Well, this is it. Tomorrow begins my journey.

I’m thrilled and excited and ready to go, but the nerves are starting to creep in—feelings of having forgotten something or done something wrong and plain old nostalgia.

In addition to packing and goodbyes and last-minute preparations (honestly, I’ve had all this time just for waiting, yet I still somehow managed to put everything off until the last second…), I’ve been trying to cram as much America as possible into these last few days.

Family, pets (some of them may still end up packed away in my suitcase if they’re not careful), friends, peanut butter, taco bell, personal space, football (ok, so I won’t miss football at all), driving, my radio station (though, technically, that’s Canadian…), warmth, turkey, microwaves, smiling at strangers… I’m sure that once I’m gone, I’ll remember other things to miss. On the plus side, I probably won’t have to miss hockey season after all—so yay Lockout?

Of course, I have had to balance my America-cramming with my excitement for Russia—checking out the weather forecasts, drooling over pictures of Lake Baikal, reminiscing about my time in St. Petersburg, and watching this video (I find the song quite catchy, so that’s a bonus!):

I’m in for quite a journey, though you probably won’t hear from me for a while. After 13 hours of travel, I will arrive in Moscow at 2AM eastern time Saturday morning, and then I have to keep myself awake all day so I’m not too jetlagged for orientation on Sunday. I’m looking forward to meeting all the other ETAs and to learning how to be a teacher. Then, next Friday, I’ll arrive in Ulan-Ude (probably inviting another round of jetlag-battling).

What happens after that is for no one to know and me to find out!

I leave you with a (nerdy but applicable) quote from another short-statured, cheery, bright-color-loving adventurer:

“It’s a dangerous business…, going out of your door. You step into the road and, if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”—Bilbo Baggins


About Arielle

I am a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Ulan-Ude at the Buryat State Agricultural Academy.
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