I’ve got about a week to go until my departure date, and I think it’s just finally hitting me what I’ve going to be getting myself into for this next school year.
Last spring, when I first put this whole plan into action, the idea of spending an entire year in foreign countries remained abstract and tenuous. As an undergraduate at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, I always knew that I would spend some portion of my undergraduate time abroad. In the words of my dean, study abroad is “strongly suggested” and there are few better ways to enrich your study of international affairs than to actually go visit those foreign countries.
And so, after some soul-searching last spring, here’s the plan: For the fall semester, I will study in Alanya, Turkey, at the McGhee Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies. Then, in the spring, I’ll spend my semester at Villa le Balze in Fiesole, Italy.
As the days count down, I am ridiculously excited to begin this crazy year of travel. In all honesty, I feel slightly jittery and unprepared. I mean, I’ve got my passport and travel plans and background reading squared away, but the Type-A in me gets anxious with the idea that you can’t completely prepare for everything that living abroad might throw at you. In the meantime, I’m trying to quell that by reading all I can about life in Turkey before I actually arrive in little over a week.
I’ll write in greater detail about my plans for Turkey later on, but I thought this would be a good time to give a run-down about what I’ve been up to this summer, in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
The view from Healey Lawn, with Copley Hall in the background.
In May, I said goodbye to my beautiful city of Washington, D.C., for the whole next year. Oh Healey Lawn, I already miss you.
This summer, one of the important things for me was to spend time with my family and friends at home in Northern California. Since I go to school on the opposite coast––and would be going to school on the opposite side of the world––I truly cherished spending my time at home. Like getting to see this goofy guy:
Spotted: One reticent almost-middle schooler hiding in the clothing racks at Target.
He just started middle school, and while he’s often embarrassed by me, he’s the coolest kid I know. Case in point: At karaoke, he once told the employee that his name was “C-Dawg” and he was from South Africa before he belted out “God Bless America” to a crowd of Baby Boomer cruisegoers.
In June, my family took a trip to Alaska, where we stalked Sarah Palin’s house, landed in a ski plane on Mt. McKinley, took an 8-hour bus ride on a dirt road into Denali National Park, got devoured by mosquitoes, and met a handful of the gloriously colorful people who reside in our 49th state.
Bears! (We saw real ones in the wild too, but I don’t have a picture of those…)
Glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park
Jumping shots on glaciers
Travelin’ Alaskan style
Back in California, I lived for a good portion of the summer in Santa Cruz, Calif., where I taught SAT and college prep classes in Watsonville and Aptos for high school students through a really cool company called CollegeSpring. (Check them out!)
My daily walk to Pleasure Point
SAT vocab! Oh, the memories…
The pier in Capitola
Friday night races at the Ocean Speedway in Watsonville
The rest of my summer included waterskiing in Arkansas, visiting the location of the very first Walmart, interning for a legal-related start-up called MyLawsuit.com, and spending lots of time with my wonderful boyfriend Shawn.
Right now, it’s just a matter of taking care of the last details––you know, procrastinating on packing until the last minute, googling what actually is in a Turkish Delight, and daydreaming about where else I want to travel to during my fall break.