The 3%, Beyoncé, and (4 and 3 and 2 and 1-1)

Tomorrow is the big day.

January 19th, 2018, is the DAY!!! … the day that I PACK.

Now, you might be thinking, “shouldn’t the ‘big day’ be the day that you leave?”

Well, dear readers, that was what I once believed, too, until I was faced with the massive responsibility that I anticipate to be a monstrous combination of mentally-and-emotionally-taxing-decision-making and physically-strenuous-labor that’ll last at least 12 hours That Is Packing.

I’m reminded of the Brazilian Netflix Original series 3% (if you’re unfamiliar, check her out, she will not let you down). I think that choosing what to pack will be a lot like The Process in that show: each of my belongings desperately fighting to make it to The Offshore (i.e. Europe), each willing to suffer (i.e. in my overstuffed bag) for hours, or even days, to secure a spot, each unabashedly trying to show how useful, how attractive, how versatile it is (i.e. not only can this sweater look cute and casual with jeans, it can also completely conceal sweat stains, making it ideal for a professional setting as well!) in the hopes that it will be included. In the end, only the most qualified 3% will make the cut, and the rest will be forced to return to their respective drawers / hangers, rejected and abandoned forever… (like, four-ish months). Hopefully this made sense to those of you that haven’t seen the show.

For a person like me, who likes to plan, and write lists, and be in total control, packing for such a huge and unfamiliar trip feels overwhelming. And it’s not just the packing that’s making my head spin; the logistics of getting to where I need to be, when I need to be there, with the proper supplies, and without spending all my money, feel complicated and (especially with jet lag added to the mix) exhausting.

My attempt at “preparation” and “control” has taken the form of many new apps for every possible situation. (“Morse Code” was not downloaded for travel purposes but, hey, you never know!) (I also downloaded the music video to Beyoncé’s “Grown Woman,” which IS for travel purposes.)

To better understand where I’m coming from, it might be helpful to know what “The Plan” is for the upcoming week / month / semester.

(Inhales):

On the morning of Saturday, January 20th, I’ll fly to Reykjavik, Iceland, where I’ve scheduled a stopover. My plane will land around 10:30pm PST that night, which will be 6:30am in Reykjavik. After two full days of solo travel (during which I still have no idea what I’ll be doing… museums? aurora borealis? sit in my hostel alone?), I’ll catch another early morning flight to Paris, where I’ll be picked up and housed by my great aunt Georgette and other family. I’ll spend about a week in France, then take a train to Geneva, Switzerland on January 31st to meet the SIT program leaders and fellow participants. We’ll get settled with our host families and begin classes. About a week and a half later, we will all board another plane and head to Athens, Greece, where we’ll stay for three weeks and take more classes. We’ll then return to the Geneva area, where I’ll continue taking classes and eventually do an internship until mid-May, at which point my program will officially end.

(If you’re waiting for the Exhale, so am I !!!)

I’m sure I’ll go into more detail about the actual “study” part of the study abroad in due time, but for now, I’m still just trying to figure out how I’ll manage four different types of currency in the span of two weeks!

By this point in the blog, I think I’ve made it clear that I’m feeling stressed, and scared, and already outside of my comfort zone, despite still being in my own bedroom. However, I think it’s important to mention that, in addition to all of this, I am really very excited to go. I’m excited for all the new landscapes and cities I’ll see, for the people I’ll become close to, for the (hopefully engaging) classes I’ll take, for the copious amounts of incredible food I’ll binge-eat, and for all the experiences I don’t even know about yet.

I’m even excited for the moments when everything will seem to go wrong, because those awful moments almost always turn into the best, most ridiculous memories. A brief example to demonstrate this theory:

A few weeks ago, in an attempt to parallel park in a spot that was “upstream” of where I was on a one-way street, I found myself parked entirely on the sidewalk of downtown Ashland. And when I say “parked entirely on the sidewalk of downtown Ashland,” I’m not talking about one of those “one wheel on the curb” situations. I mean that all four wheelswere parked. on. the. sidewalk. of downtown Ashland. (Don’t ask me how it happened, I refuse to do anything but blame it on the fact that my car is a stick shift.) And as I sat alone in my car, making eye contact with tens of strangers who had to walk around the large silver intruder sitting in their clearly marked territory, completely humiliated, I couldn’t help but laugh at how ridiculous my current circumstances were. This mega-awkward, prolonged moment reminded me of something that would happen to Abbi Abrams (à la Broad City) on an average day. And I realized that, though it was pretty gosh darn embarrassing, it was also super harmless and ended up making for a pretty funny story (my mom loled hard when I called her immediately after it happened).

So, to end this inaugural blog post, here is my final thought: in this moment I am indeed stressed to the max; however, I’m ready to get out there and, as Beyoncé puts it, be a “grown woman” and “do whatever I want” (with responsibility and safety in mind, of course @Whitman!). And in those inevitable moments when that doesn’t work out and I find myself lost in a train station spilling trail mix out of my fanny pack, I hope to be able to recognize the humor in the moment and embrace it for just that reason.

The next time I blog I’ll be in a different continent and will (hopefully) have more to write about than pop culture references, so stay tuned! ~~

(Also wish me luck packing tomorrow, I will need it) :))))

‘Til next week,

Ema

1 thought on “The 3%, Beyoncé, and (4 and 3 and 2 and 1-1)

  1. Joe Hunkins

    Very excited for you Ema and looking forward to hearing about the trip … and your economic observations. Lots of crazy going on here in USA and we need better ideas for moving forward.

    Reply

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