Predeparture Fears

Sarah Keizer
German and Tourism & Travel
Bonn University, Germany
Spring Semester 2017

I am a worrywart. I need things to worry about in order to function; it doesn’t mean it’s healthy, but it’s just the way it is. Ever since I realized that I was accepted to study in Bonn, Germany for a semester, I did not immediately celebrate. I stressed over money, how my boyfriend of five years (now fiance) would react to my absence, luggage, etc. Instead of being over-the-moon like I expected, I was absolutely miserable. This is a mistake came through my mind more than once. What was I thinking? The people that care about me were more excited for me than I was. Every “Wow, congratulations!” I got, I supplemented with a “Yeah, but…”

For the next two months I was a madwoman, cutting all the red tape I could as fast as I could, but somehow always finding something else to add to my checklist of doom. My carry on has to be under 23 kg, I have to stay under 16 credits, I need to get a physical as soon as possible . . . After completing one task, two more would take its place.

I kept all this inside. How would I sound when I told people that this trip I’ve talking about for way too long was starting to give me anxiety? Many people don’t get opportunities like this. A year ago, I was telling myself I am independent. I can do this on my own. I won’t miss my family too much, it’s only five months. But wanting to be independent doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help once in awhile, and some people simply have more experience with travelling than I do. I am not going to live in different country to prove my autonomy, I am going to make cultural connections, to improve my communication. My family came through for me, helping in what ways they could, subsequently lifting a weight off my chest.

As the date of my departure approaches and my checklist diminishes, I’ve come to the realization that now there’s nothing to distract me from the fact that I’m going to miss my family and friends like crazy. I would have rather worried about things like financial aid and getting through the airport than think about being alone for five months. It’s like the time my brother shot himself in the foot with a pellet gun after getting a tooth pulled; one type of pain was more bearable to him than the other. But just because it’s more bearable doesn’t mean it’s healthier, and every single one of my friends and family are under the consensus that my fear of homesickness, though it will be hard for all of us, is healthy. Not only that, but I’m being stupid if I think that that should hold me back from potentially one of the best experiences of my life.

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