adventuresofarestlessmind

Archive for October 2013

Every time I get cabin fever and decide go explore somewhere off campus, in Boston, I wonder, why don’t I do this more often?
 
Lately I’m finding that the more I explore Boston and surrounding areas, the more readiness and excitement I feel about leaving the country.  
 
(That’s not an insult to Boston at all.  I really believe it’s the perfect college city — it has the bookstores, the collegiate coffee shops, and so many ice cream options.) 
 
I say that because today I hopped on the Boston weekend shuttle and went to Harvard Square to see the street piano near the famous Harvard Square Starbucks.  (It’s on Brattle Street, if you know the area.)   
 
A British artist started a project called “Play Me, I’m Yours” to put beautifully hand-painted pianos on city streets, for anyone to play, and the project came to Boston this month!  Here is more information on it: http://www.streetpianos.com/   (See, I knew I picked the right country to study abroad in!)

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The piano: 

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Air Traffic Controller, the band that came by to play a free show: 

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And a video of them: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=225889997573861&set=vb.145080375654824&type=2&theater

Playing and listening to music, even surrounded by total strangers, I felt a beautiful, magical sense of connection.  Connection to the people there, and to the city of Boston/Cambridge.  Music does that for people, like nothing else can.  I felt it when I sat down to play “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane and the lead singer of the band said that was one of his favorite songs as well.

And this is what I’m most looking forward to about going abroad — the chance to walk the streets of many new cities and feel their essence, for however long I’m there. 

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“I’m on my way, don’t know where I’m going, I’m on my way, taking my time but I don’t know where” 

I’ve been waiting to write this post with wonderful news to share — I was officially accepted to spend Spring Semester 2014 at Queen Mary, University of London!  I’m going on the Arcadia program, so if any other accepted students see this, please write to me!

(I sure hope this government shutdown is resolved by the time I leave the US.  Does anyone else find it terribly ironic that America was born from a Tea Party against the Brits, and now our very own Tea Party is our downfall?  Political karma in action.)

So this will be my campus, a new home away from home-away-from-home:
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Study abroad has always seemed so far off in the distant horizon, until it hit me yesterday: My program starts on January 1, 2014.  That is 3 months from today, October 1.  At this very moment in 3 months, I will be either on an international flight, or setting foot in England.  I am a self-imposed expatriate.
So I have three months to finalize my flight arrangements and get a student visa.  But that’s only the beginning.
Three months to prove to my parents that their baby girl is prepared and ready to live in another country, while in reality, I’m just as terrified as anyone.
Three months to vacillate between anticipation of all that lies ahead, and sadness for what I’m (temporarily) leaving behind.  It’s happening already: I get so excited looking at destinations for excursions all over Europe.  Then I think about how I’ll miss my cozy Brandeis routine.  And the dear friend who brought me tea when I was sick all weekend, and even the familiar acquaintances who I pass on the way up the Rabb Steps — I may not see any of them for 8 months.
Three months to learn some easy and edible recipes, because I won’t be on a meal plan at Queen Mary.  I’m going to be living with British flatmates, and I cannot be that dumb American student who can’t cook.
I hope the locals like me despite any cultural differences, and if I make mistakes while adjusting to life another country, I hope they understand that I don’t represent America as a whole.
I hope the students on my program from other schools understand the love of learning, activism, introversion, and curiosity that is my life at Brandeis.

I don’t know what else to expect right now.  Setting expectations for something completely new is like trying to remember an event that hasn’t happened yet.  I just know that every day I hope to feel a little more ready, until it’s time to go.
My mom sent me back to school with this quote for inspiration: “A parent’s job is to send their children off with roots, and wings.”  So this period of time is about strengthening my wings. Onwards I go, with my favorite journey-related songs in mind, like this one:
Until next time,
Rachel