It didn’t hit me until I was sitting in airport. All of a sudden I realized the magnitude of the change I was about to make. I had been so busy with all my last-minute errands and packing that I hadn’t had the chance to feel anything about studying abroad, negative, positive, or otherwise. Even as I said my goodbyes, I kept myself busy easing everyone’s fears and hopes for me, rather than feeling anything myself. As I sat alone in the airport waiting for my flight, the feelings I had been too busy to acknowledge decided that it was time to show themselves.
In the weeks before my departure, I kept getting the question, “Are you scared?” Every time, I would laugh it off and come up with some witty response saying that I was not. However, in that moment sitting in the airport I wished I had been honest with myself about the answer to this question. In reality, I was terrified.
The feeling of terror is new to me. Usually, the only things that really terrify me are rats and spiders. I love horror films. I love roller coasters. I love trying new things and I usually take change in stride. But that day, change looked like a giant rat spider and all I wanted to do was run and hide. I was afraid that moving to another country might be too big a change for me to handle. I was afraid of not having a support system. I was afraid that no one would like me. I was afraid of being vulnerable in a place that I had never been. I was afraid that such a major change in my life would change me into someone I didn’t recognize anymore and somehow I would lose part of myself.
As these fears played in my head, I almost chickened out. I kept thinking, “How bad would it be if I just didn’t get on the plane. What if I just ‘miss’ my flight? It will save me a lot of money if I don’t go. I can find a job instead.” I created a whole life for myself based on my ‘decision’ not to get on the plane. But when my flight began boarding I boarded too.
By the time I landed in Barbados, my terror had mostly subsided. Seeing the water and the beach from the plane calmed me immensely and immediately confirmed that I had made the right decision by getting on the plane. As I took my first steps on Bajan land, I finally began to feel the excitement and the thrill that I usually experience when going somewhere new. Though I still had the same concerns and fears as I did in the airport, I knew that I would not regret my decision to come to Barbados. Even if all my fears came true, there would always be a beach nearby.