Sunday, December 26, 2010

Neither Here nor There

I was originally going to just talk about how I don't really have any strong opinions that need to be voiced at the moment, and describe my complete 'meh' state, but then I spent 2 seconds thinking about the title of this post, and realised I actually DO have something to talk about, which quite conveniently relates to the title.

That would be my feelings on my upcoming exchange. I'm actually going to be in Austria for most of next year. I arrive in Austria on the 22nd of January and am staying for 12 months (take a few days).

Most people who I talk to about it will initiate this conversation;
Person: So you're spending a year in Germany? That's exciting!
Me: Austria, and yeah it is! I'm super pumped.
Person: You must be scared, right?
Me: Yeah sometimes, but most of the time I'm just too stoked to be scared.
Person: That's so brave of you. I could never do that kind of thing.
Me: Well I guess I don't really see it as brave. I mean, I don't think it counts as brave if you're choosing to go and you're super happy about going.
Person: And where are you going in Germany?
Me: Austria.
Person: Austria. Sorry.
Me: I'm going to a town of about 4000, maybe 5000 people, in the South-East of Austria. So I'll be near the Hungarian/Slovenian border.
Person: How nice. It must be cold there. So are you learning the language?
Me: Yes, I have been taking lessons with some locals who speak like a bajillion languages, including German.
Person: Aw well that's great. You'll have just the best time.
Me: Mmm I'm really looking forward to it.

Then they sort of stand there for a bit, just making more comments like 'it'll be really different' and 'you'll learn so much' and 'it will be a fantastic trip' etc etc.

Which it will be. I know I'm going to be having the time of my life and it's a dream come true, but then at the same time. I am scared.

I've lived in the same town for close to 13 years now. I went to the same school for the past 11 years. I stayed super tight friends with my best friend throughout those 11 years. The longest I have been away from home has been about 2 weeks, and even then I've always had a family member with me. I am not bilingual. English is the only language I speak fluently and can easily maintain a conversation in. Going to a foreign country for 12 months where they speak a different language and staying with people I've never met before is a little intimidating.

The 'neither here nor there' stems from this weird splitting of myself. I really want to go on this exchange. I've been excited about it for so long, and I can't think of anything I've done that's crazier. I get to meet new people, learn a new language, travel to places I've dreamed of going for most of my life, and have an AWESOME year! I'm going to be living with people I've never met before, learning about their lives and having a whole new family to belong to. Making friends with people who have been bilingual their whole life who can teach me about their country and themselves, and show me a new side to the world. Getting involved in a Rotary club and being part of an entirely different community. Going on crazy adventures and doing stuff that most people would never get to do. Seeing a side of Austria that most people would never get to see. Going to a new school where I'll learn the new language, and learn IN the new language. Seeing beautiful scenery and being so much closer to God through this different side of life for me. And that's just the beginning.

At the same time, I'm leaving everything. You know, except for some necessary things like clothes. Other than that, I'm going to be basically on my own. Of course, I have support networks, and I've been talking to some of the people who I'll be meeting when I get there. But thinking about it, it's ultimately just going to be me and God.  And that scares the pants off me. I get moments when I think about leaving everything behind for a year of solid amazing and I whimper and cry.

I think "I can't do this. I'm not a strong enough person. I'm not independent enough. I just can't do this."

Because it's not as if life is going to wait for me either. I'm going to leave, and live life over there, but everyone back home has a life as well. I'm not everyone's ONLY friend. I'm not the reason people spend time together. People will keep having fun without me. There will be parties, and hangouts, and movie nights, and strains on relationships, and stronger relationships formed. And it will all happen without me there. I'm going to miss a lot. I'm not going to be able to be there for people. I wont have my own blood related family to be like 'meh' around. I wont have the smell of Australia's outdoors. Or have a beach an hour away. The closest beach is 3 hours drive away, and is in Italy. I'll have to be constantly thinking and translating words in my head. I wont be given many chances to go outside in a summer dress. I'll be doing a year of school work, but in another language. I'll have to work twice as hard, and even harder towards the end of the year if I want to go straight into year 12. I'm going to have to MAKE friends. I wont just have people who naturally know me. It's going to be really, really different.

In that way, I'm desperate to go, but also desperate to stay. Part of me wishes there were a bridge point. A place where I can have both. If I could just freeze Australia for a year, and come back casually. But it's not like that. It never is. I also want to just leave already. I know things are going to change, but I also know this is going to be like an explosion of wonder and fantasticness everywhere, and I just wish it were my departure day already.

Probably better if I just make the most of my time left here, and make the most of my time over there. After all, what else is there to do?

Clare
xoxo

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