Well, this past week has been chock full of information. In the past few days, I have received my departure flight information, my host school assignment, and - best of all - my host family. With the receipt of such incredibly exciting news comes the inevitable panic - "What's it going to be like?" "Will they like me?" But the most important part of this information is that the wondering can stop.
Of course, to some extent, the wondering won't stop until I touch down in Muscat at 10:35 pm local time on August 26. Logically, it will continue even from then until I have ceased to experience firsts (something which I hope will never happen) - the first time I see my host family, the first time I enter my host school, the first time I have a conversation with someone in Oman. But at least with the arrival of news comes the comfort of knowing I have been placed. I have a school. I have a home, and a family.
It's incredible. As an only child, I'm thrilled to have 4 host siblings. My family consists of my father, mother, two girls (respectively 13 & 11), a boy (8), and a little sister who will turn 3 a few days after I arrive in Oman. I have received a picture of their home, which looks amazing, and I'm so excited to get to know them further that all of a sudden I can hardly wait to get to Oman.
Only 33 more days left until I arrive... 32 days until I leave.
But more has happened in the past few weeks than the announcement of placements within Oman. I've successfully worked out how to form the most minimal of Arabic sentences, taking my speaking ability one level above "non-existent". I'm considering this a victory, and hoping that it continues to improve before my departure.
Until then, I'll be immersing myself in my home and spending time with the people I won't be seeing for 10 months. Although I'll be far away, I'm hoping it won't feel that way.
🎶Telescope - Cage The Elephant🎶
The other day I was reading the blog of a Morocco-bound student I met (or, more likely, re-met) at the PDO, and I saw an interesting article regarding journaling. Judging from everything I heard from various alums last week, journaling is an important part of maximizing the study abroad experience. So I went and bought myself a few notebooks (gotta stock up, ya know!) and have been journaling religiously every day. It basically means that at some ungodly hour I am still awake and scribbling in my little notebook to make sure I remember everything that happened during the day. Large chunks of these entries, generally towards the beginning as I write chronologically, are devoted to rowing.
That's right! After having injured and reinjured and theoretically healed my knees, I'm back in the boat and I'm so happy. It's a good thing I'm so into it, too, because a 6 am wakeup might deter me from anything less personally exciting. But it's all good and I'm loving the fresh air.
Following rowing I take a few minutes to vegetate and photosynthesize in my room before (as a new development) doing some Arabic review. I've recently (this past week) begun a series of preliminary Arabic courses in the hopes of being able to convey myself, however minimally, upon arrival in country. And so far it's been great. Incredibly confusing, of course, but with a few repetitions everything is clearer and begins to sink in.
But this brings me to the title of this post, and the reasons that I have no time for my life. The thing is that with trying to learn a new language, trying to get back into shape, and trying to reconcile myself with the fact that soon it will be me, and not my friends, posting pictures of themselves superimposed on the backdrops of different countries, it's a little hard to find time for anything else. But of course there's also the need to find time for the goodbyes - the most painful part of leaving for anything, no matter how short. But of course 10 months isn't short.
In the last few days, I have attended a party with over 40 people I didn't know, but at the end had to say final farewells to both old friends and new ones. Yesterday saw me taking my first flight in a sailplane, but now my heart weighs heavy with the knowledge that it is unlikely I will get another such opportunity before leaving. And at the 5th of July fireworks in town last night I said more goodbyes to people I'd known years ago.
But I've done more than just that. In saying these farewells I have exposed the people I know to the opportunity I have, to the program I will be on, and to the chances they have to take advantage of similar opportunities. I have written my blog address on party napkins, shreds of cardboard, and the backs of people's hands. And I have gushed about Oman to anyone misfortunate enough to stand too close to me for a prolonged period of time.
So although I have no time for my life.... I do. I am preparing myself for my life. It's just a messy process, full of goodbyes, hellos, and lots of unexpected events. And in this process, I've almost managed to trick myself into thinking I'm ready to go... And it gets easier to believe every day.
🎶Island In The Sun - Weezer🎶
Hi! My name is Karla Cox. This blog is a compilation of notes, thoughts, and photos from my travels around the world.