Sleepless in Minneapolis

Haley Lundeen
January 14, 2020

Two. Days. Two days!! That's all I have left before I leave for Spain! I have been anticipating studying abroad for YEARS and the time is almost here! I honestly don't quite know what to expect. I am so excited, nervous, and rushing to make sure everything is ready for departure that I can barely sleep. Between packing the last few essentials, making sure everything at home will run smoothly when I'm gone, wondering how I will navigate the FOUR different airports I will end up in before arriving in Salamanca (yes, I have two layovers... it was cheaper that way!), and just being so excited to leave the country for the second time in my life, it's no wonder that laying down and drifting off just doesn't seem like an option. My brain just keeps bouncing all over the place. Will I be overwhelmed by the whole thing? Frustrated when it's not "perfect"? What if my flight gets delayed? What if I forget how to speak Spanish? You know, stuff like that. So, read on, I guess, into this convoluted, 2:00am, can't-sleep pre-departure-nerves blog post. I promise my other ones will be more coherent!... maybe.

one Big Thing I'm thinking about: Comfort. But not in the way you'd expect. I'm not thinking about how much leg room I'll have on my flight or whether my new rainboots will give me blisters; I'm preoccupied with how I will get myself OUT of my comfort zone so I'm actually able to have all these new experiences I've been looking forward to for so long. I've always been the type of person to stay where I'm comfortable and stick to a routine. As a kid, I would always say that one word to describe me would be "shy," and, I'm not going to lie, that one-word descriptor has been an accurate one for most of my life. So, while I am sooo excited to immerse myself in everything Salamanca has to offer, I know I will be challenged daily to step out of my comfort zone in order to do so... and that's going to be the hard part. I guess my biggest worry is that, by the time I am comfortable enough with the area and the people (which, trust me, can take a WHILE for me) to feel like I can "come out of my shell" and try new things, it'll be time for me to go back home to the US. And I don't want that! While I'm not quite sure how exactly I will, in the only way my tired brain can describe it right now, "make myself less shy," I am confident that I will, and won't let my shyness stop me from doing all I want to do while abroad. 

Let's see... another thing I'm thinking about is the STUDY part of study abroad. Surprisingly, I have been so caught up in thinking about other aspects of the trip that I sometimes forget I am even going to go to school at all. I mean, when I see all my friends' social media posts about their semesters abroad, I never see them in the library studying for a tough final or spending their 6th consecutive hour on some difficult classwork. No, I see them in front of the Eiffel Tower, swimming in the ocean, sipping on a fancy drink surrounded by their new friends, or trying a local dish that looks amazing. It's easy to forget that these same people were taking classes just like I was back home! With all that in mind, I wonder about how I will balance fun and schoolwork. I've always been a good student and a perfectionist, and it's not like I'm going to stop, but I hope that I'm not so focused on schoolwork that I forget to remember that I am literally surrounded by things I have never seen or done before. On the flip side, I also can't be so busy taking in the sights and sounds that I neglect my studies. The academic aspect is where I really don't know what to expect, but it is an area I am already comfortable with in English, so the Spanish will add an extra challenge that, frankly, I'm more than a bit excited for. Will this excitement wear off halfway through the semester once the classes get tough? Maybe. Probably. But for now, it remains.

Of course, there are so many more things to think about that my brain has already cycled through at least 30 times today, including a lot of airport-related specifics (I've never flown alone before!) but there's only so much I can fit in one blog post (and only so much anyone wants to read). I'm excited but nervous, feeling prepared but so unready, sleepy but so awake... actually, I think the sleepyness is finally winning. Looks like I'll finally be getting one of my last two nights of sleep before I leave.

Thanks for reading!

Haley Lundeen

<p>Hi, my name is Haley and I'm super excited to be studying in Spain this semester! I've been speaking Spanish since kindergarten, but this is one of the first times I will get to test how good I really am at communicating in a different language... wish me luck! I grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis and have only left the US once, so I can only imagine what new and exciting experiences I will have during my time in Salamanca.</p>

2020 Spring
Home University:
University of Minnesota
Eden Prairie, MN
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