Three Weeks

Three Weeks.

The two scariest words in my world right now.

Lately, I’ve been lying awake at night. I toss. I turn. Sometimes I give up completely and watch Bones.

Because there’s no anxiety that a little grizzly murder can’t cure. Right?

And why can’t I sleep?

Three Weeks.

In the silence of my bedroom, these two words haunt me. As soon as I stop moving — as soon as I give my mind a chance to rest, the anxiety comes.

Three Weeks. In three weeks, I will be going to Russia.

Honestly, that statement is unfathomable to me. I distinctly remember a time only six months ago when I wasn’t even a Russian major. I remember sitting in Russian class the first week, when study abroad in Moscow was brought up, and thinking that it was an interesting idea… but one that I probably wouldn’t take part in. I remember deciding to go and then telling everyone I met that I was going to Russia. But that was then. Russia was a long way away.

Three weeks is barely an eye blink.

And about four days ago, it suddenly dawned on me that I am terrified.

Excited? You bet. For the first time since I took up this unusual major, I’ll be in a place where no one tells me to shut up because I’ve been speaking Russian for two hours. I’ll be able to make huge gains towards my FSI Language Level 2. It’s a photographer’s dream. This trip is going to be forever planted in my memory as my first trip to my area of specialty.

Oh yes, I am excited.

But right now, I’m more terrified. Because I was blessed with a mind that is supremely capable of imagining myriad possibilities of disaster.

I’m afraid of the flight. I do NOT fly well.

I’m afraid that I’m going to arrive in Russia and realize that I don’t understand anything.

I’m afraid that speech paralysis is going to hit and I’m going to open my mouth to speak Russian and nothing will come out.

I’m afraid that I actually suck at Russian and no one is telling me.

I’m afraid that I’m going to hate the food and starve.

I’m afraid of the flight. I’m claustrophobic.

I’m afraid that I’m going to say something inappropriate to someone.

I’m afraid of the flight. Being out of control is extremely hard for me.

I’m afraid that I’m going to fail my classes because I don’t understand anything.

I’m afraid that I’m not going to get everything packed.

I’m afraid that I’m not going to have time in the next three weeks to get everything in order here.

When I lie in bed at night, these thoughts circle my head. Then the OCD Badger grabs them and suddenly my plane is crashing and I’m landing in Russian prison because I’ve misunderstood a policeman and said something I shouldn’t have.

I know it’s irrational. I know that I’m going to have a blast. I know that I’m excited. Really. And I know how to deal with all of these fears.

But if I don’t pay a little homage to this terror, I’m not being honest with myself or anybody else.

Sometimes, just acknowledging that the fears exist is enough.

And if it isn’t?

I still have three weeks.

*Bobs

 

2 Comments to “Three Weeks”

  1. You will be ok. For sure they have bread and coke! So you will good on that.
    As far as anything else, people travel all the time not peaking a word of the language of the country they are visiting.
    You WIll Be Okay!
    And I guarantee you will have a blast!

  2. lol, so it could be OCD-related, the worrying??🙂

    for me, sometimes it helps to write down ‘worst-case scenarios’ and brainstorm solutions…

    if people wouldn’t understand you, you could carry a mini-dictionary with (someone did this! and learnt a language that way, without speaking it before!) or maybe go online and type it in and find google translation in an internet cafe?
    Or you can call a Russian friend/student representative and they can translate via phone.

    Will you have classes in Russia? A friend went to Spain for student exchange and didn’t understand much in the ‘real’ classes, there were some English classes too I think.. it still went allright and was a great experience!! And people in Russia speak English too I think…

    Maybe it would be good to discuss these things with other exchange students or people who have travelled abroad before, ideally to Russia too..

    If you hate the food, you can cook your own… Not sure if you can bring your own, check flight/customs rules…

    People told me that a good cure for speech paralysis in a foreign language is to get a bit drunk and Russia has vodka??😉
    (I don’t recommend alcoholism, take this as ‘last resort’ sort of??) I’m pretty sure they’ll understand u anyway, and will be honored you’re even trying to speak the language!!

    As for everything packed – you can buy stuff in Russia too🙂 Lists help…

    Also, if going to bed hungry, the thoughts circle more, and music can distract them..🙂 Just thought I’d mention it…

    Or are you in Russia already?!!🙂

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