From Ghana to Vancouver to Paris to Insanity

I’m once again on the brink of going completely insane. Tuesday my application for a semester abroad in Vancouver is due. I’ve obsessed over this whole thing for more than half a year now and I’m getting so close to actually ridding all of these stupid forms and papers from my desk and my mind – and at this very moment I’m totally chickening out.

Flashback to about 2.5 years ago a few months before high school graduation: It’s going on midnight, I’m sitting at my desk in front of my laptop, which is covered in Word documents planning out my “I need to get out of Germany and do something crazy NOW”-trip to Ghana. At this point my imagination has transitioned from the phase where you see every damn thing through rose-tinted glasses to the phase where that utopian image is brutally shattered. This is normally also the stage where fear kicks in. Major fucking fear. In the case of Ghana this fear arrived about a week before departure while packing and repacking my brand-new globetrotter backpack (with too much medication and not enough t-shirts). I was scared to death. After almost a year of planning this trip, it had suddenly occurred to me that I would actually be leaving my family, my home, my dog, my nice and comfy safe spaces and my comfort zone for Eight. Months. Turns out, those were the best eight months of my life up to now and I would have killed myself for not getting on that first plane from Munich to Hamburg. But by the time I boarded the second plane to Dubai, I was already exhausted, and ready to bawl my eyes out. Since I was crammed inside a metal bird with too many strangers at that moment, I saved the bawling for the first week I spent in Ghana. I went through the first culture shock in my life, and it wasn’t pretty. But after that first week, things began to be totally awesome. I started adapting to the new circumstances and basically learned how to survive on my own in a strange country with amazingly awesomely weird people (my fellow volunteers, some of whom are still my bestest friends) around me. And after two months of that I went to the US and to Costa Rica and then back to the US and I survived it all and it was the coolest time ever!

Flash-back-forward to today: My illusionary pink bubble (wait – I hate pink. Let’s make it orange or something.) was viciously shattered by a documentary we watched for our Canadian Culture seminar about the punk scene in Vancouver. I suddenly realized that Vancouver was actually a city. And cities are seldom perfect environments for dreamers and  idealists and people with a completely skewed picture of foreign places, as myself. (For some reason, I would usually describe myself as a pretty hardcore realist, but somehow this feature just disappears when it comes to traveling.) Cities are dirty, cities can display radical inequalities, cities can be dangerous – life can be dangerous! I think I’m actually suffering from Paris Syndrome, only like a year in advance of the actual encounter.

So I have to turn in a whole stack of papers on Tuesday. My letter of motivation still needs a more creative introduction, something right between “a semester abroad would greatly benefit my academic advancement bla bla boring” and “Vancouver: The L Word was shot there (which means Kate Moennig touched Vancouver soil!) and Tegan Quin lives there – by the way, they also have this great university I’d like to spend a semester at!”. I haven’t gotten past those extremes yet. Since our department has this amazing invention called the Writing Center, I thought I’d stop by there to get some feedback on my letter and my resume. If only these people would actually show up to their official office hours postet on their official website hosted by the official American Studies department of the official Faculty of Language and Literature Studies of the totally official University of official Munich, I would have one less problem now. Since nobody was there, I wrote an email to make an appointment for this week, which has not been replied to and also I got mixed up with the times so they might actually ask me to come at a time that I actually can’t really make but ACTUALLY I asked for this time, but – I probably won’t be able to make it. You still with me? The bottom line is, I hope they never answer that email, I hope it went straight into the spam folder and will sit and rot there until one day after many years someone will clean out that spam folder and curiously wonder if that pathetic person actually ever made it to Vancouver and survived there for four entire months. If you’re from the Writing Center and reading this (which is highly unlikely): DON’T ANSWER THAT EMAIL! I BEG YOU! I can’t stand when strangers have to make an extra effort for me (such as replying to an email and then having to reschedule because of my temporary mind fog and stupidity), and even less do I want to actually deal with a stranger that has had extra effort because of me. And that, people, is another episode in the life of a person with chronic worrying-syndrome and (social) anxiety.

To make matters just a little worse, I started scrolling through my Facebook feed, because I’m pathetic and don’t have anything else to do with my life, and came across the headline: “The Feminist Celebrity of the Year could be a straight, white man for the first time”. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! I need to sleep. Desperately. I’m so done with this world right now, I need to go create my own.