Less than seven weeks to go, and more than seven weeks of stuff to do, I think. I’ve entered an odd Twilight Zone where I can’t tell if I should freak out just yet, or keep it cool for a few more weeks. My time is short (ish) and my list is long.
I’ve got to order all my stuff (the more of which I add to my wishlist, the more Amazon thinks I’m going camping).
I’ve got to take a self defense class.
I’ve got to get passport photos, do a test-pack, try out all my electronics, get gifts for my new host family, make a friggin’ packing list, brush up on my French, tell my bank I’m heading overseas, sell my car, get some Cameroon-suitable clothes, say “see you later” (since I don’t want it be a “goodbye”) to everyone, ever and muster up enough courage to actually get my butt on a plane to Africa and start my wild and crazy and scary life there. No crying allowed.
Besides the list of stuff to do, I find myself making mental lists of things I will and will not miss about America, Georgia, Athens and Atlanta. Of course, I’ll miss my family and friends. I’ll miss super markets. I’ll miss cheese and air-conditioning. And chocolate. I’ll miss speaking English and electricity. And flush toilets. I’ll miss Netflix, oh god I’ll miss Netflix. I’ll miss all my doggy friends. I’ll miss this Iced Chai Latte I’m sipping on currently. I’ll miss driving. Fall. Candy. Meat I can recognize.My father’s cooking. My sister’s jokes. My mother’s laugh.
But, there will be things I won’t miss. This came later than the list of things I’ll pine for. I’ll not miss being tied to the television and internet. Just the other day the internet went out for a few days and I was beside myself, desperate for Facebook. I’ll not miss rush hour traffic. I’ll not miss continually frothing myself up with the banalities of Congress, and kind of look forward to a small amount of ignorance, if it means I’m not constantly pained by their seemingly evil agendas.
Surprisingly, the longer I stay in Athens, the more I realize a sad truth: I will not miss college. The girls worried about their looks, all with highlighted hair and short shorts. The boys chasing after them with daddy’s money, sunglasses constantly on (even indoors) and “brah” and “dude” being thrown around too often. I’ll miss the professors and learning, but the rest of it can go, now. I hope to go to graduate school one day and to even be a professor, if I can make time for it in my Big Life Plan, but the undergraduate experience is behind me now, and that is truly alright.
I found myself realizing that in a coffee shop a few miles from campus, surrounded by people I could no longer identify with. Those girls chatting about life and drinking too much and something else drowned out by too-loud “like”s and “totally”s and “omigaaaaawd”s. That boy studying for a final. Someone writing what looks like a very long paper. It’s not for me anymore.
Is this what growing up feels like?