Packing, Panicking & Procrastinating, three words that describe the past two weeks of my life. As my internship came to a close, I found myself in an utter panic. I was leaving for Tunisia in two weeks and I was completely unprepared. To add to my panicked state was that fact that I was to have my wisdom teeth removed in two days. Thoughts of post-surgical infection crowded my mind.
Once I sat on my couch eating ice-cream and recovering, my mom felt the need to nag me about packing for Tunisia. But how could I pack for Tunisia when I had so much else going on? I needed to pack for this upcoming weekend first. My family was traveling to New Jersey to celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of my great-great uncle. It would be a blast to see everyone, but it was getting in the way of my preparations for my semester abroad.
It was not only that, it was also the books I had to read for my program before I left, the presentations I had yet to finish, my summer research project that I still needed to fine-tune, and my trip to West Point the weekend following my weekend in New Jersey. There was so much to think about I’ve barely had time to think about Tunisia at all.
In retrospect, maybe this is better. Study abroad is daunting and as I learned during my gap year, a lot harder than I expected. Yet, despite my last minute planning, I am ready for this experience. I have been captivated by the Middle East ever since I first set foot there in 2013. My grandmother and I traveled to Morocco for ten days and we had a blast. Traveling from city to city on crowded trains, drinking copious amounts of mint tea and meeting new friends, I knew I wanted to return to this land. Last summer, thanks to the generosity of many people, I was able to do so. I traveled to Israel and Palestine for six weeks and experienced so many wonderful moments and many heartbreaking moments as well. But this will be different. This time I will be living in the Middle East. I won’t be a tourist or a visitor, but for four months(four months that I’m sure will fly by) I will have the opportunity to immerse myself in this beautiful culture that I have come to love so much.
Regardless of whether or not I am fully prepared, tomorrow my journey will begin. I’ll fly out of Harrisburg, then to Detroit. From there I fly to Paris, arriving in Tunis around noon on Tuesday.
Thanks for reading and check back soon for updates! I’ll also be posting a picture a day on my instagram (https://instagram.com/hashope7/)so check that out if you have time.