to write posts before I actually get to Ecuador. That brings me to a question, dear reader: since I originally made this to be a way for folks back home to keep in touch, should I still include “intellectual” posts like my last two? I’m a little conflicted, since on the one hand, I’d like to avoid getting into political arguments with friends and family who just want to stay connected while I’m gone. On the other, I’m personally far more interested in expanding my horizons and learning more about how this crazy world works. For that reason, I really enjoy discussions with people about things that matter, and I see a lot of potential discussion material coming out of this semester. Also, I’ve found that there’s no better way to discover the flaws in your thinking than somebody calling you on them. Anyhoo, if you have any inclination one way or the other, please to help me decide, kthx.

The other reason for the lack of hot air around here is that I am un poquito ocupado these days; I’ve been finishing up my research and volunteer work, trying to figure out what the heck I need to pack, studiously ignoring my reading packet, cramming for the future-determining test from Hell that I get to take next Thursday, and avoiding the ridiculous number of miscellaneous tasks I need to take care of at some point. Funny how leaving the country can make you perfectly aware of all the responsibilities you’ve been neglecting.

At least I’ve finally been able to wrap my mind around the fact that this is really happening. Right now I’d classify my emotional state as an equal-parts mixture of pure excitement and sheer terror. So in order to give a name to my anxieties, here are some goals that I really hope I’ll be able to accomplish:

1. Avoid being an ugly American.

2. Be able to communicate. I’ve been practicing my Spanish every chance I get, but still totally freeze up any time the conversation moves past “How are you?” I know, I know, this will get better with practice, but the first few weeks will be frustrating to the max.

3. Be a responsible adult. Still have major issues with this.

4. Be a respectful and grateful guest to my host family. This will include helping with chores and keeping my room clean. Still have major issues with this, too.

5. Be able to make the most of my time there. Because before I know it, I’ll be landing back in MSP, and it will be winter again.

6. Develop close friendships, and maintain them after I leave. I usually fail miserably at staying in touch with people, even with those who live in Minneapolis. I’m worried it will be way worse with a language and continent of separation.

7. Survive my 2500 mile Great Adventure in December:

eek.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Nick Wallin permalink
    July 22, 2010 1:38 PM

    I’d say you can make a compromise in one of two ways:
    1. Make another blog for the intellectual stuff, and link to posts there for people to look at (if they want). Or you can make the blog and just advertise it once here so interested people will just go there.
    2. Find out who’s interested (like me) and email them stuff. Not as interactive as the blog, but then you don’t need two blogs.

  2. Nick Wallin permalink
    July 22, 2010 1:52 PM

    Oh, *ahem*, I guess I should offer some helpful words as I’ve done the whole abroad thing before. To address your points:

    1. Don’t worry, you aren’t, and you won’t be.

    2. This wasn’t an issue for me, as they spoke English at the school I went to, but I guarantee you you’ll pick it up quickly. My friend came back from a study abroad in Argentina almost fluent! 😀

    3. You don’t need to worry about this now. Wait until after you graduate. The only thing you’ll have to do is respond to emails and manage the blog. Though let me tell you, this blog will be one of the hardest things to maintain EVER. If you have pics, put them up the first free moment you have (that you aren’t spending with friends). If you don’t, they will quickly back up and you won’t want to do it anymore. Seriously, you’ll be having way too much fun to waste your time keeping this up. But hey, give it a shot, I guess! 🙂

    4. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

    5. Yeah, this is a tough one. I totally crammed a bunch of stuff into the last couple weeks. The last month you’re there will fly by so fast… Make the most of weekends. Unless they say you’ll fail or something if you do, don’t be afraid to skip class on Fridays now and again. Make a list of everything you want to do (perhaps now) and knock something off every weekend or every other weekend. Then you won’t leave anything too late.

    6. To be honest, I don’t talk to anyone I was friends with abroad. This does sadden me somewhat, as some people do keep in touch with others. Don’t try and keep in contact with every single person you meet, but do at least make an effort to do so with a handful of people.

    7. That looks epic!

  3. July 22, 2010 2:52 PM

    That’s a good idea, Nick. Apparently you can have more than one blog with WordPress. Only problem, as you pointed out, is that this is going to be impossible to maintain as it is.

    Haha, how’d the whole “defer responsibility until graduation” thing work out for you?

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