It’s weird to comprehend that in a matter of days, I will be moving to England. For months, “studying abroad” has functioned as a distant conversation topic to help me appear interesting at social events. People could ask if I was excited to go, and I could say yes, and they could say “you’re going to have so much fun,” and I could reply “Yeah, I can hardly believe it.” And I couldn’t. And I still hardly can.
I got accepted into APUs Oxford program about 10 months ago. Rarely, if ever, do I actually plan things out that far in advance. Likely, I wouldn’t have for this, but I had to because Spring applications were due at the same time as Fall applications. I didn’t look at my application paperwork until a week before it was due. I didn’t get any of my reference papers turned in until a few hours before they were due. I didn’t get my transfer inquiry forms turned in until months after that. Yet somehow, despite my tendency to put things off, I got everything turned in, I got accepted to a internationally acclaimed university, and I will be spending four months of my life in a country I’ve only really witnessed through novels and films. I think Amanda Palmer’s Fraud Police will certainly be knocking on my door sometime soon.
I am going to Oxford. Even as I type it, I feel like I’m narrating someone else’s life.
Yes, Random Kristy will be going to Oxford in six months.
Yes, Random Kristy will be going to Oxford in three months.
Yes, Random Kristy will be going to Oxford in two weeks.
Yes, Random Kristy will be going to Oxford in four days.
The fact that in four days I will be leaving everything I know (family, friends, culture, education system, currency, and on and on and on) for something new makes it difficult for me to distance myself like I have been for the past year. It’s not Random Kristy who will be getting on a plane in roughly 100 hours. It’s me.
That’s certainly something to take note of. Right now, it’s absolutely terrifying to me to leave the comfort of my Southern Californian life and throw myself into a new situation. I’m not adventurous. I’m not a thrill-seeker. I like normalcy and routine and being able use my smart phone to answer difficult questions.
Of course, of course I’m excited to go to England. I am excited to experience a real winter and to travel around Europe and to study The Brontës closely and to watch film adaptations of classic novels. But my excitement is vague. It’s a tarp just barely covering the vast array of detailed fears and expectations and unknowns I have for this upcoming semester. My excitement is Random Kristy’s, not Me Kristy’s. These days, Me Kristy seems to stay awake at night wondering how on earth she’s going to handle 40 degree weather and exchange rates and intellectually challenging courses.
I wish I was only excited. I wish my nerves were dainty and overshadowed by wanderlust. Truth is, I’m not quite there yet. I’m overwhelmed and scared and not quite sure what this semester will bring.
But I know that this semester will teach me more that I could ever learn from the confines of my familiar life in Azusa or Fullerton. I know the situations that terrify me most seem always to grow me in the most cliché and wonderful of ways.
So here’s to hoping that–like time, or my lack of it–my excitement will become overwhelmingly clear to me sometime soon. Here’s to trusting the unknown to change my life in spectacular (or unspectacular) ways that will make Future Kristy shake her head and smile and say, “If only she knew the great things to come.”