First blog post from Sierra

September 3, 2013

in Africa, Fall 2013, Morocco, Sierra Buehlman Barbeau

“How will you make it on your own?

This world is awfully big

And girl, this time you’re on your own

But it’s time you started living…”

I’m a little young to quote the old Mary Tyler Moore show. But all of you out there who haven’t watched a few episodes really should. It’s kind of an inspiring show. Mary Tyler Moore plays Mary Richards, who has moved from New York to Minneapolis to start a new life. I identify with her because she can be emotional and sometimes has trouble expressing herself . . . in other words, she cries at everything, whether it’s a meeting with her boss or saying good-bye to someone, or really making any decision in life. We tear up to easily.

So here I am, starting a four-month journey through Europe and Morocco, starting the biggest adventure of my life, and literally tearing up every two minutes. And I left all my Rhodas at home . . . This is the first time I’ve ever been on my own. Sure, I was on my own when I was in college at Madison, but I have friends and a boyfriend there, my parents and grandparents live less than an hours’ drive away, and my sister visits me quite often. So really, if I needed support or family or food, it was literally a phone call away. Now, the only person I have to rely on is myself. I’ve managed to get myself to the Warsaw airport AND the right terminal to catch my connecting flight to Geneva and buy a $9.00 bottle of water . . . just kidding, 9 Polish dollars . . . And now, I’m waiting for the biggest step of the day: landing in Geneva, getting myself to the hostel, and finding dinner. And possibly, if I’m feeling up to it, go see the lake. It’s such a mind-blowing feeling. I’M IN EUROPE RIGHT NOW. And I’ll be in Africa in 3 weeks! I wonder when it will sink in. It’s still a dream to me. I saw it on the map: I saw the plane flying over Canada, the Atlantic, Ireland, Liverpool, Amsterdam, Denmark, and Berlin, and I know I saw us land in Warsaw, but to be honest, from the airport, Warsaw looks like Chicago. Nothing special except lots of folks speaking Polish. I almost feel bad walking up to people and just start speaking English, but I guess that’s ok while I’m in the airport. Once I get to Geneva I’ll get my French on.

So, for those who are curious: I know that my blog is categorized under “Africa” because I’m studying abroad in Morocco, but for now, I will write a bit about my Europe adventures. I’m starting in Geneva and visiting these cities: Zurich, Arles, Caracassonne, St Malo, and Paris before flying to Fez! Oh, we’ve just been called to get on the plane . . . more later!

It’s a big, big trip. A big scary trip in the big, scary world for someone whose never traveled before. But the good news is… I’m in Geneva now. It is beautiful. I’ll post in a few days about my adventures in Europe, but for now . . .

“You’re gonna make it after all!” Just like Mary does. 🙂

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