02 December 2007


Ha, I think my parents have just been won over to the idea of my going abroad ... again.

In my Junior year at Boston University, I spent the Spring semester in Auckland, New Zealand. Getting my parents to the point where they were relatively okay with my being half-way around the world was a battle of tooth-and-nail.

Fast forward from 2004 and my return to the States. Ever since graduating from University in 2005, I have had a longing to go out of the country again. And, on a briefly political aside, I kind of feel deeply uncomfortable with the direction the United States is going, and honestly believe that I would better off in Europe or Australasia.

One of my best friends, Rodney was recently accepted into Rutgers' study-abroad programme, and he is going to be in France in the new year. His boyfriend John (also one of my best friends) and I want to expatriate to Germany so that we can practise and better our German language skills, live a European lifestyle, and be close enough to France to visit with Rodney.

My parents have been opposed to this idea since I told them of it. They don't believe in my ability to find work, to be able to afford life in Europe, or to succeed professionally outside of the United States (not that I'm succeeding professionally here; but, conveniently for them, they've been blocking out that little fact). In reality, I think they're still experiencing empty-nest syndrome, and miss being able to see me regularly.

However, I think I may have changed their minds with the use of VOIP.

Yesterday, I talked to them on Skype for about half an hour in the morning and another half-hour in the evening. They were both very excited by being able to see and hear me from hundreds of miles away (you know, without paying anything for the service). And I've begun to believe that what actually bothers them about the idea of my going abroad is that they wouldn't see me (again, it isn't like they see me very often now, but there you go).

What is Skype? Well, if you happen to be out of the VOIP-loop, rather than attempting my own scrambled definition, I will direct you to their official site: Skype.com. It's fun. Go there.

(And, more on that subject, the headset and web camera are off my Yuletide wish-list. A few friends had made various suggestions recently, and I decided to follow through on my own. I went with the over-the-ear, behind-the-head Logitech headset. I also picked up the only web camera that was specified for Mac [on its packaging]. There are others that might work with Mac, but they don't say so, so they're not going to get my business.)

And then my parents were talking about getting me luggage for Christmas, winter clothes for Deutschland, and helping me pay for storage and shipping on possessions that I want to send to them. My mother also said that when John and I decided when we're leaving, we should tell her, and she'll look for cheap air-fare on Interval International (the time-share company that she and my father use). So that's exciting.

They're supposedly picking up a Christmas tree today, which also makes me happy.

They still won't tell me what they want for Christmas, but that's always been their way.

On another Skype-note, I love that the thought-bubble lists what I'm listening to on iTunes. Craziness.

Happy December! (And, again, though it's nothing for which anyone can do anything, I'm also wishing for snow this month.)

1 comment:

John said...

Hello from a virtual neighbor--I'm just 95 in Providence! I just wandered over from Holidailies and was particularly drawn to this entry.

On the one hand, because if I told my mother that I was thinking about moving to Europe, her reaction would probably be similar to your parents. Maybe multiplied by a factor of 10, but definitely along the same trajectory.

On the other hand, my best friend moved to Europe right after college and has spent nine months a year living over there ever since (we've been out of school for over 8 years now). He's made a life for himself largely illegally (i.e. no work visa until the past year or two) and did just fine. His goal was to live in Europe and not go into debt (with some other goals folded in, of course) and he's been completely successful. It helps if you're fluent in at least one or two languages besides English, have an outgoing personality, and don't mind roughing it a bit here and there, but it can definitely be done. If you end up going that route, good luck to you!