Gate B38. I am currently sitting at the JFK airport at Gate B38 because at 8:42PM I will be boarding my flight to Dakar, Senegal. My bags have been checked, I’ve gone through security, I have my boarding pass in hand and yet it still hasn’t hit me. I can’t believe that in less than 24 hours I will be in Africa AND in a French speaking country (those who know me well know my true obsession with the language).
There isn’t much I can say right now because I’m honestly still in disbelief. I went through a lot of hardship with this trip, from applying after the deadline to figuring out the finances to getting my vaccines etc. But all in all I knew this wasn’t an opportunity I was going to pass up and I truly thank all the people who supported me and constantly reminded me what the end goal was. This trip has really shown me that things really do have a way of working themselves out when they’re suppose to and I’m truly grateful.
I’m excited, to try new food, to meet my host family, to test my French skills, to learn a little Wolof, to experience Dakar, Senegal! But I’m also nervous. I’m nervous to be surrounded by a culture so different than my own and risking doing/saying/wearing something they might find disrespectful; I’d never want to offend others I hope to learn so much from. I’m nervous because I know the country isn’t the safest in the world and although I try not to think about it too much everyone makes sure to constantly remind me (even my cousin who called me to remind me to be EXTREMELY careful as I was walking through airport security). I’m nervous because I got my vaccine a little late so I won’t be protected from yellow fever for the first couple of days (it’s okay, I loaded up on bug spray 😅). But no matter how many more things I might be nervous about my excitement for the journey I’m embarking on today and for the amount of growth these next 3 weeks will provide me triumph above all.
Right before starting this entry I read the first entry I wrote once I arrived in Chile a year ago. I can’t believe it’s been a year since that experience and that I stayed true to my word to study abroad at least once more before completing my undergraduate career. Needless to say I’m excited to once again share my experiences with all those willing to read about it so stay tuned.