The countdown has begun

19 Dec 2019

Psychology student Saira Wahid is preparing for 4 months in Japan. She is going to study there, far away from Nijmegen and the comfortable Radboud life she has created for herself. For Vox, she blogs about the time leading up to studying in Japan, and eventually about her time there.

It’s December – and therefore it’s Christmas time again. The time that is supposed to bring us all closer together, to snuggle up and to become aware of our blessings again. I love this time of the year. Not because of my religious beliefs but rather because I love to get contaminated with everyone’s happiness around me. It calms me down and makes me think for the whole month of December: life is good. And this December is no different. I have taken a long breath and slowed down my daily rhythm, and more importantly, I have slowed down my cold feet.

As I shared with you in my last blog post, over the past weeks I had slowly been gliding into the disorder I like to call ‘Wander-at-home-lust’. In other words, I had been doubting whether it really is such a good idea to head out into a new country when I am so comfortable with my current living situation.

‘I am not going to Japan to maintain my socially awkward side’

In the wake of Christmas, my anxiety has (finally!) slowly transformed into joyful anticipation. I have reached the point where I can tell people about my departure to Japan and NOT start sweating buckets realising it’s happening so soon. This also means that I can finally start to actually prepare my journey. In this context, questions arise in my mind like: ‘Who is gonna live in my apartment when I’m in Japan?’, ‘What should I take with me?’ and most importantly, ‘To which of my sisters did I lend which of my clothes?’.

Another nagging question is when I am going to book my flight. Yup that’s right, I still didn’t do that – I couldn’t decide yet whether I want to arrive in Japan just in time to recover from my unavoidable jetlag and start with university, or if I should go a whole week in advance to get to know the area in advance. My socially awkward side is strongly tending towards option A, but on the other hand I am not going to Japan to maintain my socially awkward side. (If anyone has a tip for me on what to choose from the two, let me know!)

So in the end, despite my one month-long cold feet, I have come to terms with my departure towards Japan. Even more, I am finally starting to look forward to it again! Thank you Santa, for bringing me my Christmas gift early this year in the form of regained confidence in me going abroad. I guess more or less everyone just has to go through a short phase of doubt before heading on such an adventure.

In fact, I have even seen a diagram that shows the typical mood-curve that students going abroad apparently go through (spoiler warning: there is a small dip in the curve a few weeks before going). But according to the diagram, I should be in a better mood for the upcoming weeks! Let’s see how much we can trust the figures…

Since this is my last blog post for this calendar year, I wish all of you who are celebrating a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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