I type this entry as I’m supposed to be gathering all my things to pack, but packing’s overrated anyways. Anyways, how do you pack for something you have no idea about? Sure, I can throw in my shorts, my jeans, my shirts, my underwear (maybe not?), my Russian-English dictionary, my iPod (Russian host brother + Notorious B.I.G. = thug lyfe), etc. I’m reminded of the great story “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, in which he describes a platoon in Vietnam. Like me, they carried a ton of material things. However, as O’Brien points out, they also carry things inside them. I know that nervousness, apprehension, and maybe a little homesickness will all manage to squeeze into the crevasses of my suitcase. I know that the love of my family and friends will find space among my socks. I know also that hope and desire for an amazing experience will be layered in my packing. An open mind and willingness to try new things will slip into my carry-on. As a small sidetrack, that willingness has already manifested itself:
Yeah. That happened. Anyways, back to what I was saying. Most of all, I carry excitement. I have no idea what to expect, but I know that once I get there, there’s no turning back. I know that I will meet interesting people, see interesting sights, go to interesting places. It’s up to me to make the most out of them. Considering this is a brand-new experience with people whom I’ve never met in a country I’ve never been to, I know that it will be easy to go into my shell. But once-in-a-lifetime opportunities have that name for a reason. This is an amazing – once-in-a-lifetime, in fact – opportunity, right here, right now. To waste it would be foolish and even irresponsible. So, that being said, I intend on making the most of it. That doesn’t only mean coming back to the States conversational in Russian. That means coming back feeling like I learned and accomplished things over my seven weeks in Russia. I’m not sure if I’ll have the opportunity to post again before I leave the country, so I’ll issue a (most likely) premature до свидания, goodbye, to America and my friends. I look forward to sharing my adventures, trials, tedium – whatever comes my way – with you.