Shortly after being awarded a Fulbright scholarship that would send me to Eastern Europe for a year of teaching, I attended a meeting held in Washington, DC, for all the recipients. Although excited, I was also fearful. Not having traveled much, I couldn’t imagine living abroad, much less in a non-English-speaking country. Could I survive without friends, family—my dog? Would the professional responsibilities be too much?
Instead of confronting these fears, I ignored them with hyperactivity, hoping they’d disappear. Filling my social and work calendars and refusing to think about any future unpleasantness caused me to run away from my problems, which only made the larger. Finally, as inevitably happens, they caught up with me.
I arrived in DC in the early morning on the day of the welcoming dinner. I checked in, unpacked, and then, suddenly feeling lost, I collapsed on the uncomfortable flowery bedspread. The morning sun plotted a rectangular spot of light tempting me outside. But feeling overwhelmed, I wanted only to curl up on the hard mattress and cry.
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