In exactly two days, I’ll be in the air, on my way to Belgium.
I’ll be met at the airport by an ISA rep and taken to my new home, my new family, my new life. This life will take place in Schaerbeek, one of 19 municipalities in Brussels, with an apparently high immigrant population. Home will be a small townhouse, with a single mom, two daughters, a dog and at least one other American student. It is said to be warm and welcoming. It is said to be 30 minutes from the center of Brussels and 20 minutes from school by adorable yellow tram.
As part of my pre-departure activities, I’ve pre-packed and unpacked my suitcase, just to make sure my list of things all fit. Then I packed again. I’ve finished my Rough Guide to Brussels, and I feel as though I understand the city at least on a superficial level. I’ve scheduled the suspension of my cell phone service. I’ve purchased adapters. I’ve purchased a backpacking backpack. I’ve purchased random things like hair ties and stomach acid reducers. I’ve purchased a book about professional hedonism and travel writing for the long plane ride.
This trip has been on my mind since September, and I finally feel like I’m good to go.
But I don’t really feel much else.
I’ve been postponing this blog post for weeks, continually thinking I’ll have a decent answer to that, “So how are you feeling?” question that I get asked multiple times a day. I suppose I’m excited. I suppose I’m nervous and anxious. And even though I feel like I’m good to go, I don’t really feel like I’m going. Am I really going to be attending my new school’s orientation in a few days? Am I really not going to be driving anymore, ever? Am I really going to be seeing street signs in Flemish and French everywhere I go? I suppose I am. And I suppose stronger feelings will hit at some point.
For now, I’m trying to enjoy my last days in the Bay Area. Yesterday I met a friend for a typical, lovely San Francisco afternoon — lounging in Dolores Park and blissfully eating Bi-Rite ice cream. Today I took in the sun, which I am soon likely to rarely see, and my dad and I will have our “last supper” at Commonwealth in the city. We’ll celebrate all the things I’ll miss about living in the Bay Area — local and sustainable produce, trendy and casual settings and unmatched creativity. Tonight will be one of my last hang-outs, for a good long while, with the friends I’ve grown up with. We’ll probably snuggle with blankets, drink tea and watch the city’s lights twinkle across the bay.
And after, perhaps I’ll feel ready to take on the nervous-excited-anxiety that I keep hearing about.
One thought on “Saturday’s the day”
I found your entry on the ISA blog and am so excited to read the rest of your Belgium-blogs! I’m going to Belgium this spring (if the consulate is feeling cooperative) with the ISA program and have NO CLUE what to expect. I honestly picked belgium kind of randomly but reading your blog is giving me some peace of mind. Thanks for leaving all of this information out there for the clueless and nervous like me 🙂
Also, I’m from the Bay Area as well, and Bi-Rite ice cream is God’s gift to human kind.