Friday, August 5, 2011

Eight Months Later.....

So today is August 5th. That date means many things. For one thing, it means that I leave tomorrow(!). It also means that it has been 8 months exactly since I originally received the news that I was indeed excepted as an exchange student, and I would be spending a year in Finland. I remember the night oh so well. When it seemed like all the other kids that were at the district interviews had received their country placement. I was sitting on the coach downstairs with the phone in my lap, wondering why on earth they weren't calling me! All terrible thoughts were going through my head at the time. Like the idea that I wasn't accepted into the program, or that they wouldn't call me until later that week, which would have been like torture to wait that long. I remember that instead of wasting my time fretting and staring at the phone, or spending time on Facebook, I would make use of my time and use my homework as a distraction. So right when I was two pages into reading the odyssey the phone rang. I specifically remember feeling the most anxious and nervous and scared as I have ever been in my entire life. My heart was beating a million miles an hour in my ears. And I am not over exaggerating that in the least. I remember my heart beating so fast, it was the fastest it has ever beat in my life. And when my country contact asked me if I would accept placement in Finland, it was an absolutely amazing feeling of relief and excitement.
Finland had almost come as a surprise. Though I was completely open to any country that they would've given me. My number one choice was Argentina, and Sweden was my second, with Austria in third place. And Croatia was tied with Finland for my number 4 choice. I still want to visit those other countries but I am very happy with the choice that the rotarians have made for me. People always ask me why I chose Finland, and instead of saying that I didn't get to choose and then explaining about how the rotary's system works, I just say something like "I thought that it sounded cool" and the fact is, I am very happy with my country placement, thinking back on it, I can't imagine being placed anywhere else. Back in the exchange student weekend we had in may, a mother of another exchange student said "It is like everybody is going to the right place" and I couldn't agree more, the way that rotarians choose countries for students is quite amazing and it works so well. They would do a much better job than the students for sure. 
So much time has past between then and now. I feel like a totally different person than I was 8 months ago! I am so much more ready than I was back then too, and I think I am more ready than I thought that I would be. 
Today I spent the day with my best friends, and it was a perfect send off, the weather was beautiful as it always is in summit county. I am going to miss my friends but when I think about it, I am very ready for this change in scenery. The mountains are beautiful, but I have spent too much time staring at them and dreaming about Finland.  I need to get out of here! 
So, packing continues until the last minute. I will leave Summit County around noon, and I will stare Buffalo Mountain one last time very dramatically as I drive east to Denver. 
Before I started packing...

I could fit into my suitcase when it was empty, which was awesome

This is me in front of Peak One and Two. 

And these are my suitcases after I stuffed them full of my junk. All pushing the weight limit....
So I look up to my blazer which has been hanging on my closet door for a couple weeks now, and I think "Tomorrow's the day!" Tonight is my last night in my own bed! :D
So I will leave you with this quote which I found on the Internet, and I think it sums up why anyone would go on an exchange in the first place:
"Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons."
See you on the other side.  

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