"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."
What I've Done. - For the past year, I've run a server with a modified game on it free for players all over the world to use and access. I can be proud in saying that I have...
7 years ago