If I could give some advice to the Andrea’s of the past, and even to the Andrea of the present, this is what it would be.
Dear May 2010 Andrea,
You just received your host families and this is finally all starting feel real. Your brand new red blazer is hanging on the back of your door as a constant reminder of the year ahead of you. There’s a countdown on your computer telling you the number of days, hours, minutes and even seconds until you leave.
Basically your every thought is consumed by Denmark. But what about Canada? Why don’t you slow down and take a look around and think about how much you are going to miss everything? You should have enjoyed your last months at home instead of counting them away. Obviously you had a lot to be excited for, but did it ever cross your mind that you were going to miss what you had?
You don’t know it yet, but you have an incredible year ahead of you. It’s almost frustrating how little of a clue you have about what your life will be like. You’re going to grow up more than you can even imagine. You’re going to have some of your lowest lows and some of your highest highs. None of this is even entering your mind though. You’re lost in your day dreams of what your life is going to be like. You didn’t listen to Rotary and you had expectations. In many ways they were beyond exceeded. That email you got from those random people? They feel like family now. Those other people in the Denmark 2010-11 Facebook group? They’re your lifeline. Your support group. You don’t know what you’re going to do when you have to leave them. That city that you spent hours googling? It’s where a part of you will always stay. But on the other hand you're also going to be let down, and it’s going to be hard. That school you were so excited to go to? It’s not like you thought it would be. That language you were so sure you could master? You won’t. It’s not going to matter though, because the good so much outweighs the bad.
Be excited for Denmark, because it’s going to be so great, but don’t forget to enjoy Canada too.
(And PS. I know you think you’re going to be done English 20 by mid June. But just so you know, you won’t be even close.)
Love March 2011 Andrea
Dear August 2010 Andrea
You’ve been in Denmark only a few weeks, and you’ve seen and done so much and met so many amazing people, and this is just the start. I know it’s a shock being so far from home, but trust me when I tell you that you didn’t make a mistake. Denmark is where you’re supposed to be. I know it’s just hitting you that this will be harder than you thought, but it gets so much better. This country is amazing, and although 11 months seems like a lifetime right now, soon enough you’ll be willing to give anything to have that much time left.
Be outgoing. Take pictures of everything. Soak up every last moment because soon enough all of the things that seem so weird will be so normal.
Stop thinking about Canada. Stop talking to people in Canada. Denmark is your new home. Spend as much time with your host family as possible because although I know it doesn’t feel like it, these first three months are going to fly, so make the most of every day you have with them.
Realize that things aren’t like you imagined, but embrace it. This is going to be the most amazing year, whether it feels like it or not. You are going to gain new families, and so many new friends. You are going to get to see so many different views on life, and so many amazing cities. Be excited. You have to much to look forward to.
Love March 2011 Andrea
Dear March 2011 Andrea,
I know this year has flown by faster than you ever ever everrrr thought it would. And I know that the rest of your time will go by even faster. But don’t think about it. Yeah, I’m sure it’ll be amazing. Yeah, there’s so much to look forward do. But pleaseee don’t forget about the present. Learn from your mistakes. You were so excited to come to Denmark that you forgot about Canada. PLEASE do NOT do that again. Because this time, when you board that plane, it’s over. Like, done deal for real never getting it back over. So don’t waste even a second of your time wanting to be back in Canada, no matter how hard it is.
Take in everything. Spend as much time with everyone. I know three months seems like a long time, but we all know it’s really not. This is it, the time to fully live it up. And it’s not enough to write it in this blog; Actually get off your ass and do it. It’s right outside your window, so embrace it while you still have it, because I can guarantee that three months from now you’d give up your major organs to have it all back.
Love Andrea of the future.