Baba & Howdy (1) – Leaving Home for the Unknown

It’s hard to leave behind what you love for something you don’t even know.
Honestly, I was scared as f*ck to leave home. I knew, I was only for five months but that’s quite a long time for someone who has been in one place forever. Vienna is the city I grew up in, I’d never been somewhere else for a longer span of time. I didn’t need to move to another city for studying, I’d never had to leave my comfort zone before. Never had I been away from my family more than a few weeks and I’d admit it at every time: I’m a family person and I couldn’t imagine to not see my parents and my younger bro for a whole semester. Also, I couldn’t think of not having my great friends around, friends I’ve known for more than ten years. People, who take me as I am. People, who still love me, even though they know even my darkest sides and worst habits. People, who I can be myself around, knowing, they don’t judge me, knowing, they’re on the same page as I am.  How am I supposed to enjoy parties and have fun when my favourite persons to celebrate with are on another continent?! I didn’t get it. During the weeks before my departure I doubted my decision (which was made long before, when everything seemed too surreal to worry about it) to study abroad on a regular basis. I wasn’t sure why I was even going…
Just because random people told me that their exchange semester had been the best time of their life? Because it would look good on my resume? Because I need to improve my English? Of course, that where some of the reasons. But there was something else. Deep down inside me, there was a secret wish. The wish, to prove myself, and everyone else, that I can do it. That I can be on my own. That I can survive in a new environment, without all my loved ones. If so many people could do it, why shouldn’t I be able to finally leave my comfort zone and experience another kind of life?! So, I did it. Because I’m not a coward, not a little girl but an independent grown-up. Actually, I didn’t even believe it myself. But I jumped into the cold water and just hoped, I wouldn’t drown.
The worst part was the night before my flight to the U.S. I didn’t sleep a single minute. Thoughts kept running through my head. Tears came and went. Tragic Good-bye-scenes filled my mind and the fear of leaving my beloved home was killing me. (I am an emotional person, yes. It sounds like dramatizing things but I actually felt this way.)  BUT that was the hardest part, as I should learn later (at least up to now).
The day I left, my lovely best friends surprisingly showed up at the airport to say good bye, together with my family. I was in such a hurry to catch the flight, I didn’t even have time to be sad. (That still kind of bothers me by the way, I wanted a handkerchief-waving-movie-scene.) At the plane I realised that I was really doing this and kind of wanted to jump out of the airplane, go home, crawl into my cosy bed and act as if nothing had happened. The friendly Stewardess wouldn’t let me do it though. So I flew to America, for the first time ever and spent a few days in cold, grey New York together with my Viennese colleagues. The impressive/depressing city didn’t exactly have a positive influence on my unsteady mood but then, it all got a lot better when…
I arrived in Austin, Texas. I was really looking forward to getting there. I couldn’t wait to see the city I would live at for the next months. The flight was short and even though I doubted that the tiny plane could actually fly us through whole North America, we landed there safely sometime in the afternoon. It was an exceptional beautiful January day. The doors opened and when I set my foot on Texan earth for the first time, it was an extraordinary moment. The sun stroke my skin which got used to freezing temperatures. For a moment, all my concerns and doubts got melted away by the sun’s rays. The warm air smelled like summer and I felt like arriving at some tropical holiday destination. I took a deep breath, inhaling this soothing smell of vacation and realised that everything will be fine. Texas had me now and I was finally ready to embrace this experience. I was ready to enjoy my exchange semester. I was ready to rock Austin!
 To be continued…



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