I’ve envisioned this post for quite some time. The writing-from-the-airport post with all the last minute anticipation and excitement. Although, it is different this time. This time I’ve got an audience. It’s one thing to have other bloggers like your posts and maybe read some ramblings, but it is another thing entirely to have shared a website with your entire family, most of your friends and even a handful of professors. In the past I’ve written almost exclusively for myself and the little bundle of strangers I’ve never met that have come to follow me, but there were no expectations. And maybe it shouldn’t be any different. Maybe there shouldn’t be any pressure to have incredible, writable experiences. And maybe it’s not worth the worry. Maybe I’m dismissing the fact that I’m diving into a different culture that will inevitably be worthy of blog posts documenting the inexplicable, maybe it’ll come all too easily.
Now is the part where you say, “SERIOUSLY Shannon.” My train just left Newport News, leg #1 of this two-day journey, and the only thing I’m nervous about is whether or not I’ll have exciting adventures. Okay, typing that out helped. Maybe I’ll try and stick a few pictures in here to jazz up the anxious text, but until then here are the details for all those who have asked-
It’s Tuesday, September 3rd at 9am and the train just took off. I’ll get into DC around 1:30 this afternoon, with some time to kill before I need to be at Dulles. The lovely Karen Berlin (KB’s mom, she was my roommate last study abroad.. funny how these things come full circle) will graciously be chauffeuring me to the airport. Oddly enough, there didn’t seem to be any easy transport bw Union Station and Dulles. Let me know if you know any secrets. ANYHOW. I leave the country around 6:30pm tonight, fly to Dubai, wait 7hrs, fly to Colombo, Sri Lanka, land around 5am on Thursday (their time) and be safe and sound at the Sarvodaya Headquarters in Moratuwa a quick hour later.
In short, they’re 9.5hrs ahead of east coast time. Wednesday night your time I’ll be a jet lagged mess of mush in my new Sri Lankan home.
Until then however, I’ll be waiting. And pondering. On the several occasions I’ve caught a glimpse of my reflection and I couldn’t help but think, “who are YOU to be doing this??” I feel like a huge contrast of stereotypes and expectations- that I mostly don’t care about, but still think about. I’ve got this great hippie-style thrift-shop dress on with a mess of hair, but I’m using an ipad with a keyboard like I’m some coorporate exec. I say I’m “studying abroad” but nobody understands why that wouldn’t be in Europe. All my luggage is shiny and stamped with “speedo” (thank you 13 years of competitive swimming…) and yet I’m headed to a place where recreational “working out” doesn’t really exist. While I don’t hate my reflection, I do feel like it doesn’t portray who I am or what I’m doing. I feel like that girl in the metro window is just some gal going about her business nonchalantly, but the voice in my head is chirping with wonder and excitement about this new chapter in my life, in the exact moment that the page is turning.
This is a unique point in life, as Britney Spears once said… “I’m not a girl, but not yet a woman…” maybe that wasn’t what I was going for.. let me try again.
I’m twenty-one. For the only year in my life ever. I’m juggling the responsibilities and freedoms of adulthood with the energy and abilities of a college-kid, all in this window of time that allows me to study abroad and really challenge those folks that call university life a “four-year experience.”