Sunday, July 13, 2014

Things I didn't think were possible

(.....but apparently are.)

This is a list of things that (especially now that I am home) are crazy to think that I was able to do.

Survive without a phone for 6 months: I bought a 4th generation iPod touch and deactivated my iPhone 5 before I came, with the logic that my iPod could do exactly what my phone could do with wifi. I figured I might as well not even risk bringing a phone since affordable service there was not even a guarantee. Wifi is definitely more sparse than at home, but I usually figured out a solution when absolutely necessary. There were a couple of moments when I wished I had it, but 99.8% of the time it was no problem. I highly suggest the apps Magic Jack (free unlimited calls to the US!), textfree (free unlimited texts to US numbers), and duh, FaceTime and Skype. Honestly, being unplugged is kind of nice. I've never been a big texter anyways.

Sleep in an airport: The key is to find a booth and lay down...not half bad. Don't forget to snuggle with your purse and luggage, which is very important.

Communicate without speaking: There was a couple of times where the language barrier made for an opportunity to use hand gestures and carefully pronounce location names. I was shocked every time just how well it worked out with just a little extra effort from both sides. 

Appreciate peanut butter more than ever before: good source of protein with no refrigeration required...a travelers dream. 

Plan trips last second: there were some close calls (like not having a place to sleep 6 hours before the fact) but by some odd miracle it always worked out

Figure out how to read a map: there was a couple of times where I had turned myself around, but for the most part, I was a pretty darn good navigator. Especially those tourist maps with the monuments on them...what a great idea. 

Ask for help in another language: So high school French and one semester of Norwegian weren't a total waste of time? Cool. 

Pass 4 classes while barely attending class: Only in Sweden...

Learn how to navigate public transport: Probably won't use this new knowledge until I cross the pond again, but at least I know it's there.

Feel homesick for a country I have never lived: do you do this to me? 

Couchsurf: For those of you who don't know, it is a free online system where you find a good match in the city of choice where they have an open place to sleep for travelers. The trade-off is to spend time with the host and to talk about your travels. Sometimes they even show you around their city. It is a way for them to travel without leaving their house, so to speak. I did it on 3 occasions, and had nothing but awesome experiences. I would highly recommend it, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to make sure to read the hosts' profiles carefully and to not do it alone, just to be safe.

Become more bold with my style: I am a lot less afraid to dress "weird"...if I feel good, I am wearing it! Fashion is just another way to express yourself...and it is okay for people to know you are a little weird and rocking it :)

Get by in a country with not only a different language...but alphabet!: The key is trusting your eyes to decide what you want...and pointing...and hoping for the best. Whew.

Learn more from other people than any class I could ever take: I cherish all of those conversations about how different all of our countries are, yet being aware of how alike we are as people. That is so incredible and amazing to me. I have never appreciated my fellow humans more in my life. If everyone could have an experience like that, I'm confident that we would have so much more peace in the world.

Feel like I could be happy living anywhere: Now that I know that I can be content as long as I am in good company, I will be much more open minded as to where life takes me. 

Feel as if I can do anything: This crazy decision sure turned out great, so why wouldn't the next one? 

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