Are you nervous? Are you going to cope alone? Is it safe there? How often will you call us? When will you visit? The food, are you going to like it? The winters, will you survive them? These are some of the myriad questions I have been barraged with over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, I cannot really answer them because I too don’t know and this makes me nervous (Oh, at least now I can answer the first one). And what is all this fuss for by the way? YES – going to college, 8000 miles away from home.
I have spent nearly all my life at ‘home’, that is, with my family, in my neighborhood, in my city and in my country. It’s really comfortable, to be in a place that you know like the back of your hand. A place where you can move around effortlessly with your proverbial eyes closed. A place where you understand what (almost) everyone is saying. A place where your appearance doesn’t attract more than enough glances. A place where all the food is familiar (not necessarily tasty). A place where you don’t easily get lost (metaphorically or otherwise). A place where don’t need to convert centimeters into yards. A place where you can call a traffic light a ‘robot’ or an apartment building a ‘flat’ (for all my Zimbos). A place where you can pronounce ‘Zee’ as ‘Zet’. A place where the phrase ‘jay-walking’ means absolutely nothing. A place where you are not a minority (in most contexts). For me, that place is called Bulawayo in Zimbabwe and definitely not some town called Middletown in Connecticut (it’s actually in the middle of Connecticut; Ooh the irony!). Yes, I am leaving this comfortable place for a town in a city I don’t know, located in a country I have never visited, in a continent that is not Africa (a continent I have never left). Oh yes, what a gigantic tragedy! Or at least that’s what everyone around me seems to think (or seems to imply).
To be honest, I am not nervous at all. In fact, up until now, I have been rather stoic on the issue of ‘leaving’, preferring to divert people’s attention away from it to other topics like the preparations I have been making (packing etc.) or perhaps the unpredictable Bulawayo weather. To be frank, my approach scares people. They think that I’m so scared of leaving home that I’m trying to avoid even thinking or talking about it (yes, really!), but really, I am not. The whole issue of ‘leaving’, in my opinion, is an irony within itself. I say this because people have so many places they call ‘home’, be it their actual house, their high school (*PS – Mine is my home too), neighborhood, city, province, country or continent. With this in mind, would it then be wrong for me to expand this list of ‘homes’ by adding the 1 square-mile campus of Wesleyan University? I think not. I understand the value of having many ‘homes’ – it is so that you have many ‘experiences’, many ‘friends’ (real ones), many ‘perspectives’, many ‘opportunities’ and many ‘stories’ to tell your grandkids (LOL). So yes, I am super-excited to be college-bound, to Wesleyan University of all places! There, I will learn new things and obtain most of those ‘many’ things.
Even though the earlier years of my life weren’t very adventurous, things did change later on. In early 2014, I was selected to be part of USAP (United States Student Achievers Program). Being part of this large and lovely family of insanely gifted people (that’s actually an understatement) inspired me to be adventurous, a fact that is evident in the amazing events that ensued in my life (chief among them, my college acceptance). Since then, I’ve tried out many new things like debate, golf, programming, poetry and of course the Me, Myself and I blog (slowly developing into a book) that you are reading at this very moment. Most of them have turned out pretty well :).
I understand the genuine and warranted concerns of my loved ones. Will everything be okay? Well, nobody knows. Only when I have gone to Connecticut will I find out (and I’m feeling particularly optimistic). For now, my biggest concern is the two empty suitcases I have. They are large (so to speak) but too small to accommodate all the memorabilia (#sad). I will definitely miss ‘home’ but at Wesleyan, I will be at ‘home’. Let’s not say I am leaving Zimbabwe, let’s just say I am going to America.