The Merriest Christmas

I couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere to write—my dog is fast asleep on my bed (and dreaming—muted barking and howls as she chases imaginary hounds), thunder accompanies a torrent of rain outside my window, and my (tidier than normal!) room is especially cozy this late Christmas evening.

My mother and I spent a couple hours organizing (I tossed things out of my drawers as I organized Christmas gifts and picked out items to pack for France; she threw out old towels and replaced them with the ones wrapped in the “to all of us, from all of us” package that was under the tree this morning), and as I found trinkets from my childhood tucked in the back corners of my sock drawer, I realized how far I’ve come since the days of glitter projects and Lip Smackers (both of which I discovered in my sifting tonight).

It was only three years ago I mused about college—where I would go, who I would be, what I would do—and how I would be (of course..!) wilding successful, making brilliant grades and doing brilliant things with brilliant people. And here I am, a junior in college, preparing for a seven-month venture to a country I’ve never entered.

It’s a little scary.

I can certainly attest to the brilliant people (college has brought me some of the best!) but I sure hope this next seven months brings brilliant things my way. I am finally getting the opportunity to travel in a way that I never have before and to immerse myself in a culture that is wholly unfamiliar to me. 

And I’m so excited about it! But the nervousness is starting to seep in as I decide how many scarves to pack, which shoes are most practical, how many shirts are too many shirts. I have moments where I think maybe I should have stayed in my apartment and went to Georgia State for spring semester—maybe this study abroad thing was too risky. But my desire to travel and learn overpowers that feeling every time. And as I think about all the anxiousness I will feel stepping off that plane to meet my host family, I remember how much I will soak in, how many friends I will make, how much fun I’ll have. And I think it’s actually going to be more than okay—it’s going to be brilliant.

My family gave me the most fantastically practically gifts—Lush products (okay, okay, maybe that is less practical—but could we argue necessary?), make-up, a massive bottle of Ibuprofen. I couldn’t be more thankful for such a supportive family. They are sad to see me go for so long, but happy to see me doing something this exciting. And how fantastic is that?

It has been a very merry Christmas, indeed.

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