I leave for Ecuador a week from tomorrow.
I’m in a mild state of panic about it. Mostly I’m just nervous about the unknown. I haven’t been out of the country in a LONG time; I hope I still remember how to travel abroad.
I’m worried it will be weird living with a host family. I mean, it will be weird, so I guess I’m just worried I won’t handle it well. I am almost 37 years old. It’s a very different experience to live with another family when you’re middle aged than when you’re in your teens or early 20s. I actually think I’ve only lived with a host family once in my life, when I was 16 and spent a summer in Madrid. But a friend from Hong Kong’s family lived in Madrid at the time and I spent most of my weekends with them, so really I hardly lived with that woman that summer. So yeah, I have VERY limited experience in living with a family I don’t know, who speak a language that is not my first.
They do seem very nice though, from the email they sent in response to my own.
And of course a week of intensive one-on-one classes will be… intense. It will be weird to be the student again, and for such a long, focused day. My ADD will be rearing its ugly head all over the place.
So yeah. I’m nervous.
I have my passport, which I had to renew. I got a wireless keyboard with a track pad so I can hopefully publish a few posts (I’m assuming the school will have internet, but I’m realizing as I type this that they might not have wi-fi). I got an international plan put on my phone, so worst comes to worst I can post that way. And call my family, of course.
My family. They are who I am most worried about. I’m really concerned with how they will do. I did not handle it well when my parents took the occasional trip when I was young. Of course, I stayed with family friends and not my grandparents. Perhaps the grandparent component will help my kids fair better than I did. But they are very attached to me. I am the primary parent in most ways and my son especially makes a big fuss when he calls for mommy and his dad tries to help. In the end I know they will survive, even if it’s really difficult for them.
I feel like I should have more to say, but I don’t yet. So far I’ve been avoiding my feelings with reminders that it’s still over a week away. Next week I’m sure some more difficult stuff will pop up. And some more excitement. Because I am excited. I really want this to be a huge boost to my Spanish, and I’m excited about the commitment I’m making to myself professionally with this trip. It’s just a lot easier to be worried that I won’t like the food my host family serves than it is to think about all the interesting experiences I will have.
One thing I keep trying to remind myself: Yes, I may be more set in my ways, and less adventurous than I was in my early 20’s when I lived in Madrid and traveled all around Europe, but I also have more experience and perspective, and have learned that most of the time, whatever difficulty I’m facing is not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps that perspective will take me farther than adventurous ever did. We shall see.