Unlike many others in this group this is my first time abroad. The farthest I have ever gone before this trip was to California. So while others were relatively comfortable leaving their home and their families, I was battling anxiety. I probably watched about 3 hours worth of YouTube videos that taught you “how to manage abroad” and “how to efficiently pack a suitcase” and still ended up with strong worries and an overweight suitcase when I got to the airport. Despite this though I got onto my first 7-hour flight and began my trip to Narva, Estonia.
To be honest though, the Narva that I was expecting and the Narva that is reality are worlds apart. The Narva that I was expecting was a typical European city with beautiful old buildings that reach the skyline, giving tourist the opportunity to get the perfect Facebook cover photos. The Narva that is reality is nothing like that. It is pretty much an old, worn down city that has literally seen better days. But it is an old, worn down city that I have learned to connect with.
With each passing day I am literally falling in love with this place more and more. The roads here have become strangely familiar to the point where I go anywhere and find my way back to the hotel. The people here are becoming more and more apart of my life as I am being to interact with them more. And the Narva hotel that has no refrigerator, the smallest beds, no free laundry, and two dancing roommates has become my home. It’s gotten so bad that when we went to Tallinn yesterday, and I got to the point where I was completely exhausted, all I could think was I wanted to go home.
I still miss my home back home though. But with each passing day here I am becoming more comfortable, and for someone who worries a lot, that is key. So even though this study abroad didn’t exactly meet up to my original expectations, and I still am battling with the Russian language (sometimes even wondering why I like the language so much), I am finding comfort in the small things and that is really helping me on my first trip abroad.
Narva really has surprised me these first two weeks and I hope that as this trips progresses it will continue to do so. I also hope that I develop more confidence in my Russian, but I guess that is a story for some other blog post.