Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Forgetting to Shop

Dad asked me to sit down and write something that I'll be able to look back on in ten years or so, when I'm twenty six, and see what I was thinking like now, at sixteen. I imagine myself with slightly bigger hips and different clothing sitting and laughing fondly with people at the things I expected and thought and said when I was sixteen. 
I told someone at ATA on Tuesday that we had forty-seven days left, and she says, "For what?"
"We're going around the world." When I looked to see the woman's reaction her face was something like this: O_O
Whereupon I proceed with the general explanation: who is going, where we are going, and for how long. This takes two to five minutes and is generally greeted by "Oh my god," "That's so cool," "What a learning experience," or "OH MY GOD… TAKE ME TOO!" Sometimes one of the questions is a query as to my thoughts on the subject.
To be honest, it seems completely natural to go on a trip for fourteen months with only one backpack per person and no permanent residence. And actually, the non-permanent residence doesn't bother me as much as the backpack has. My logic six months ago for this was that the backpack is small, and I'll only have less than three shirts. Most girls at sixteen have thirty, it seems, so that's one of the absolute necessities I'll be missing while around the world.
While leaving with just three shirts seems very normal and natural to me, it's also a bit scary. What if one of the shirts rips or is lost? What if I stop liking it? What am I going to do when I come back and I need a completely new wardrobe? What if I forget how to shop?
(Translation of the above questions is: "What if something goes wrong? What if I stop liking to travel, or start hating people? How am I going to readjust to "real" life? What about COLLEGE?")
While absolutely every single one of those questions has a simpler or not-so-simple answer (you will not ever forget how to shop. Ever.), it's one of the things that is proccupying me.
Whereas Dad is focusing on finding transportation, location, or housing, and Mom is focusing on photography and phone calls and finishing up at home, and Ileana and Ioan are focusing on having fun and doing schoolwork (in that order), I have to focus on not only schoolwork, but life after, which is a scary prospect and is practically the only qualm I have about the trip. The other one is the basic repertoire of worries any basic traveler has: what if I get sick?
Speaking of schoolwork, I am my own teacher. Mom has tried, for both eleventh and twelfth grade, to give me a good, solid schedule for the fifty weeks or so we're doing schoolwork, but it tends to fall apart in about weeks five to ten. This is because of Standardized High School Tests, also known as the SAT and ACT. Studying for either of these two makes me drop everything else (especially math) and focus on just learning how to read again. I usually come back to schoolwork with about six weeks of back work and an increasingly shortening time frame, which after two to three weeks of inefficiency and an even SHORTER time frame, now requires a complete rethinking of how I'm going to do school.
Generally this results in learning on weekends, procrastination, and a change of location. For eleventh grade I moved from the kitchen table to a desk. For twelfth grade I moved up to sitting in my room on the floor, where I have two to three hour time blocks of one subject every day, plus Khan Academy, which is an online math course where you can win points and badges. These three to four hours of work don't sound like much, but when I'm finished with all that, I then start reading all the books I want to read before we leave. This includes The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Anne Frank, The Odyssey, and the complete works of Shakespeare and Ernest Hemingway.
At the beginning of the year, I'd planned to read a hundred books in 2011, but as I caught up, I raised the bar to 150, and then to 175. I hope to read 200 by the time January 1st, 2012 comes around.
While on the trip, I'll be reading classics like Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Alexandre Dumas, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Mircea Eliade, etc. Before the trip, I am focusing on reading the books that I cannot read RTW.
And of course, besides all this, in order to keep myself busy enough not to be lazy, I also set writing goals— things like "get to 80 words per minute," or "type ten thousand words today," or "write a blog entry." This not only exercises my mind, but it prevents me from watching TV, surfing the internet, or otherwise doing unproductive things, because I get caught up in the story I am writing and feel more inclined to finish reading my book or keep writing rather than laze around and do nothing. It also provides incentive for writing a Language outline. (And, surprisingly enough, writing at large speeds does not make my writing better or worse. The only thing that happens is that it comes out better than I expected, which is a confidence booster.)
One of my other goals before we leave is to finish watching the Remington Steele series, which deserves a say in this blog because at twenty six this is probably what I'll be laughing about the most. And also because it's amaaaaaaazing.
The whiteboard that we see whenever we walk in through the back door now says forty five days… we're finishing the ordering of icebreakers, and we have to organize the iTunes library, and the days are steadily creeping down and down and down… I wonder if anyone outside of the family is nervous for us at all. Or are they just excited?

1 comment:

  1. Nice job Ileana, you make a good writer! Good luck, and i wish i can see your face when you read this 10 y fr now!


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