Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Adventure That Started It All

August 17, 1998 I walked out of my door and started the biggest adventure of my life.

I cannot believe that 17 years ago today I arrived in Belarus, 17, exhausted, and away from home for the first time. I had no idea what was coming and I was already feeling a little homesick. When we arrived at my host family's house, I had to crash, and it seemed like I slept for days. It was only actually a couple hours. That evening we went to a school yard, or somewhere where all my host sister's friends were, but to was really dark and my brain was so fuzzy that I don't remember it very clearly.

The first few days were kinda difficult, trying to adjust, not being able to understand much of anything that was going on around me. I talked to mom after having been there for a week. We talked for about 8 minutes and I believe I cried for 7.5 of them.

It was a big deal for me to learn to not only navigate Dzerzhinsk, but also Minsk, and to learn train and bus schedules so I could get to school and home on my own.

I am a true believer in study abroad opportunities! I truly believe that my experience shaped the person I would become. I learned independence, got bit by the travel bug, and fell in love. All at the ripe age of 17.

Reading through my journal brings back so many memories. It will always be one of the best times in my life!

Bolshoi Theater, Moscow

My first time in Red Squre

Tsar Canon in the Kremlin

Tsar Bell in Kremlin

My host parents and Uncle John and his wife on New Year's Eve

My host mom Natasha

My host sisters Nastya and Kate

The view from upstairs

My room

The kitchen

Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad)

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