I have only ever flown abroad once in my life: I visited my grandparents in Slovakia when I was eleven years old. Now, nine years later, I scramble to pack my suitcase. Clothes, papers, toiletries—these make up ninety percent of my bedroom floor. I try to pick my favorite clothes that match with a select few pairs of pants so as not to overpack, especially since I hear clothing is cheap in Shanghai. However, I have read that it is difficult to find clothing larger than a size medium there, and I usually wear a large!
Between my overflowing excitement and inexperience with traveling, this week is quite an experience in itself. I just received my job assignment a few days ago, and while I have been excited for the past few months, the realization of what I am about to do has just finally hit me full force. It has even gotten difficult to sleep at night, as I constantly think about the food, landmarks, work, and people I will experience in the coming ten weeks. To add to this, some of my friends from school are already in Shanghai for their internship experiences and keep posting pictures of what they are doing. The anticipation is too much to bear!
Despite the excitement, I must admit it is still bittersweet to be leaving. After having spent the weekend down the shore with my friends, it has hit me that I will not be seeing them for at least another ten weeks. As another blogger mentioned, I am a huge sufferer from FOMO, or the fear of missing out. Although I know that I will be having a blast in China, I will most definitely feel left out on whatever fun activities my friends are doing at home. What makes the mix of emotions this week bearable is spending the few remaining days I have left with my friends (whenever I am not busy packing or buying essentials like power adapters).
I will also miss my family during this trip. However, I do have August 10th to look forward to. After I wrap up my experience in China that day, I will stop in Slovakia on my way home, and my family will meet me there. We will be staying with my grandparents for a week to enjoy time with family and tour the country which I vaguely remember from my trip nine years ago.
Four days from now, I will be boarding an airplane all alone for the first time. This will be just one of many firsts to come in the next ten weeks. Philly, I will miss you, but Shanghai, I just can't wait to meet you.
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<p>I am a junior in the Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE) program at Lehigh University, studying chemical engineering and finance. At school, I am the President of the Chi Phi Fraternity and enjoy participating in service opportunities, such as tutoring local middle schoolers or leading recruitment for Dance Marathon to raise money for CHOP. I also enjoy snowboarding and traveled to the breathtaking Stowe, Vermont this past Winter. I have a passion for nature and currently intend to focus on alternative energy with my ChE degree.</p>