With less than twenty-four hours separating me from my Belgian journey, the reality of the situation is definitely setting in. A year (well, ten months anyway) in Europe will be the longest time I have spent away from home by far. Away from friends and family, away from home and school, away from familiarities and comforts. However, the anxiety that a trip like this brings is accompanied by an equal if not more powerful surge of excitement.
Packed luggage sitting on the living room floor is as sure a sign of my approaching departure as any trip to the Belgian consulate, or visa application form, or roommate selection pamphlet—and a much more realistic one. Every t-shirt has been carefully rolled to guarantee minimal space consumption, socks and underwear have been jammed into sneakers, and toothpaste and shampoo have been safely stowed in zip lock bags to ensure a spill-free suitcase environment.
Now that all the running around and packing and last minute purchases are all coming to an end, I am really beginning to think about what a year in Belgium will bring. There will be trips to bordering countries such as France, Lichtenstein, Germany, Holland and Luxembourg. There will be trips to much farther borders like Italy and perhaps Spain and a trip across the English Channel. Belgium also offers amazing opportunities to travel within its borders to cities like Brussels, Antwerp, and Brugge. So far in my life I have had the opportunity to travel to four different countries. Now, in the span of ten months I will have the ability to more than double that number.
This time tomorrow I will be a world away. I will be beginning a new journey with new friends in new places. Although I will certainly miss the people and places that I’ll leave behind I look forward to the opportunity that has been placed before me. I hope to experience and learn new things during a time in my life that I am growing as an individual and getting to know the person I want to be.
See you in Belgium!!!!!