I put in my $500 deposit today. I'm amazed. That's $500 I can't get back. This makes this even more real. I will admit that I am still in shock. I still cannot begin to process the fact that, in less than five months, I will be boarding the plane to Nairobi, the city on the other side of the world. It absolutely blows my mind.
I'm processing through a lot of things. The only time I had left the U.S., I was eighteen and I had gone to Europe for two weeks, to sing and sight see. Two weeks in four different countries, three of which I stayed in for two days at a time and of course, I never was in the same city for more than a day. This is different. I'll be living in one city (with some travel) for four months.
I know I'll see poverty. I know I'll experience culture shock. I know that men and women have different expectations. I know there's political and ethnic tension. I know that the pictures I've seen (on the Internet, from friends) are beautiful and that it changed the lives of my friends who had gone. But how will this change me?
My professor asked what, if anything, was I nervous about. To be honest, I don't know what I should be nervous about. Crime? I live in a city with that. Disease? I'm pretty sure a round of shots and smart prevention will cover that. Culture shock? I don't know how it's going to affect me so how should I know if I'm nervous?
I will say it's coming back to the U.S. that makes me nervous. I don't expect to be the same. I expect to see my culture, my ideas, my education in a whole new light. I expect to be challenged, transformed, and shaped by this experience. I don't know what that means for me in terms of coming home, returning to academics, or new thought processes. I guess it's that unknown that keeps me on my toes.
I'm excited though. More excited than anyone can imagine.