Twenty-four. A mere twenty- four hours separates me from the trip of a lifetime. I honestly cannot believe the day has finally come. It seems like just yesterday I was turning in my study abroad application, and stacks of other paperwork along the way: medical forms, post-acceptance questionnaires, visa documents, etc, not to mention the slew of immunizations required to live in the rainforest. After a full year, these plans are finally coming into fruition. The mix of emotion is overwhelming. I don’t know how to feel, but it is undoubtedly a mix of anxiety, nervousness, and excitement.
The past two weeks leading up to the flight have been far from relaxing. Last week, I paid a special visit to Holy Cross to see friends and professors (had to have one last Kimball meal as well). No meal swipes, no room, and sleeping on my friend’s futon, I spent three days attempting to piece together my honors thesis for next year (to no avail), spending time with close friends, and tying up loose ends before my departure. I couldn’t help thinking about all of the events and opportunities I will be missing this semester. Despite a slight feeling of regret, I realized that this trip will be a life changing experience and an opportunity that I could never pass up.
This week, I spent my time visiting family and packing. The reminiscing and the constant “we’ll miss you” was a reminder of how much my family cares and takes interest in my affairs. On the other hand, packing quickly became a frustrating endeavor. Packing for study abroad is way beyond a challenging experience. Qantas Airlines allows a traveler two checked bags with total dimensions of 106 inches (should be a crime to allow so little packing space) . No single bag can be over sixty-two inches or weigh over fifty pounds. In terms of the carry on, the max size is forty-five inches and the max weight is fifteen pounds (my laptop weighs seven by itself)…After buying luggage three separate times and attempting to pack four days straight, everything fit! Somehow, some way my entire packing list made it into the three bags at the exact requirements. Seems too good to be true, but I’m not going to question it.
Now all that’s left is thirty hours of travel time to get from JFK to the School for Field Studies (SFS) center in Australia. Three plane rides, two layovers, and a bus ride later, I will be at my destination: Yungarburra, an hour outside Cairns. The SFS program runs from February 4th to May 9th with a five day mid semester break. Internet is spotty, so communication is limited. In all honesty, I am looking forward to forgoing technology and taking a break from the hustle and bustle of life at HC. That’s not to say I won’t be busy during my trip, but I am going to make it a point to enjoy my time away and reflect. Reflect not only on what I want to do in my final year at Holy Cross, but also on what I want to pursue in the years after graduation. I can only hope that my time in Australia will give me an inspiration or a revelation-esque moment during my stay as well as a passion for my career and thesis.
As my time in the States dwindles, I don’t like to say goodbye. The word has a sense of permanence. To all of my friends and family, I will see you later. To everyone at Holy Cross, good luck this semester (work hard and stay warm). I will miss all of you.