A few weeks ago, I got into my car after meeting my parents for lunch at a restaurant in a random Michigan town and, for about the hundredth time that day, I looked down at my phone to check my email. My stomach dropped when I saw that the message I had been waiting for was finally there.
I got it.
I started screaming and crying while sitting in the strip mall parking lot. The email notified me that I have been selected to receive a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship for the 2013-2014 school year. I will be moving to Montenegro in September to teach, advise, and learn at a university. My love of higher education and passion for international travel will finally merge again.
I will spend the next few months trying to prepare myself for life in a new country: Studying up on Montenegrin history and culture, spending as much time with family and friends as possible, transitioning out of my current job, trying to figure out how to pack for ten months abroad; and – oh, yes – attempting to learn an entirely new language so I can get by when my plane lands in Podgorica.
While I am excited to my core, I cannot deny that the prospect of leaving my U.S. life behind for ten months terrifies me a bit. At the risk of sounding arrogant: I love my life. I have the best family anyone could ask for, amazing friends, an adorable apartment, a job that’s both fun and challenging, phenomenal colleagues, and I live in a town I’m (usually) in love with. It makes me sad when I think of the things I’ll miss – weddings, holidays, even just hanging out with the people I care about. However, my life has gotten almost too comfortable since I finished grad school, and the excitement for the adventures I am sure to have abroad outweighs the apprehension.
I feel like I’ve been sitting back on my heels these past couple of years, enjoying the repose. But I’m not ready to settle down quite yet – I have so much more to do, see, and learn. It’s time to step out of my comfort zone and start living life on my toes again. After all, it seems that the experiences that stretch us and scare us tend to be the ones that end up being the most impactful. I’m ready for some adventure. I am beyond grateful that the Fulbright Program is giving me the opportunity to dive headfirst into newness and immerse myself into Montenegrin culture… and I am so excited to see what will come of it!
I have a feeling my writing will be getting a bit more interesting in the coming months…