Passports and Packing

So today is my last full day in Indiana before I head back to Columbia for the summer (I’m stoked to finally start my internship with Dell) and like most of my last days in this place, there was definitely some last minute things that I had to get done and of course it came with another lesson about myself and this time, about my family as well.

Going to school out of state can be hard, not so much because I get homesick, (and quite honestly after that one time during the first semester of my freshman year, I really haven’t been) but because there’s not a lot of time to get things done that I have to get done in Indiana. In the past leases have gone unread, drivers licenses have remained suspended and lunch dates have gone unplanned, but this time around, I was determined to get everything done I needed to and that included getting a bridesmaid dress, booking travel for said wedding (where, surprise I will be a bridesmaid) and renewing my passport. 

As of today, right now, I’ve done one of things and even it was done last minute. 

Like I said, I always learn something about myself when I come home and this time around it was that I am a huge procrastinator. Not only that, but so is the rest of my family. I watched my brother wait last minute to write I don’t know how many papers in the two weeks that I’ve been home and my sister solidify plans almost seconds before they were supposed to take place. It’s pretty frustrating. 

Now I’m not like this with everything. I personally like to start my papers for class a week in advanced and I’ll plan any social outing as early as possible, but still when it comes to studying for a final or laundry (especially laundry) I can be found freaking out less than 24 hours before it needs to be done. Whoops!

Anyway, on my fairly short list of things to do  during the two weeks I was home one of them absolutely could not be done in Missouri and that was renewing my passport (the picture below is my expired one).

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My mom has been talking about getting new passports almost since we stepped off the plane in Mexico (okay that’s an exaggeration). But seriously, when I first got my passport (I think I was in second or third grade) she always said “We’ve got to make sure we stay on top of these, we don’t want them to expire!” Spoiler alert: they expired and I don’t have the luxury of going into an Indiana post office any time during the year, so I had to get it done today in this visit. So naturally I was begging my mom for a check for $110 and my birth certificate less than an hour before the passport line at the post office closed (all while shoveling my laundry into the washing machine).

To make a long story short, I made it (not before yelling a lot of obscenities and almost crying though).

After taking care of everything and walking out of the post office, I started to wonder why I as freaking out so much in the first place. I mean 1) I serve a God who always makes a way out of no way, so even if I did get to the post office too late, that just means it wasn’t meant to happen today and 2) I have no solidified plans to go abroad, so why did I want an empty booklet so badly?

I realized the answer is something I don’t share with many people: I have got to get the heck out of this country. 

I don’t say that in an “I hate America,” way, because I definitely don’t. I love this country and all the opportunities living in it affords me every day, but ever since I joined this amazing (and I do mean amazing) international organization called AIESEC, I’ve looked at the world differently. 

The preconceived notions I had about other races, ethnicities and religions are gone and my thirst for travel as grown tenfold. I have to get out of here. 

I don’t mean to Paris, or Barcelona or Milan (although those are all on my list). I want to go to Brazil and reunite with one of my best friends (who I met through AIESEC) I want to go to Africa and discover my roots (if I can even trace them back that far) I want to learn how to wear a sari in India and learn how to make real sushi (not California rolls) in Japan. Maybe those are all super stereotypical things, but I assure you I don’t mean them to be. 

I want a passport full of stamps that represent good and bad experiences and I always looked at traveling as a “Oh, I’ll go one day,” but now that I’m less than a year away from graduating, I don’t see why that one day couldn’t be a lot sooner than I thought.

I’ve been looking at graduate programs abroad and taking virtual tours of apartments in cities I’ve never heard of, all in the hopes that one day, it’ll be a reality for me. 

I know I’ll end up back in the US eventually, but right now, I’m a twenty something who’s ready to take a risk, do something different and completely push myself out of my comfort zone.

That’s why getting my passport was such an emotional thing for me and that’s why it meant so much. It’s a lot more than just a book of stamps letting you in a country. For me, it’s my ticket to a new world, it’s new experiences, friends and food. It’s a new beginning and  I can’t wait to get started.  

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2 comments

  1. This was very well-written Ms. King! I’m sure you will accomplish all your goals, and have HELLA stickers in your passport booklet. Love you!

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