Thursday, January 10, 2013

Belgium: Bruxelles, Premier [Je Commence Sans Doute. Ou Sans Regret.].

"When in doubt, do not."
-- Benjamin Franklin

I'm about to go to Belgium.  I'm sitting on my butt, torn between being terrified and completely excited.  I've heard the whispers from my family: what sane university senior would spend the last semester abroad, risking her future, instead of staying at school?  Here's the thing: yes, I am worried about my future, but I'm more worried about what will happen if I don't go.

I can see my last semester in my mind: if I stayed on campus, I'd be commiserating with other seniors over open GRE books, late-night food runs, and graduate school deadlines.  And then I would be whisked into more schooling and more textbooks.

Instead, I'm going to take advantage of my full-ride scholarship and go abroad for a final hurrah.  I've been to Morocco in a field studies program and now I'm launching myself into a classroom seating with polished Europeans.  If that isn't a (g)rounding experience, then I don't know what is.

Anthony Bourdain, that blessedly crass, but honest man, even mentioned the joys of travel.

I found this image on Buzzfeed, but it's highly apropos.

I get that studying abroad isn't for everyone, that some people can't afford it, that some people don't want to go.

But I have the means and I have this yearning to go.  I need to feel miniscule in comparison to a country's history, to try to communicate with a Vlemmish (Flemmish person), to eat mussels and to re-experience French.

I'll land in Belgium around 15:40 (or 3:40 in the afternoon) on January 11th (including time changes), in approximately 40 degree rainy weather, and then rest with my host for the night.  I'm excited to meet her face to face, and to see her pet cat.  The next day, I'll meet with the rest of the study abroad students and we'll tour Brussels and Ypers.

Later on, I still have graduate school to attend, maybe even medical school.   But for now, I start my trip. Without doubt. Without regret.

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