An Alternate, albeit Similar, Reality

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a couple of weeks at Bethel visiting with my friends who are remaining on campus this semester (which was all but 3 of them). However, I am now back home in the great city of San Antonio, Texas.

My adventure in Greece starts on Sunday (Sept. 16)and I find myself feeling similarly to the days leading up to the start of school in years past. I have a few definite details, like where I will be traveling and staying, but for the most part, the next semester is just a big pile of unknowns. As scary as this experience seems to me when I think about it, it’s really not too horribly different from when I started Bethel. I don’t really know anyone; I don’t really know the location; I don’t really know what’s coming. Remembering that very little of the circumstances surrounding my Greek adventure are different from my Bethel adventure that I set out on two years ago is comforting.

It’s also really exciting. I’m thinking more concretely about what I need to pack and buy. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing a culture that’s totally new to me. (I know Bethel is in the same country as my hometown, but city life and small town life are vastly different, not to mention entering the Mennonite community for the first time.) I’ve said my goodbyes or am preparing to say them. Not much is terribly different from when I started my freshman year at Bethel. I’m nervous beyond my wits and no matter how prepared I am, it’s still probably not quite enough (a fact that I’ve come to accept as a typical part of being abroad).

Other than being in a different country that speaks a language completely foreign to me, this experience in many ways mirrors experiences I’ve had. I know that sounds bizarre, sort of along the same lines as saying it’s no big deal to have a foot amputated, but it’s true. But it’s this fact that makes me confident that I can handle going abroad and do so with flying colors. And that’s not something I’m sure I could say if I hadn’t spent the last two years at Bethel.