Here I sit in my corner of gate C6 in the Washington-Dulles airport, about to embark on the single most mind-opening journey of my life thus far. I feel like I'm on the cusp of my adult life. Literally, in a way, I am. Not only am I hours away from travelling the globe, but tonight at midnight, while thousands of miles high in the night sky, I will turn twenty years old. In four hours, not only will I be transitioning into a potentially life-altering semester, but I will also be transitioning out of the teen years and into adulthood. This is a very bittersweet feeling.
On a lighter note, the travels so far haven't been too bad. We left Pittsburgh this afternoon at 3pm after a bit of a delay, and have been at the Washington-Dulles airport since 4. You'd think I'd be more nervous, too. The thing is, since deciding to join the Pitt MAP 2011 cohort this past October, I haven't really felt anything but excitement. My nerves didn't show face until this morning when saying goodbye to my parents at the Pittsburgh airport. This whole trip didn't feel like it was really happening until that moment.
Immediately following our goodbye, I was shepherded to security and away from all that's really familiar. Just when I thought my nerves were going to take the best of me, a small pick-me-up happened at the security desk. One of my fellow travellers, Clara, was directly in front of me in line for security. She handed her ticket and passport to the intimidating guard behind the desk, who proceeded to nervously tort, "uh-oh!" He let the stressed tension that his remark caused hang in the air for a second, only to flash his pearly whites and let out an embracing laugh a few seconds later. He told us he was just making sure we were awake.
That minor laugh so early in our travels expelled any remaining doubt within me, any doubt that even let me think for a second that I'm in over my head. Bring it on, world.