It’s 9:23 pm the night before I’m supposed to depart for Copenhagen. I board the plane at 7 pm tomorrow. T-minus 21 hours and 37 minutes to go. Tick tock. Tick tock. The clock is crawling from minute to minute and I’m stuck between wanting it to slow down and wanting it to speed up. It’s a strange feeling.
It’s funny, because I’ve known I was going to be studying in Denmark this semester since September. And yet the gravity of what I’m about to do hadn’t hit me until, oh… probably about 10 minutes ago. But now, as I print out my boarding pass and shove as many jars of peanut butter into my luggage as can possibly fit, it’s smashing down on me like I just removed the wrong block from a Jenga tower. I’m going out of the country for the first time in my life. The furthest I’ve ever been from my quaint little home of Reading, Pennsylvania was when I took a band trip to Disney World. I am completely out of my comfort zone here.
And now I’m going to Copenhagen. A city I chose for its cleanliness and easygoing vibe. And because the program I’m enrolled in seems like a good fit for a journalism major. And maybe, just maybe, because it’ll put me only a short bike ride away from noma, one of the best restaurants in the world. Just maybe.
Every once in a while, I’ll think to myself, “Wait. Ashlyn. What are you doing, going to Denmark for a semester? You don’t even like to leave the couch!” It’s true that I’m not the most social of animals. I love people, and I love having friends, but as an introvert I find it difficult to interact with people for long periods of time. And now I’m off to a country that I’ve only read about in travel books, full of people who speak a different language than my own. And I’ll be living in a dorm with not one but two roommates. Yikes!
Am I nervous? Yes. Am I freaking out? Sort of. But at this point there’s no turning back. I knew I was going to have these reservations from day one, but I just keep telling myself that I’m going to thank myself for it later in life. After all, how many times in your life do you get an opportunity to study in another country? To visit not just one or two but four different countries in one trip? (Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and France are all on the horizon.) I figure it’s like a mother bird and her fledglings in the nest – the baby bird is probably scared as heck as its mom callously thwacks it out of a huge tree, sending it plummeting down towards the ground. But at the last second instinct takes over and the bird starts flapping its little wings and tweeting and flying like it was born to do, and if it had never been pushed from the nest it never would have learned how to fly. Right?
Hopefully instinct will take over for me too. I want to fly!