Leaving Home

Make sure to enjoy being home before leaving it

Perhaps you know and perhaps you don’t, but in 11 days from today I’m leaving to study abroad in Viña del Mar, Chile.

Excited? Definitely.
Nervous? Without a doubt.
Prepared? As good as it’s gonna get.
Worried? Not at all. Yeah, that was sarcasm.

I write this as I sit on the couch, serenaded through my headphones by Youtube’s version of “traditional Chilean music.” I know not whether it’s traditional or Chilean, but they’re singing in Spanish, so I guess it does the trick. They’re also yodeling. Didn’t realize Chilean yodeling was a thing.

It’s hard to believe that in less than two weeks from today, I’ll be sitting on a plane flying over who-knows-what country. For now, I’m just enjoying home, family, friends and my horses.


Larry being Larry. Sometimes he thinks he’s a Tyrannosaurus-Thoroughbred.

It dawned on me tonight how much I’m going to miss horse chores. The horses are what get me out of bed every morning. Sometimes when it’s insanely cold, they’re the only reason I go outside. As I chiseled frozen crap from their loafing shed, I watched the horses watching a herd of deer.

My gelding Larry stared intently, on high alert. In an instant he wheeled around and took off bucking, narrowly missing my head with one of his kicks as he danced, leaped, reared and skittered across the paddock. “The girls,” as we call our mares, followed suit. Misty – who becomes, shall we say “bodacious,” in the winter – flagged her tail and stretched out in a floating extended trot, snorting snot and steam. She almost didn’t look chubby for a moment. Little bay Goldie just humped her back and crow-hopped along.

Terrified as I was, thinking that I was witnessing a $1,000 vet bill in the making as these three ballistic creatures played their precarious game over the slippery ground, they looked so happy. When they finally lost interest in the deer, everyone calmed down and returned to munching hay.

It was one of those brief moments that a person has to savor like chocolate. Because pretty soon it will be gone, and I’ll be trying new candies – if you get my analogy.

In December when the fall semester ended, I thought I had so much time. I was going to clean my room and sort through documents from assignments and jobs long passed. I would become a mean blogging machine. I would ride every day, and hang out with friends every night. I would become a Spanish ninja before I even arrived in Chile.

But I have a few words of advice: things don’t always work according to plan.

Sure, I wasted a lot of time that could have used more efficiently. My room is nowhere near clean and random paperwork is flooding from every nook and cranny I’ve ever touched. I slacked on my blogging duties and have maybe ridden a couple times per week.

But is life meant to be spent cleaning a bedroom? Plus, the weather plays a role in one’s productivity. Riding just doesn’t happen when it’s -12 degrees.

I’ve learned a few things over my last couple months at home. Whether you’re leaving to study abroad like me, going on a trip or working on a deadline of any sort, here’s my advice to you:

  • Make a list. Now cut the list in half, because that’s probably what you’ll finish. Why? Because that’s what’s attainable to finish. If you’re anything like me, you probably overdo your listing. Be reasonable with yourself.
  • Procrastination is a given. Sometimes your brain just needs a break from life, and that means veg’ing out. However, you can use that as a motivator. When you limit the amount of time you have to accomplish a number of tasks, you tend to finish them faster and more efficiently.
  • Prioritize. A clean room is nice. Petting ponies and talking to your grandparents is nicer. Figure out what’s important to you.
  • Be prepared, but realize you will never be prepared enough. No matter how much research and reading you do, it won’t alleviate nerves and anxiety. Having confidence in your ability to be adaptable will.
  • Not everything will work out. I received an email today that one of my classes conflicted with another, and as a result I’ll have 10 hours of classes in a single day. You have to roll with the punches.

And don’t forget to enjoy being home.


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