Windows surround me. A bullet proof window for the men at the airport. One that is an oval and looks out onto the clouds. The first window that looks out on German soil. The planes taxi in and out on the snowy tarmac. An open walking square with a skylight looking to the heavens, then down, to a window that looks into a dark train tunnel. Then suddenly I am surrounded by blinding light that is reflecting off the snow and mountains around me. I make it across the world just for this moment of looking out the bus window, seeing the new building and faces. Some sad or old, others happy and young. But the most important window is yet to come.I'm standing at it now, looking out onto a courtyard filled with snow. Footprints meander through it until you can not tell where one path starts and another ends. This is the view I will have for the next 14 weeks.
I look back in and see the bed and table that I will call my own. It is nothing like home or what I am use to. This is good. Even now I am starting to realize that I am not myself. That maybe the person I think I am has never really been. These people that I am with are changing me just as surely as I am changing them.
Even just a year ago, I was in high school, looking ahead with an outlook that made the future seem that much harder. I was not expecting to find so many windows this soon. I had not planned on studying abroad until at least sophomore year. I am not sure what made me decide to go, be it the pressure from the adults in my life or the wanting to not be outdone by my friends, but I want to believe it was the child inside me. That child that said, yes, you may not be an adult yet. Sure, it may take time. But from right now, what do you have to lose? And more importantly than that, ask yourself what you have to gain. My child whispered, do you remember when you hit middle school and realized that maybe you weren't so smart? Maybe what had gotten you through up until now had been your parents effort? Don't you want to feel smart again and know what others don't? What better way to learn than to travel? Many adults have not been to as many places as you, but your peers are catching up. It is becoming a smaller and smaller world.
So I listened to the wisdom of my child, even if it is as petty as not wanting to be outdone, as I have so many times before. Sure, she has led me wrong before, but I am becoming an adult who can tell the difference between the whining of someone who does not get her way and the wanderings of a soul who sees the world with new eyes.
So here I am, in Salzburg, Austria, with new eyes and a yearning to learn and do and see all that comes my way. Whether looking through a window, meeting someone new, or just realizing what an amazing world this is.