Exchange column: my life in other shoes

I had my passport in hand, my money in my belt, and my luggage on the plane. What was I missing? I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was heading across the ocean and that I had forgotten something at home. All throughout hugging my parents and sisters goodbye, crossing through airport security, and while boarding my plane I just could not shake this feeling. As I took my seat my mind flashed back to the last day of grade school. I cried while hugging all of my friends, terrified of what was coming next. Would we all still be friends? Would the teachers spoon-feed us? I was comfortable in my classroom of ten years; I was safe. I then started to think about the end of high school: did I change all that much? I was still petrified at the thought of leaving familiarity. Did I just get older and none the wiser?

Alexandra Biniarz

Special to the Lance

I had my passport in hand, my money in my belt, and my luggage on the plane. What was I missing? I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was heading across the ocean and that I had forgotten something at home. All throughout hugging my parents and sisters goodbye, crossing through airport security, and while boarding my plane I just could not shake this feeling. As I took my seat my mind flashed back to the last day of grade school. I cried while hugging all of my friends, terrified of what was coming next. Would we all still be friends? Would the teachers spoon-feed us? I was comfortable in my classroom of ten years; I was safe. I then started to think about the end of high school: did I change all that much? I was still petrified at the thought of leaving familiarity. Did I just get older and none the wiser?

I looked back at this past week and saw how this fear crept up on me again, and how often I thought to myself “Wouldn’t it be nice to just sit on my familiar couch, with the same food, and the typical book in hand? Why do I have to go?” I sat there as the plane was taking off thinking, always thinking, about how many times I have overheard the words: “I’m going to travel the world one day,” and how little people actually go through with it. Raise your hand if you have said this at least once in your life? Don’t lie, you know that you have. Now question number two: how many of you have actually left your hometown? Country? If you have, you’re one step closer to where you want to be; if you haven’t, go. So many of us lie to ourselves and say that when we grow up, and save enough money, we will hop on the next plane to Europe, Asia, Australia or all of the above. To be realistic, how will you do this with your future jobs or families approaching? I was not about to lie to myself, I knew that this is the time: my youth. This is the time to explore everything the world has to offer me, to shape who I will be.

It dawned on me that I have wanted to write for my entire life, but what about? I have lived in the same city for twenty years and that is all that I know: safe and sound Windsor, Ontario. Now don’t get me wrong, being tucked in at night and knowing that I’m safe is more than I can ask for, but where do I find the excitement? Where do I find my story about getting delayed in Iceland for 24 hours and getting to see the Northern Lights by mistake? Creativity only goes so far, and then comes the experience to back it up. This experience is the chance for re-invention and the opportunity to shed the person people have made me to be, and become who I am supposed to be on my own terms.

Along with the turbulence over Greenland, my thoughts shook as well. It was clear that what I had thought that I had forgotten at home, along with my favourite sweater, was the old version of me. Was I upset to leave her behind? Would I like the new me? Could I really disconnect myself with the past and open up to who I knew I wanted to be? I had so many questions shaking around and I did not know the answer to a single one. Wondering, a feeling that ordinarily made me feel uncomfortable was starting to fit me better. My future was unclear, and my mind was a mess, but for once I did not care. I knew one thing, the most important thing: that France better look out for this University of Windsor exchange student; she’s got a pen in her hand and a mind full of fresh thoughts.

“In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed” —Sid Caesar

1 Comment on Exchange column: my life in other shoes

  1. UWindsor Exchange Office // 2014/04/08 at 9:31 am // Reply

    LOVE it! Keep up the good work 🙂

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