Often before going on a trip overseas, people tell me, "You're so brave for traveling and going so far away from home!!" When people tell me this, I think, "Me? Brave? If only they knew what was taking place inside of my head right now!"
Traveling is exciting. Adventures are fun. But...I find them to be completely nerve-wrecking before I leave and my mind goes into hyper-active mode. In fact, it's in hyper-active mode right now as I write this blog entry at 2:30 in the morning. I can't sleep, even though I know that I have plans to meet two friends at Starbucks in the morning.
Usually, at some point before a trip, I think to myself, "Am I crazy? What am I doing?" But - this is normal for me. My mind freaks out. The stress of leaving home invades my brain.
If I come across as brave to some of you, here's a secret fact: I don't feel brave. At least, not to today. Not tonight. Tonight I am thinking of all that I have left to do...Go to physical therapy, email or call certain friends, call the bank to tell them I'm leaving the country, do my laundry, pack, clean my room, say goodbye to friends and family....etc, etc, etc.
Out of that list, I think the "goodbyes" are what I find most stressful. I know I'll be back. In fact, I'm only going to be gone for 6 months...Just half a year! Skype will be available so I can talk to my family and friends - while looking them straight into their pixelated faces. But saying "goodbye" and "see you later"? It's always the worst and hardest part of leaving...Especially when a two-year-old is involved. It is also hard when I know that there are people close to me who are struggling with the idea with me leaving...Again. This part is the part that I haven't gotten use to yet. A lot can happen in 6 months, and I will miss spending time with people in person - especially my family.
Then I think about things that may come up. Issues range from something (that is technically not-as-major in life) like my fear of forgetting the all of the ASL I've learned in the last year. Maybe it's not a major thing in the average life, but retaining what I have learned in ASL is more important to me than I can explain.
The list then continues in more serious issues. What if I leave, and dad gets really sick again and has to be hospitalized? Or his life is threatened by another illness? What if something else happens to my family while I am gone?? What if I injure my ankle (even more) while I am away, or end up hospitalized again like I did in Norway?
Behind my "brave face" is a nervous mind.
However...Did I ever tell you all that I almost dropped out of going to London?? (I guess that's a blog entry for another day.) I almost dropped out, but I didn't. I went. I had fears, stressors, and a hyper-active brain before I went there too. And you know what? My time in London turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life - if not the very best!
As prepare to leave for Germany, I have to reroute my brain and my thought patterns.
If I leave without accomplishing my to do list, it'll be okay. What's done is done, and what's not isn't. If I didn't get to something on my list before leaving, it probably wasn't that important.
When it comes to ASL?? ASL is something I have become deeply passionate about and want to continue to pursue learning. It's going to take a lot of dedication retain what I currently know while I'm in another country, but I can do it! Just because I'm leaving doesn't mean I can't practice on my own and with friends on Skype.
My dad may get really sick again. He may not. His health has been a concern for a while now, and at least I am somewhat mentally prepared if he does get ill. Some family emergency may come up, but we haven't had one in a while. I may get injured or get sick while I'm overseas but that's okay too. There are well-trained doctors for situations like that - and interpreters if needed. And my Norway situation? That was a one time, weird illness, that is unrelated to my overall health.
Nervousness might be invading my mind...but I think that's normal. I think it's expected - at least for me. There's a lot of unknown territory in life - especially when going overseas. I'm about to go for an adventure...An adventure full of unfamiliar people, cultures, experiences, and language....Not to mention the unfamiliar sights, tastes, and sounds. It will also be an adventure filled with fun, new friends, laughter, learning, and great, life-changing, memories.
God taught me a lot when I was in London. He's taught me a lot when I've gone to Japan, Spain, and when I went to Welch College in Nashville, TN, for a year. I'm eager to see what I can learn while in Germany!
When my mind goes into the nervous, hyper-active, mindset I remind myself of how excited I am. I'm excited to see what God has to show me and teach me while I am away. It will be fun learning about a new culture and meeting new friends. Also? I remind myself that the unknown is okay! That's what makes life fun. Life would be way too boring if I knew everything that was to come my way.
I also realize people are praying for me around the world - and this is more encouraging than I can fully express!
I'm blessed to have such a great opportunity to go to Germany. I know God has this as a part of my life's story for a reason - there's no doubt about it! My excitement, love for adventure, and knowing God has it all under control completely outweighs any stressors, freak-out moments, and fears I may have.
While my mind may be in hyper-active mode and may be all over the place, I know God has a plan. He is calm, He is strong. He is confident. He knows things that I don't know and I'm never alone. I'm glad that no matter where my brain and emotions are, God is stable.
When I lack the feeling of bravery, I trust God.
The Travelin' Chick,