16 03 2009

This morning, work was dead. It’s Sunday morning and everyone’s at church. So I had plenty of time to talk to my coworker. He’s also a high school senior, and currently making his college decision, between two state schools. One is about an hour from home; the other is more like three hours from home. We were going over the pros and cons of each choice, and I asked him what his gut feeling was, and he said something he couldn’t name told him to go to the school three hours away, but he wasn’t sure if he could–it was just so far away

How am I not petrified?, he asked. How am I not in tears thinking about it? He’s afraid to go three hours from home, and I’m crossing the ocean

I’m not afraid. I mean, I’m a little nervous, of course, and I know there will be times when I’m homesick, but I can’t imagine wanting to stay so close to home. I just can’t fathom it. He and I are very different people, of course, but this conversation made me think about why I’m not afraid. There are a lot of reasons, but I think one is, I know how interconnected the world is. I know it better than most people. I know that with modern technology, it’s easy to stay in touch, and I don’t just know it in a vague out-there sense; I know it in a real, today, right here sense. One of my closest friends lives in California and we talk all the time and while I’m sure it’d be awesome to hang out with her in person, I don’t feel like we’re necessarily missing something by not seeing each other every day. Another friend lives in Tennessee and we talk regularly. I already know that it’s possible to keep up a relationship without an in-person component, from multiple experiences like these two, and I understand it better than most people I know.

So, no, I’m not afraid (or at least the fear’s not enough to make me consider staying here), because I don’t see it as being isolated from everyone and everything I know, because everyone I know is a facebook message, a google chat, or a skype call away.


images of jacobs

15 03 2009

As promised, an image post for Jacobs University Bremen campus. These are just a few of my favorite pictures of the university, found through various search engines. 



















images of bremen

13 03 2009

I’ve spent way too much time online searching pictures of Jacobs and of Bremen, and I thought I’d share a few of my favorites here. This post is just Bremen, not the university, and I’ll do a separate post for the university later. I know this is really long, but moderation is not my specialty. Anyway, enjoy.







crazy coincidence

13 03 2009

I was catching up with a friend who lives in another part of the state; it had been a couple of months since we’d talked. We’re both very busy people. I updated her on my college plans, and before she even heard the name of my future university–only that it was an English-speaking school in Bremen, Germany–she said, “Jacobs?” And I said, yeah, and wondered how she knew of the school. It’s not very big or well-known. And apparently, she has another friend who is going to Jacobs next year! What are the chances? I mean, it’s a school where only about 7 percent of the student body comes from the Americas, and that’s two continents, I’ve no idea how small the percentage from this country must be. And then this state. And then, even two people in North Carolina, the chances that we would almost know each other! It’s a crazy coincidence. Pretty cool, though, although it does slightly diminish the feeling that my choice is so unique 😉


13 03 2009

Even the most mundane parts of life will be suddenly exciting and new in Germany. If I need to go grocery shopping, I’ll ride a bus full of people speaking German. The bus routes and schedules will require prior study, as I won’t be able to understand any announcements and I can’t count on being able to ask for or understand directions. When I get to the store, there will still be a language barrier. The brands of different things and the availability of others will differ from home. When I check out, I’ll have to make sure to remember German words applicable to the transaction (numbers and prices and such). I don’t anticipate leaving home without my dictionary in case something should come up. (A friend of mine who went to Germany a couple of years ago insists I’ll be able to find someone who speaks English wherever I go, but I can’t count on that, I say, and anyway, I want to learn German). After I’ve made my purchases, it’ll be back on the bus, to watch the scenery pass by–the architecture, the language of advertisements, the license plates on cars, every little detail will be different, and I’m going to love it.


12 03 2009

One of the reasons I’m looking forward to going to Jacobs is the opportunity to travel. Previously, my travel opportunities have been few and far between, and with just one notable exception, only in the United States.  Even in my own country, I haven’t really traveled a lot

The chances I have had to travel, though–they’ve been amazing. Inspiring. And now, I’ll be so close to places I could only have dreamed of seeing if I’d decided to stay in the United States next year! I’ll get to see Paris and Prague and Vienna and Warsaw and Lisbon. I’ll see a new part of the world, and perhaps revisit places I’ve loved before. I love exploring new places, seeing cities I’ve only read about before. I’m very much looking forward to it. It will be an adventure. Or, rather, many small adventures taking place over the course of three years. Three wonderful years.


12 03 2009

This place is home. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it, but it’s always home and it’s always mine. It’s where my friends and family and pets are. It’s where my memories are. It’s where my favorite coffee shop is (housed in an out-of-commission double-decker bus). It’s where my favorite indie bookstore is. There’s a lot to this place that I love, and a lot that I don’t love so much, but it’s home, and it’s got the people and the places and the memories that are a part of me, and as much as I want to get out of here, I know I’m still going to miss it. In my good memory (after the age of five, since before that is just a few bits and pieces), I’ve never lived anywhere else for more than a few weeks, and now I’m about to go spend months at a time, adding up to years, in a foreign country. 

When I’m sitting in Waffle House late at night with my best friends, I’m missing it already. When I’m outside soaking up the sunshine as spring tentatively peeks around the corner, sitting next to my dog, I’m missing it already. When I’m eating with my family at my favorite Mexican restaurant, I’m missing it already. Everything I do here, everything I love here, is coming to an end, and I’m going to miss it. When I’m looking at the familiar blue mountains that surround me every minute of every day, I know I’m going to feel their absence. 

Nostalgia means not seeing what I hate about it as clearly, though. Nostalgia means blocking out how much I hate the lack of public transportation, or the Confederate flag on flagpoles, bumper stickers, and T-shirts. Nostalgia means forgetting my hatred of the overly judgemental and religious atmosphere that comes with living in the Bible Belt. It means repressing the bad memories, the ones where I can’t go back home because I can’t stand my family, the ones where I feel ostracized by my friends, or the ones where kids at school told me I was going to hell for not sharing their religious beliefs (and were backed up by the entire class). 

So that’s it. Home. Nostalgia. Missing what I love, forgetting what I don’t. It’s wearing rose-colored glasses and looking away from the ugly side of home because I know I’m leaving it all, good and bad, in a few short months.