Countdown to Copenhagen: Bidding Farewell to To-Do Lists and Saying Yes to Life

On Friday, I will trade in my Northern California suburb for Copenhagen, Denmark. All that stands in my way are a couple of unpacked suitcases, un-exchanged currency, unchecked to-do list items, a 12-hour flight, and 5,646 miles. Child’s play right?

For the girl who is as type A as it gets, this is wildly out of character. On any given day, my bag is never short of Moleskine notebooks scribbled full of to-dos, must-brings, and notes-to-self. So it makes it all the more strange that with twenty-four hours left before I board my flight halfway across the world, not one to-do list was made, not one suitcase packed, and not one errand run.

Logistically, I’m a nightmare, and it’s a given that I have a lot to accomplish in the next twenty-four hours. But emotionally/spiritually/mind-body-and-soul or whatever you want to call it, I have never felt more ready.

When I was applying to college, I was unsure of many things: what to major in, whether I wanted to attend a research university or a liberal arts college, big city or small town, stay in California or venture out to the east coast. However, the one thing that I was sure of was that I wanted to (read: needed to) to study abroad. I craved the thrill of throwing myself into new experiences, being able to go far beyond my comfort zone and grow personally. And ever since I stepped foot on the Hilltop two years ago, I have looked forward to my semester abroad.

Now, as for how I decided on Copenhagen…

Towards the end of my summer internship, whenever anyone asked me what my plans were for the rest of summer, I would excitedly reply “One week back home in California, and then four months in Copenhagen for study abroad!” (I said this so often that by the end of the program, people I had never personally mentioned this to were wishing me good luck on my abroad adventures.) The question that always followed was “Why Copenhagen?” I would jokingly reply, “I’m testing out the ‘happiest country on earth’ claim.”

Although that is true, I am traveling to Copenhagen for the rich political, economic, and cultural history, the modern meets traditional feel of the city, the dynamic arts scene and the abundance of local artisan street markets, the sophisticated yet eccentric street style of its locals, the central location in Europe and dynamic business environment, the award-winning restaurants and coffee shops, and the unique cross-cultural perspective that I will be able to gain—an experience that cannot be replicated in a classroom.

One blog post later, I am still hopelessly unpacked. But I am ready. For the adventures and misadventures; the meticulously planned outings and the treasures I only discovered as a result of getting lost; the museums and the mountains; the deeper relationships with my classmates and new friendships with locals; the harmony and the chaos. I want to listen to the stories of the people I meet, and I want to tell my own. And I hope to chronicle my journey through this blog and share it with the Georgetown community and beyond.

And one blog post later, I feel less guilty about my lack of to-do lists. I am starting to realize that there is only so much that you can plan out, and that no amount of time back home, no Thought Catalog article, and no Google search will truly prepare me for the next four months of my life. And I’m beginning to see the beauty in simply not knowing what my next move is.

I am ready to say yes to life and wherever it will take me. Hej København!

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