It is becoming more real. The countdown on your phone gets down to only about 30 days until the biggest transformation of your life. The vaccines and/or pills become more and more necessary. Packing has become something that you think about on a daily basis, yet it still gets put off until what you hope would be tomorrow... but it could quite possibly be the next week before you truly even start putting things in that backpack or suitcase you picked out to take with you.
As the days begin to go by faster, you begin to realize something. You are going to be a changed person when you come back. What you thought was forever away is finally coming upon you and it is not going to slow down. You try and picture what everything will be like, but in all reality, you have no clue what you are about to walk into. You have never experienced what it is like to truly live in another foreign country for said-amount of time (or it has been awhile since this has last happened to you).
I thought I had outgrown my days of being nervous to go somewhere without my parents, but this is still kind of nerve-wracking. Being foreign in a place with people you have never met before is incredibly different than just going on an eighth grade, tropical trip with a large group of friends from school. This is a trip where you could know quite possibly no one. This can bring on more stress of "what if these people do not like me?" Those kinds of questions.
Preparing for something like this is hard because you have no idea what to expect. When you volunteer, there are no set guidelines of how people are going to act towards you or how you are going to act towards them (or at least you will not know them until you actually set off to begin volunteering). When you study abroad, you have no good idea how classes might differ from the classes in the United States. Everything is a constant "what-if" and you never truly know what is going to happen until you get there.
As for things at home, you start to wonder if you are going to miss out on a few things while you are gone. Maybe your best friend has planned a trip with another friend and you are sad you might have to miss out on that. Maybe you are missing out on your favorite holiday and for the first time ever, you are missing out on a holiday tradition with your family or friends.
Although these are all possibilities, you remember that you are going to be doing something amazing while you are away. All the stress, packing, and vaccines will be worth it for the amazing things that you get to see while you are away from home for a bit. And although you are nervous, you are as excited as you could be anything.
It is going to be one hell of a trip.