I find it amusing that in the span of a week I will go from one capital to another to another: I will have moved from Sofia, Bulgaria to Washington DC to Rome, Italy. For the past month, I had the amazing experience of participating on an archaeological dig in Bulgaria, which for a classics major like me was practically heaven. I got to feel the dirt on my hands as I brushed it away from the surface of a probable cult figurine, test the brittleness of centuries old bones, and appreciate the remains of what was once a bustling trade emporium, now only ruins. Beyond the archaeological experience this gave me, it was also the perfect test run for what a full semester abroad would be like, from the traveling alone to not knowing a single soul going in. I like to think I passed.
I have lived in DC all my life — I was born here, grew up here, and go to school here — so it was important to me that I would go abroad and get the “true college experience” of living somewhere new with only myself to rely on. I’ve always been independent so I never gave much thought to the anxieties leaving home would bring but even before leaving I already miss my family, both my blood related and the one I’ve created while at Georgetown. I’m only home for a couple days before I have to leave again. My parents are suddenly becoming empty nesters (which totally isn’t a pun about my mom who has taken up bird watching), since after this summer I will be abroad, my sister will be starting college up in Philly, and my brother will be joining the military. However, it was always my parents who encouraged me to study abroad and make the most of my college experience, for this I could not thank them more.
My mom has been treating me to my favorite meals since I won’t have a kitchen while I’m away, which will be especially tough for me since baking is a passion of mine. Equally difficult though more immediate is packing. I essentially have two days to wash the clothes I brought to Bulgaria, choose everything I will need to bring (made harder by the fact that Rome starts off very hot and ends the semester very cold), and then physically fit it into two suitcases, one to be carry-on and one to be checked. I hate having to check bags — a) because I hate waiting for them at baggage claim and b) because I know if anyone’s were to get lost, they’d be mine — but considering I will be away for upwards of three months, there is no way around it. Luckily, my flight will be non-stop so at least I won’t have to worry about missing my connections which did happen to me on my way back from Bulgaria, a nigh traumatic experience after having already flown on three different flights in the previous 24 hours. I eventually ended up back home (obviously) so it has shifted from horrible experience to campfire horror story to be shared when I return to Georgetown.
Ultimately, I cannot be more excited for this new experience. Despite all my nervousness about being on my own, I actually already know one person who is also going on the trip. Moreover, my classes are everything I dreamed about from reading in both the Latin and Greek languages to field trips to ancient roman monuments. From one capital to another, here I come!