When I was 16, I decided to leave my small hometown of Beaverton, Oregon, where I’d lived since birth, to go overseas and study in New Zealand. I have no idea how I made this decision, or why I wanted to leave home, but the idea quickly got legs and before I knew it, there I was, boarding a plane and madly hugging goodbye my friends, family and my high-school sweetheart. I got on the plane, walked down the aisle to my window seat, sat down…and promptly burst in tears. Crying quickly escalated into hysterical sobbing, much to the alarm of the poor man in the next seat. He tried to calm me down, and asked the flight attendant for a cup of water.
I tried to take a sip, but I was crying too hard to even choke it down. Right then, I made another big decision – I hurried off the plane, and ran screaming after my taken aback parents. They were having none of it. They reminded me I had made a decision to which I was now committed and sent me right back to my allocated seat to follow through on it.
After this dramatic start, the rest of the journey was uneventful. Well, to be honest, I can’t remember much of the rest of my journey. Just a quick phone call from a pay phone in L.A. to let my parents know I got there safely, and then, my next clear memory was walking into arrivals and looking around, though unsure as to what I was looking for. Then I saw the sign, ‘Welcome to New Zealand Tracy’ – and there they were, my Kiwi family! My host Mum, Dad, Sister and Brother. They took me home and settled me in my new room. They gave me a quick tour, I met the neighbors – one of whom was the principal of the school I was to attend – and we ate.
I’d like to report that at this point I was wondering what all my pre-departure hysteria had been about, but no, I wasn’t done with the crying. Not even nearly. All I remember of those first few weeks were the endless tears and aching homesickness – oh, and the beating myself for not ‘thinking it through’. Surely if I had have thought this through, I’d be back home now instead of sobbing down the line on my once a week, very expensive phone-call home?...(Read more.)
Read the rest of this post, “Lessons on Fear & Change from Mark Twain & My Ten Year Old Twins,” by Tracy Kennedy, by clicking HERE.
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