I've been living outside of my 'home' country for two and a half years now and have visited 26 countries - I wouldn't seem like a person who really is afraid to try new things, right? Well, yes and no. Not long ago, Danny and I got to talking about the idea that when it comes to life and, well, pretty much everything, most things aren't really that bad when you take the plunge and give them a shot. Whether we're talking about cliff jumping into clear seas in Greece or quitting your job and moving to a new country - it's all much scarier until you just start and get going. Once you start jumping off the cliff, it's not so bad! And once you start telling your boss about your new adventure and they get excited for you too, you realize, why was I freaked out about this? Why did I spend all that time worried and worked up about nothing?
D - I think this principle applies to pretty much every area of life. Things always seem worse from the outside. The only exception I can think of this is when I finally mustered up the courage to ride one of those drop tower rides (called La Lanzadera) just before last summer, when the school I was at took all of the students and faculty to the Parque de las Attraciones here in Madrid. I could never have imagined the sheer terror I was about to feel in those five or so seconds. But that day, I had resolved that I was going to ride every single ride that the teachers I was with wanted to. Why? Because I never want to be a slave to, or held captive by, my fear. And hey, I survived didn't I? I even had fun! That is, after I had changed my pants of course.
Telling our parents that we were moving to Spain/spending last summer in Turkey/not moving back to Colorado permanently when we leave Spain this spring have all been conversations that I have not exactly been eager about. In a lot of ways, life was good when we lived within two hours of all of our immediate family members, so delivering the news...again...and again that we're choosing to locate ourselves farther away has been daunting. Once you get it all out though, it's really not so bad, and sometimes people are even excited for you and your plans! ;)
And actually moving to Spain, well, we were certainly excited about that, but selling our second car, packing up all of our belongings (aside from a few stuffed suitcases), and leaving the only home we'd known together for a place we'd never been - I'd be lying if I said it wasn't at least a little bit scary. But then as we tried it out - took our TEFL course, began teaching English classes, found a church, made some friends, started to get our feet under us, and we realized that we could do it. We could live abroad, we could do crazy things like leave everything and everyone we knew across the ocean to give some ideas we hatched while in college a try...and two and a half years later, we're still here, giving it our best shot.
When we first arrived in Istanbul, we were picked up from the airport in a car and taken to the university where we lived and worked all summer. After spending a day settling into our dorm room, we were eager to get off of campus, but were a little apprehensive about going into Istanbul on our own - how would we find things? How would things go with our limited (okay, fine, nonexistent) Turkish abilities? Would we fare okay without working cell phones? I'm not sure we were scared...just intimidated. Once we got off the metro though and started walking around, Istanbul was, in many ways, like any other new city we've visited - we just figured things out as we went.
Danny and I are getting ready to leave Spain this week and before long we'll be returning to the U.S. There are a lot (A LOT) of unknowns in the coming days and months and when I really sit down and think about them, I can sense surges of fear. We have so much to consider, so many details to work out, so many things to coordinate, sometimes it just seems like it would be easier to not try anything new, to just stick with what we've tried and what we know...but then I remember all the times before. Every time I went down the waterslide and it was not only "not so bad," but actually a lot of fun, and all the places we've seen and explored because we dared to go somewhere new, and all the people we've met because we started what could've been an awkward conversation. You might not do something twice, but if you just try it once...it probably won't be as bad as you've made it out to be...and may be really worth it in the end.