by Traveling School Student (TTS24 Alumna), Fall 2014 Southern Africa Semester
“I got up at least five minutes past my alarm. I was awake, I just didn’t want to get out of bed and face the shocking cold air for the sake of a typical Monday morning. Plus, it left me in a bad mood to hear the alarm, that same wake-up song every morning, yet it was my fault that I hadn’t changed it. The sky was still night-time dark and I was too asleep to turn on the light, let alone force my eyes to adjust. I pulled on a sweatshirt, some jeans and a backpack full of books, grabbed a granola bar and walked out of the door in the blur of morning haze. Snow sloshed beneath my boots and it took forever for the car to warm up. I was two minutes late to first period.
I was ready to get a move on with my life, do something productive. I didn’t feel accomplished when I finished my homework on time. It didn’t even matter if I turned in my homework at all. Grades have never really motivated me. I used to like learning itself, and I was worried that soon, I would become irreversibly disengaged. I was becoming somewhat like a zombie and nothing could re energize me.
What I wanted was to be sure. I wanted to invest fully in a passion, but I was scared that it would mean not being able to love anything else. After all, the most powerful works are the ones done with the whole heart, the ones that often take a whole lifetime. To me, if I couldn’t tell you a singular passion, I didn’t actually have any, and if I didn’t have any, what would I become? I wanted to be sure about everything down to my favorite color. I knew that I had to invest in something. I had to figure it out quickly.
I hated the feeling; it was like my stomach was stuck too far up my rib cage, limiting the amount of oxygen available to my lungs. Or maybe I couldn’t breathe because I was not alive enough to validate the use of oxygen. I’d lived with this discomfort for too long. I felt sick. I decided that I needed a change.
I’m sure my face was still red from the hot tears that came with the goodbyes. I sat on the airplane next to a stranger, a girl my own age, with the same passions and desires as my own, but we talked only of the weather and why we chose the blue backpack over the black one. I stared out the airplane window at the clear blue sky until eight hours had passed and we landed at a refuel station. A refuel station in Africa.” Continue…
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