One month to go!

Here we go.

I can’t say I ever expected I’d be in this position exactly. I don’t mean it in a bad way, I just honestly never thought I’d be this lucky. People always ask me if I’m feeling afraid or apprehensive or regretful, and my only answer is no. Of course not. I’ve had the wanderlust since I was… I don’t even know how old. I’d go into the forest and pretend I’d travelled to a distant land. Now, I know it’s not quite the same thing, but I’d always been eager to explore and see and learn. I was never afraid. I don’t even know exactly why, I’m just not.

The way I see it, I could not be luckier. I am the luckiest kid in the whole world. And I cannot wait for what awaits me. But before I get ahead of myself, I guess I should explain exactly what kind of a position I’m in. So, let’s rewind to about 10 months ago, when this whole crazy whirlwind of amazingness began:

A few years ago, a friend of mine went on this amazing year-long trip to Switzerland. I remember all of a sudden feeling this whole world of opportunity open up when she told me about how she had done a Rotary exchange and the experiences she’d had and the friends she made (and the chocolate, like, seriously). And for a moment, I knew. I knew that was what I was going to do. I didn’t even tell anyone because I had a few years to think about it, as I wanted to wait until I graduated high school, but something about it just felt right. Even then.

Fast forward to about ten months ago, and imagine me running into my school to grab an application and filling it out like a madman. I eagerly handed it in and waited for a call. Finally, I got a call asking me to attend an interview. So I got all dressed up and went to my interview. I don’t remember a word I said, but all I remember was not trying to be fake or sugar-coating anything. I was going to be exactly who I was and if they thought I wasn’t right for exchange, then that was probably a good thing because they would have most likely been right. I didn’t want to be fake and please them, only to find out I wasn’t a good fit for this. They just want us to be happy. Luckily, the interview went well and a week later I got another call asking me to attend the district interviews. At this stage, we had to fill out huge formal applications, get tests and physicals, and ask for references and transcripts. It was quite serious, but I wasn’t stressed. I figured if it was right, it would happen. Obviously I would be incredibly sad if I didn’t get it, but maybe it would have been exactly what the other person needed. Either way, even the interview would have been a great experience! When the day came, I had actually come down with a really bad flu and was slightly delirious from all the medication and my fever. I should have been in bed seeing as it was also winter and freezing, but nothing was going to stop me! Something must have been working in my favour that day because I ended up being the last of the day, so my interviewers were exhausted. Together, we all were really relaxed (although I may have not made much sense) and it ended up going really well! About a month later, I got a call and I really had no idea what to expect from the other end. But then the Rotarian spoke and she told me: it was me. I did it. I was going on exchange to Italy!

After that, it’s a whirlwind. I mean, with school and other things, ten months just flew by right in front of my eyes before I even had time to blink. Along the way I found out where I’ll be living and what my host families are like, and I made it through the long and stressful process of obtaining a visa. And now there is a month left. A month. And it will be the slowest month of my life, but I know that I want to fill it with as many memories as I can. I want to spend it with my family and friends, seeing as much of them as I can and having as much fun with them as I can. I know it’s really not a goodbye, it’s only a year. So it’s a “see you soon”, or, “Ci vediamo”, as the Italians would say. The truth is, I could not be happier. I am so overwhelmingly excited I actually just sat on the couch and cried from happiness last night. I don’t even know why. I was watching Mantracker. Anyways, I just cannot thank everyone enough for their support and I know this will be the best year of my life so far.

It just feels right. 🙂

-L

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