Credit card in hand and my travel partner by my side, I clicked the big orange button at the bottom of the browser page that read, “confirm booking.” With the click of a button my flight to Singapore was booked.
About seven months ago I got an email from the Ryerson exchange program when I was sitting on my bed with two of my best friends. I forced them to open the email because I was too nervous to do it myself. “The faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) is pleased to extend to you an offer to participate in the Ryerson FCAD Exchange Program for the Winter 2017 semester at Nanyang Technological University,” they read the email aloud.
We instantly started screaming and hugging each other. I was ecstatic to be accepted into the program.
After my acceptance I started reading about Southeast Asia and hung a map in my room to help solidify my acceptance. But even with these little things, my departure date was still eight months away. The reality of the trip loomed in the distance like an essay due at the end of the semester, so naturally it fell to the back of my mind.
Every once in a while people would ask me about it and I would be reminded of the approaching date. It wasn’t until this week that I realized exactly how close my departure is. In one month I’ll be living in a new country almost 15,000 kilometres away from my home in Toronto. I’ll be fully immersed in a new culture, one of many different foods, rituals and traditions. The food will be full of unknown spices; my January and February will not be filled with snow; my life will be dramatically different for five months.
When I clicked that orange button the reality of moving to the other side of the world crashed into me like an ocean wave on a rocky shore. That night I couldn’t fall asleep. I stayed up in bed until the early hours of the morning just thinking about my new adventure. To pass the time I flipped through my travel book and looked at all the pages I had marked with sticky notes. Things like canyoneering in Cebu, Philippines and mountain climbing in Malaysia stood out under yellow highlighter markings. These places were no longer things I dreamt about doing “one day” – they would soon become real.
Even though there are so many exciting things to look forward to, I’m still weary about being gone from my friends and family for almost half a year. It will be the first time I’ve ever lived in a new city, let alone a new country. It would be naïve for me to think everything will go over perfectly. I know I’m going to miss my people in Toronto, my bed and my dog. But living in a new country is something I’ve always wanted to do, so I am going to get on that plane when January 1 comes around.
Sitting on a 16-hour flight to my new (temporary) home I will be glad I clicked that orange button.
Follow me and my experience in Singapore through the RUAbroad series, right here on RU Student Life.