I am getting into the week of Lasts. Of course there’s the big obvious ones like Last Time to See Friends and Family, Last Chance to Find Something Important I Need, or Last Experiences in America. However, there are also the little ones like Last Laundry Day, Last Night of Cat Purring on My Head, or Last Time Just Sitting in the Living Room with Family that seem to make me even more emotional. The big things you can mentally prep for – it’s the little things that will get you unexpectedly.

It felt kinda weird hanging out and saying goodbye to everyone over the last week because I wasn’t bursting into tears when we hugged, but it’s slowly starting to creep in. I think some of it is also because even though I won’t see everyone again in person for some time, I’ll still be very much in contact with them. Moving across the country four years ago helped with this process immensely. In my last major undertaking I moved thousands of miles to a place where I knew no one and definitely suffered some culture shock. With the last move I didn’t want to particularly be there, but I wasn’t ready to stay alone in the old state at the time and I knew it. However, I’ve since made lifelong friends, grew up a lot emotionally, and had opportunities I would never have gotten back east. I also got the chance to learn who my real friends were back east very quickly, unlike some folks who go years until they realize that they were only ever school friends and not so much in the real world.

With this round, some of the challenges will be the same – thousands of miles away, new school/town, and some culture shock. However, I have distance tested friends in the States, in England, and a good amount spread across Europe and Asia that I know will always be there. I’ve also had some help in acculturation beforehand, and have a great desire to be there and make the absolute best of it. There may be a lot of yes’s and not as much sleep and I may not see much of my flat, but if this isn’t a jolt to go out and enjoy life without hesitation or fear, then what is the point of going out so far on my own? I am both sad and happy, scared and excited, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. 🙂

— Kate