Monday, May 6, 2013

Here, Have Some of My Pre-Trip Anxiety

Well I have officially lost the ability to make a decision. Two or three pairs of pants? Video camera or digital? Purse or drawstring bag? I spent all day yesterday trying on different pants and crossing out and rewriting items on my what-to-pack list. By the time dinner rolled around, my mom found me lying defeated on my bedroom floor, a different pair of pants on each leg, tearing up about which notebook to bring (or something just as ridiculous). She asked me to decide on a restaurant and I almost had a conniption.
I'm excited for this trip, I really am. But I am so glad I was able to read the Art of Travel, because De Botton untangled the ball of anxiety in my chest and reminded me exactly what I was afraid of. Traveling will not change who I am-I will still be the anxiety-ridden, sarcastically terrified, novice-German-speaker Molly, just on a different continent. And what this reading assured me was that that is ok. Being in Berlin will not change the fact that sometimes I get sad or scared or nervous, and yeah, Berlin is going to be amazing and wonderful and beautiful, but I can't go in expecting paradise. De Botton sums it up perfectly when he describes how no one ever thinks about "the journey through the afternoon." The one filled with plane tickets limp from the sweat of your palms, not entering the correct compartment and dragging your suitcase through the hallway of the now-moving train, not knowing if you're being ripped off by a taxi driver, staring out the window of a car and hoping to god this is not the neighborhood you'll be living in. It's almost-missed flights and miscommunications and awkward back sweat and sleep deprivation.
Have I got everyone excited yet??
But really, this is the reality of travel that I am nervous about it-just the traveling in between places. Once we set our bags down in our apartment, I will be stress free. But until then, the constipated look on my face is called anxiety, and I'd appreciate it if it didn't get caught on camera, thanks guys.
Now I feel like I should talk about something other than my fears (I'll pause a moment here to allow time for Kerry to psychoanalyze those first couple paragraphs)
All of that aside, I really am beyond excited. We've spent a whole semester reading and learning about these different facets of Berlin-Das Kunstseidene Mädchen, Traudl Junge, Micha Kuppisch-all these complex and amazingly different stories, all set in front of the same backdrop. Berlin is basically a confused teenager, just like us, still finding its identity (#salemberlin), and I can't wait to be immersed in it, seeing first-hand all of it's history and growth.
And of course, the theater. I keep telling people that I will be seeing theater almost every night on this trip, and they keep grimacing at me as if to say, "and you're happy about that?" But I really am, and I can't think of a better sherpa to german theater than our very own Janet Hegman-Shier. Reading these plays out loud in Theaterkreis was interesting, but I can't even imagine seeing some of them live. I've been practicing my clapping skills for those long German applauses and everything.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go empty my packed suitcase onto the floor of my room and just completely start over. I've still got, what, twenty five hours until I have to be at the airport? All the time in the world.
I'll see y'all in Deutschland!


  1. I recommend more skirts than pants and the string bag/backpack over the purse, if it's the kind I carry every day. You can stick some groceries in it that way. Don't be nervous. I predict that you wilL LOVE it here like I do. And don't worry about what you bring. Better not to have too much. And there are cheap options to buy here if you REALLY need to. : )

  2. I took some notes on my interpretation of your travel anxieties. We can talk about them on the plane.

    JOKES JOKES JOKES! Molly we are about to have a blast! Your post is great. Haha.