Though I haven’t yet made it to the other side yet, I feel confident in proclaiming that the most challenging part of this life change for me, and perhaps most people, is the transition phase. It is where the unknown meets the second-guessing. There are no assurances, no concretes and no tangible affirmations. Most people weave their way through this period in a matter of days or weeks, but for me this period is now just shy of 9 months. Shall I compare thee to a pregnancy, oh great Australia trip?
No, but really. Last April it was confirmed that this adventure was mine for the taking, and yet, even now, nine long (but scarily short) months later, I still have certain aspects of my trip (very important aspects, mind you) that are out of my control. I am four weeks from departure, well 27 days according to Tripit (great mobile app for travelers), and I have a flight but no Visa, a scholarship offer from a university but no confirmation of enrollment, and a longing for some warm weather, but a snow-logged Iowa. Ok, fine, the last one doesn’t count for trip stress, just physical torture to a frigid degree.
I knew going international was going to be a challenge, but I didn’t truly understand all the obstacles that going SO international would present. Australian is a bit of an international extreme in that the country seems to be a bit in it’s own world. It is a world that has only an hour or two cross-over time for business hours between it and the U.S. So by the time I get a response from my university there, every government office here has closed.
16 hours difference is almost mind-boggling. I joke with my dad that when I get there he can call me to ask about tomorrow. It’s a joke, but an eerily accurate one. I’ve also started laying groundwork for celebrating two birthdays- my Australian one, and then, 16 hours later, my US one. On that note, adjusting to the idea that my birthday, which has always been a gateway from spring to summer, is now the transition between fall and winter is a bit of a mind warp too.
Obstacles and oddities aside, I am still excited. I am excited to start my journey towards a PhD (just call me Dr. Woessner—in 3-4 years). I am excited to start a new adventure, but mostly I’m just excited to END this transition period. I feel like once I am just there, the unknowns will shift to knowns, and good or bad, I’d rather just KNOW what my world will be. I imagine I’m not alone in that sentiment. Everyone has transition periods throughout their life and likely finds them just as frustrating as I have. Though I definitely have the throw my hands in the air and stomp my feet moments, overall I try and remember that “this too shall pass.” Transitions are, by definition, not permanent states of being…So here I go, tapping into the Aussie attitude I so desperately need in my world, signing off with a cheerful “no worries mate.”