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August 10th 2010
Published: August 10th 2010
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I have to say something about my expectations. Only eleven days until I leave, and I am feeling more nervous now than excited. I expect to feel lost and confused, nervous, overwhelmed and homesick. I will probably pack too much, but also forget something important. I won't have time to see everything that I want to see. It took me more than a semester to feel settled in and confident at Lewis & Clark. I will only be in Chengdu for a semester, so I will never become comfortable and I won't be able to make friends that quickly... I'll have so much classwork that I will stay in my dorm room and never come out. I'll be bit by a dog and contract rabies. These are all worst case scenarios.

Best case, I excel at my schoolwork, have time to join clubs and try new things, make lots of friends, rapidly pick up the Sichuan dialect, feel more comfortable in China than America, win one million dollars, and come back in tip-top shape for the spring rowing season.

Logically, I know that my experience will fall somewhere in between the two, but right now I am thinking more about the extremes, and it is becoming more and more difficult to fall asleep at night.


17th August 2010

In "Americans Abroad" last semester, we put the following advice on our end-of-semester "travel tips": "You don't need to know what you want to accomplish before you go. Don't expect anything in particular." I would add that not expecting anything in particular gives you the freedom to expect everything, and to welcome all that comes your way. I wish you the best for the daily and year-long journeys--some extreme, some not-so-extreme--headed your way!

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