Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Night Before...

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -Harold R. McAlindon
While other people have made the path of the exchange program, it is not the most traveled one, and the way I came upon this exchange is quite unique when combined with the kind of person I am and my life here in Pittsburgh before this happened.

As I sit here in my dad's chair typing this since my laptop is packed, I'm thinking about a lot of things. People have asked me as this next day got nearer, "Are you ready?". While the first answer might be "yes", what makes one truly ready? How can you be ready for a completely different country? Does researching every aspect really make one "ready"? The culture could be similar or completely different. I have to get used to a new currency, and I'm still worrying about if my bank card will allow me to get NZ dollars. I have no idea how the people will react to me, whether Maori or Pakeha. I don't know how I'll like my new family (And the 3 month thing has been resolved, it's a standard thing just to make sure you are ready for hosting a student for longer), or how they'll like me. There are so many things that I don't know about, it's hard to say if I'm really "ready". But maybe not being totally ready is quite good, since then I get to experience new things. It's kind of like choosing to play a video game using a strategy guide or not. You can either be prepared for everything that comes at you and know expertly how to deal with it, or perhaps you will take each plot twist as it comes, and enjoy figuring out each new aspect that you learn. Personally, I didn't do a ton of research, as I like finding out the cultural twists and turns as they come, and also if I had looked it up and it happened to be wrong, I would have a harder time adjusting.

Another thing I am thinking about is that people are saying I will change throughout this program. While everyone's saying that the change is good, some things still worry me. Will I not like things that I used to like, or find newfound enemies in old friends? That is the one true thing I am afraid of throughout this journey, with the exception of contracting some deadly disease or being badly or mortally wounded in some way. As I am in New Zealand, will I pick up things that I would not want to pick up? Will I find out that what I think about my own self-control and conscience won't be enough to resist certain things? There are just so many things that I'm worrying about that I probably shouldn't have to. This experience is totally new, and I'm hoping that it will turn out to be a fantastic one, with only a small amount of problems.

One final thing I'm thinking about is school. I'm going to be hopping in in the middle of the second semester, and I have no idea what will happen relating to my grades, or my home GPA. I've heard that I might have to take summer school or redo a year. Personally, that's the one thing at home that I'm scared about the most. I wouldn't mind taking summer school, but most of my friends are in higher grades or in the same grade as me. If I have to redo a year, I won't have nearly as much contact with them during the school days as I did before, and another year of school just wouldn't be too fun for me in general.

Well it's time that I finally went to sleep for the last time in my hometown for a long time. I'd like to thank everyone who is reading this, and ask them to keep following my adventures as I go into this completely different world. I'd also like to thank my family for helping make this possible as well as helping me along to reach this new path, and also I'd like to thank my friends who have supported me on my way to New Zealand. Even though some of them may have not wanted me to go, they still stayed with me anyway with my friends who agreed, and that is why they are all true friends of mine.

Now in the words of journalist Edward R. Murrow:
"Good Night, and Good Luck."


Anonymous said...

Goodluck and best wishes to you... I send you my love and care; enjoy the journey through the program as you grow and change with the world around you...

-Kiersten Ehmann

Emily (Bishop) said...

See, I think you are amazing for being able to do this. A whole year would be the scariest thing for me. Not being ready is just part of it. Whenever I went to China earlier this summer, even just for 2 weeks, I wasn't ready to go, because I was leaving so much here on hold which was scary to me, because I didn't know what things would be like when I came back or how people had changed. That is part of what makes it amazing, that you are going to be able to do this.
You might change while you're in New Zealand, and change can be good. Many times it normally is. But no matter how much you change you're still going to be Andy.
I hope you have an amazing time.
Facebook me=]]

Mom said...

I'm impressed by your thoughtful, honest and reflective comments, Andy. Thank you for sharing your feelings and experiences thus far. You've embarked on an awesome journey and I give you credit for undertaking it. You, go, explorer man! :-) (I can just hear you groaning...). Much love, Mom

scott said...

hey andy! thanks for your candid thoughts. although this is a time of great upheaval causing you fear, my hopes are that things will settle quickly for you so that you may experience this wonderful opportunity fully. Remember it is out of our ignorance that fear is born. Be open to learning and knowing. You and your brother are becoming more confident and resilient as you grow. Use this experience to develop these desirous traits. And remember what that famous rock n' roll philosopher Mick Jagger opined "i know it's only rock and roll.....but i like it!" keep well, Scott

j.scherch said...

damn man. write me an english paper sometime. :-P

have fun in new zealand! hope you're not too glad to be rid of me.

- your big bro

Ellie said...

hey andy!
i will miss you tons..and though it's not the day before yet, i know atleast some of what you are going through.
if you ever ever need to talk, you have my blog, my facebook, my phone number. tell me all about new zealand as soon as you get the chance! i can't wait to hear all about it. i hope things are going great with your family and your city and...well, just everything.

I understand that it is overwhelming, trust me, i do. but wow, can you believe we are doing this?

:] Ellie

Jonathan Scherch said...

Mr. Ambassador, you (and your Mountaineer older brother) make us very proud indeed! Have a great time, learn as much as you can, take lots of pictures, be cool and keep in touch. Best wishes from West Seattle. -- Uncle Jonathan & Aunt Michelle

Jonathan Scherch said...

Mr. Ambassador, you (and your Mountaineer older brother) make us very proud indeed! Have a great time, learn as much as you can, take lots of pictures, be cool and keep in touch. Best wishes from West Seattle. -- Uncle Jonathan & Aunt Michelle

Heidi said...

Heyyyy, (think i have enough y's?)
i dont know how you do it. I could never go away for an entire year...to another country! You have guts. I would miss my friends and family and my boyfriend. I hope u have tons of fun! Dont forget 2 get me a present =P lol jk but i wanna see pictures when you get back and i wanna know all about it...and i lied i do want a present =D hehe well u better keep in touch with me through facebook or something but i wanna know ure @ least alive hahaha ok well i hope ure safely there already. Ttyl

Will Nichols said...


First That, Then you better have a good time while you're in New Zealand. If you dont I will find you. Best Of Luck, You Forgot Your Socks at my Cabin BTW.

Will Nichols said...

Easier Way To the URL From Before if HTML Works

Will said...

Oh Yeah Nerd Skillz

Will said...

A few HTML codes,
all are in brackets < or >, Replace the Parenthesis with brackets.
(a HREF="webpage URL") Link Text (/a)

Close all of your tags after the text with a (/FONT) (/a) etc.

Anonymous said...

Ignore those who focus on such shallow items as haircuts. . . you are an amazing, brave and incredible spirit. You will learn what friendship means. It is not about haircuts. We are so proud of you, Andy, and know you will learn more than you can even imagine.
All our love.
Shirlee and Dad