Before the hop across the pond…
The moment I realized I was about to truly live in another country for roughly six months happened sitting in JFK Airport completely alone. I was on my phone texting my parents, (even though they had dropped me off 30 minutes prior) and I looked up to see my plane arriving nearby to an open gate. It really hit me that I was going to be an individual with an infinite amount of paths in front of me the second I stepped onto that plane. It really did not feel real then and it still doesn’t feel real now.
Packing was the hardest thing to do for me. Living in another country for five months should require a lot of clothing, and for a fashion fanatic like me, it was impossible for me to fit my entire wardrobe in only two suitcases! I managed to pack a ridiculous amount of clothing and around six pairs of shoes which I definitely did not need. There were so many little things I didn’t realize I was going to need until I needed to do them. Simple things like a pair of scissors, a comb but not a brush and an essential being a pair of tweezers; were all necessities I didn’t realize were so crucial in my everyday life.
I also was not sitting around waiting to take off and get completely adjusted while still at home. The weeks leading up to me leaving, I was constantly going out with my friends, shopping and hanging with family rather than making lists and organizing myself. I wasn’t sure if I was in denial that I was leaving or rather that I just didn’t realize how much time had passed over winter break until suddenly I was waking up in a flat in London. I think that it is important to speak to yourself and remind yourself how much time you have left until you leave but to not let any anxieties or stress build up while you are waiting. In order for me to fully appreciate my time left at home, I had to do things that made it feel like I wasn’t leaving. Doing my regular shenanigans was totally my way of adjusting to another country/ the leaving period of the home. I knew I was going to miss my family and New Paltz, but I didn’t feel it was crucial for me to make a big deal of me leaving for so long. I didn’t want it to be a big deal because that would create some type of artificial pressure. I wanted to live my life here like any trip or experience. I said goodbye to my friends and family in a way that wasn’t passive but wasn’t over the top and I think that was one of the best things I could have done for myself in terms of adjusting or having any feelings of homesickness.