by Logan Pratico

When my plane touched the ground in Cochabamba, Bolivia almost 3 weeks ago, my mind was a blender of emotion filled to the brim with both excitement and fear. Questions kept filling my head like “What did I get myself into?”; “What should I expect?”; and “Am I ready for this?” After all, only 4 short months ago I was a high schooler in a small town who had never traveled farther south than Texas.

As my mind further attempted to comprehend the fact that I was now living almost 4,000 miles away from home, I felt my stomach ache in anxiety. I could hear my mother’s words echoing in my head “If you ever want to come home, just call me, and we will get you on the next flight back to Chapel Hill.” Maybe living in Cochabamba wouldn’t turn out to be the awesome, unforgettable experience that I thought it would be. Maybe I should’ve just gone to college. Maybe I wasn’t ready for this.

But as the days went on, I started volunteering in an orphanage, I was working with some of the nicest, sweetest kids. I also met other volunteers, who welcomed me with open arms even though I was just a baby, fresh out of high school. My fears started to slowly fade away. My emotions of fear and anxiety where replaced with feelings of happiness and excitement.

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As I start into my third week in Cochabamba, I find that I am constantly experiencing new and exciting things. Every encounter is a new adventure, and I am ready to embrace it with open arms. And to think, I almost went straight to college.

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