Across the Pond in 16 Days

It is now just after midnight on August 22. There is nothing particularly interesting about today – in fact, I’ll probably just do laundry, read a book, and walk my two dogs. But today IS important, because it is also the day I start preparing to go to Edinburgh.

Before I go any further, it’s probably best for you to know a bit about me. Up until last year, I had NEVER been off the East Coast of the United States (last summer, I made it as far as Chicago). In fact, most of my life has been spent in the lovely state of Virginia. In 2010, though, I decided it was time for a change. I applied to Cornell University in upstate New York and, amazingly, I got in! Come fall 2011 I was on my way to Ithaca.

I know that doesn’t seem like a whole lot of change, but trust me, it is. I had been surrounded by the same people all my life, and suddenly I knew no one. I had to start completely fresh. If that weren’t enough pressure, my classes were on a completely different level from what I’d been taking in high school. Even the atmosphere of Ithaca is different – far less humid and (for a Virginian) unnaturally cold – even the gorgeous waterfalls I’d fallen in love with froze! How was I supposed to survive that?

Yet I did, and I found that I loved the experience. Part of why I went to Cornell was because I was seeking something different. Now I’m doing it again. After having never been outside of the United States, I’m going to Edinburgh, Scotland… for 9 months. This isn’t just a new state – it’s a new country, with a very different culture. That both thrills and terrifies me. I get to learn about history and archaeology from an entirely new perspective, all the while immersing myself in Scottish culture. Who wouldn’t love that?! But at the same time… what if I make a fool of myself, unwittingly playing the part of the ignorant American? What if I end up not liking it there? What if something happens to my family and I can’t get back? What if I forget to pack something important, like underwear?

But I guess it’s a bit early to start worrying. Today is just another day, after all.