Over the last six months since I found out that I was going to be crossing the pond again, the emotions that have ensued have been quite drastic. I’m fully aware that it might not be the norm and that I tend to be on the emotional side…with a high frequency of rapid moods shifts around impending big life changes. But I feel from talking to fellow travelers there are some similarities in our emotions! It might not be just me! So I as I sit at the airport in Charlotte on my 8hr layover before I leave for Madrid, (refer to plane ticket advice post and ADD “CHECK TIMING OF FLIGHTS”) I thought it would be funny to share my psychotic funny stories of the emotional turmoil that I might have put my poor friends and family through over the last six months. To over simplify such chaos, I narrowed it all down into four seemingly simple phases.
- The Denial Days
The Denial Days occurred for me right from the start. I have to say, even today, I feel undeserving of this once-in-a-lifetime experience that Fulbright is giving me and I will forever be thankful to the people that looked at my application and said, “Yes, I want this crazy girl to be part of our program.” But the true Denial Days came to a head when I was sitting on my mom’s bathroom toilet (not using it, I promise) right after moving home after graduation, bawling my eyes out talking to my poor mother while she washed her face. I am pretty sure the conversation started with “I feel like the black sheep in Fulbright and I am probably not
smart enough to be doing this.” One little side note, I know I am smart, I know that I work hard, but Fulbright is monumental and according to my best friend, “It’s the sh** they put on your gravestone, big.” I was feeling rather undeserving to say the least and complaining about “Why me? Why do I want to do this? I don’t know Spanish anymore!” but as I sat working myself up, my mom contorted her face to an expression that could only be described as “you crazy fool, shut up.” I think back to that day and all the tears that were shed because I was afraid. I am incredibly honored to be part of Fulbright and I am more than thrilled to say “toot-a-loo” to this phase.
- Oh SH** Shenanigans
WHAT?! I’M MOVING TO TEACH IN ANOTHER COUNTRY?! This phase came promptly after the denial phase and was jam-packed with anxiety. Too bad Xanax makes my refluxes test their pyrotechnics (aka it makes me nauseated). In all honesty, this was the worst phase because it was filled with all the anxiety-laden tasks that just make the entire phase that much worse. Visas, background check, grant authorizations, translations, tickets, housing, etc. all piled up. The more stuff added to the “To Do” list the more “OH SH**” moments occurred. Not many tears, but a ton of deep breaths, fingertip to ring finger “ommmms, ommms,” a few glasses of wine and maybe one or two heated vent sessions. The perfect example of this chaos was exhibited while I was aggressively driving to see my brother an hour and half north of my parents’ house with my Bluetooth game strong and my best friend on the other line that was regretfully treated to an earful of frustrations. Between freaking out about the “To Do” list I had family drama and personal life drama all surfacing at the same time. It’s funny how life goes on even when you feel like your head is about to combust in the drivers seat. Needless to say friends are the best medicine and mildly punk pop screamo music solves lots of problems.
- Gut Wrenching Goodbyes
Because I like patterns (ask me how I like my M&M cookies) I am continuing the alliterated names of these phases. This phase sounds dramatic and as I am sitting in the airport with pure excitement, I realize the enormity of that drama, but in the moments that I was saying goodbye to so many people that I love, it felt gut-wrenching! I have always struggled my entire life with big change, I hate routine and always want change, but whenever big life events happen, I am always incredibly overwhelmed and I struggle to let go. Moving to Spain was no different. This phase began in July and lasted until about a day before I entered the airport in Indy…aka yesterday. This summer I decided what was best for my financial situation was to move home with my family instead of live out my apartment lease in Columbia, MO where all my friends lived. Now maybe if I grew up in Carmel, IN I would have been fine, but I didn’t, therefore, my mom and I became “best friends.” And as much as I love my mother and rely on her immensely, sometimes there are things you just don’t talk about with your lovely mother. Commence traveling back to Columbia, MO and saying goodbye to my best friends three times. By the middle of August, my friends started hugging me and saying, “yeah, yeah whatever, see you next week, Makenna.” I can’t help it! I hate goodbyes and I always have to have the last word. But thankfully, after saying goodbye three times and highly considering a fourth, I finally said goodbye to my Columbia family, at least for a little while.
- Creepy Calm & Content
To close the phases of pre-departure pandemonium, I have finally arrived at the creepy calm and content phase. Little did I know when I first started thinking about posting about the pre-departure process (the only way to get through a 4-mile run is to think of anything, blog posts included) I was going to actually be calm. I didn’t think it was possible, but lone behold, the day before my flight, absent was the denial, the anxiety, and the heartache of leaving loved ones. Surprisingly, all that is left is a creepy calm and content-ness that everything is going to work out. Weird right? I attribute it to preparation to rationalize some of the crazy. In one of my last phone calls to my trouper of a best friend, she asked if I was freaking out and as I told her my packed agenda for the next forty-eight hours, my heart rate did not quicken at the enormity of what I was about to do! No nauseating Xanax required! Success people! I am contently sitting in the Charlotte airport listening to music and trying to decide what I am going to eat for lunch (is asking for an AMEN too much?) I will take that tough decision any day. #firstworldprobs
Because I am incapable of leaving anything without a conclusion, a sum up or the last word, here are my last thoughts. I realize that these phases are extreme to most, I wish that I could be calm as a cucumber all the time, I’ve tried and it’s not who I am. As of the recent (as in the last few years) I can cry at the drop of a hat and I can change my mood just as quickly…and I am ok with that (it makes it impossible for me to hold a grudge, that’s a plus!) But to all my friends and family who will be reading my blog, I want YOU to know that you are the real MVPs in my book. You are the ones who not only tolerate these phases, but also have helped me move from one to the next. God bless the man who has to deal with my pregnant self someday, he will be in for it I AM SURE (self-fulfilling prophecy?)
With all my love from Charlotte, North Carolina,
PS. I had to have at least ONE post with all Parks & Rec GIFs. You’re welcome.