The past few days have been stressful, to say to the least. This is because, during a meeting with the former Dean of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, I was faced with the possibility to not take a gap year when I get home from Japan next June. This will mean that I will have to apply to colleges from Japan, the thought of which already makes me fret…
It just seems as if I should only focus on immersing myself in Japanese culture and tradition, as well as the Japanese language, this coming year. College applications, although definitely possible if filled out online, would be a chore…as well as, I just feel rushed. I would have to sprint from my year abroad into another transition into college, out of breath, confused, not ready. I would be overjoyed to pause, even for just a second, to reflect on my life – what I strive to do in the future, included.
The whole thought of pondering this growing debacle now, when only three tiny weeks of America – time with my precious family and friends – are left, and quickly dwindling…is enough to give me a migraine. Today, when all I want is to focus on objects to pack, I am stressing about colleges. It all seems unfair to me, this sudden change in my life. I do not understand how to tackle this problem.
Saturday was spent in bliss, making a list of necessities and shopping for them with my mom, with tonkatsu for lunch. All of what I bought is neatly placed in my room, ready to be arranged in my suitcase and to be finally flown over the great Pacific Ocean to the small island country of which I will call home for the next ten months. Recently, my parents and I dragged out some dusty Tokyo maps from when my parents lived there, in order to see where I will be living and where my host school is located. I also borrowed a guide book to Tokyo from the library, only to buy another guide book in a bookstore in Chicago this weekend. It goes without saying that I am excited- overjoyed in fact- that I will be in Tokyo, with my lovely host mother and sister, in just three weeks!
But, but. Lately when I am alone, visions of my airplane crashing keep invading my brain. This will be my first ever flight alone – thirteen hours of confinement with strangers. I worry that since I am a dreamer – mechanics do not make sense to me, as they should – the simple way of putting on an oxygen mask will confuse and lead me to a chaotic death, if, of course, my airplane does crash. I understand that airplanes do not crash often and that the possibility of this happening to me is slim to none. Yet, I worry. I stress. I bite my nails.
Strangely, this only happens when I am alone – in my room or outside working by myself in the heat. The nightmares come suddenly and take my breath away. I remind myself that my Japanese grandma, though she cannot speak a word of English, valiantly took every airplane flight to America by herself for over ten years. I strive to borrow some of that courage and stride into the airplane cabin with my head held high.
I honestly desire to – if it will really happen, I do not know.
So that is the way these days fly by before departure – in worry, stress, excitement, hope, and slowly brewing bravery.