Before I leave by Benjamin Holschuh

Alright, first post of one of what should prove to be the most exciting experiences of my life.  I won’t sugarcoat it, I’m both ecstatic and petrified, but I know that once I get to my destination and settle in I’ll be fine.

The strangest thought for me right now is that I’m actually GOING TO JAPAN.  Even back when I first received my scholarship to go it just seemed like the trip was so far away.  Now that the reality of the experience is hitting me, the anticipation is becoming too much.  I almost wish I was already on the plane and on my way, but it looks like that will come soon enough.

I’m excited about a lot of things.  First of all I know there will be other students from OU at the university that I’m studying at, so they will know the ropes already and be able to help me out if I need it.  I’m also really excited about all the different things I’m going to be able to see and do there.  I hear from my program coordinator that the spring semester students don’t have as many planned weekend activities, so I should have plenty of time to travel Japan on my own.  There are so many things I want to see , and my only problem is going to be budgeting my time and money well enough to see the important ones.

But even with all the excitement building up to the trip, there are still plenty of things I’m nervous about too.  Japanese culture is radically different than the American culture I’m used to. I know it’s going to take some time to get used to, but that still doesn’t stop me from being afraid that I’ll mess up somehow.  I’m nervous about money, culture,  food, and just everything that you could possibly think of, but I also know that none of that is going to go away until I land and grow accustomed to it.  It’s for this reason I try not to think about it too much.

My parents are taking it better than I had expected.  While they still subtly try to convince me to stay home (“Now you know that if you’re too nervous or scared you don’t have to go!”), they still support me 100 percent.  They know it’s going to be hard for them to only talk to me once a week or so when I can get on Skype, but they also know that this is a once in a lifetime experience for me.  These next four months are going to be almost as hard on them as they will be on me!

All in all I can’t wait to finally arrive there and just be able to say “I’m in Japan”.  I’m looking forward to seeing old friends again (I have a couple of Japanese friends studying there that I met when they were studying abroad at OU), to making new friends, and to having so many wonderful memories to share that my friends and family get sick and tired of hearing me talk about them.  When I get on the plane tomorrow, the adventure is on.  I most certainly can’t wait.

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