24 miles. If you start at my house and drive straight for 24 miles on Golf Road, you will end up at Willard Residential College. When I started my freshman year at Northwestern, I packed for college the night before Wildcat Welcome. I quickly googled “items you must bring to college” and threw half of my wardrobe into a suitcase. I think I spent more time straightening my hair that night. Deep down, I knew that if I forgot something, I could always call my parents to drop it off at my dorm the next day. I had the luxury of eating my mom’s homemade food every other week, meeting my sister for dinner in Evanston, and attending every family birthday (if I didn’t have a Chem101 quiz the next day). In a way, it felt like I never really left home.
4147 miles. That’s the distance from my house to my homestay. I’ve been packing for a week. I’ve read dozens of “items people forget to pack while traveling” lists and I’ve thoughtfully selected the clothing I want pack. I went out and bought a bunch of underwear, over-the-counter medication, and make-up that I might not ever wear. On top of that, my parents constantly come into my room and drop off things like Vicks, hair spray, Bengay (none of which I use often, if at all). I guess we are nervous. I will have to explore a new culture, a new language, and new people. When I get sick, which is bound to happen to everyone, I will have to navigate the health care system and my resources by myself. We are nervous, because, this time, I will truly leave for 4 months.