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Since I graduated high school, all I've wanted to do was study abroad. Freshman year of college I walked into the study abroad office and decided that I would be studying abroad in Scotland during the spring semester of 2019.
Fast forward two years to stressing about saving up for trips and putting off applying for my passport and I realize I'm getting cold feet. My family is going through a trying time with my dad having been diagnosed with cancer and having it removed from one area just to find that the cancer cells spread to his liver causing six tumors that currently are inoperable. My dad was given the timeline of a maximum of 5 years if the treatments to shrink the cancers didn't work. Now, normally I'm the rock in my family when things like this happen. The death of both of my grandmothers two months apart from each other back in 2014 really solidified my role as that. However, it gets harder and harder to keep it together. Eventually I end up having an anxiety attack alone in my room one night as everything hits me and I suddenly think about how he could end up not being at my graduation or my wedding or live to see himself become a grandparent. As someone who has never had an anxiety attack before, it was honestly the worst night I've had in a while. I was lucky enough that my boyfriend was still awake to talk me through it, even offering to drive an hour and a half home from his friend's house where he was visiting in case I needed medical attention. Now, I could have just woken up my parents or my grandfather to tell them what was happening to me, but I didn't want them to worry about me. After all, I wasn't the one with cancer. I finally get to the point where I'm calm enough to sleep that night and I do.
Things are fine for a couple of days, but then I start staring at the looming study abroad checklist and realize I should really get my passport application settled. I spend $145 on this passport application while having the realization that the cost of passports is the US's way of making sure the poorest people can't leave the country if things ever get too bad and also realize that now I don't have an excuse not to leave the country. I had been putting off my passport so I wouldn't have to go, which got me thinking about why I had done that. If going to Scotland had been my dream for the past two years, why now, as the date to leave got closer, did I not even want to leave? It was then that I realized that part of the reason I wanted to leave the country back then was because I wanted to be free to explore and have adventures on my own, and that I didn't feel like I would be missing out on much in the United States if I left. Now, there were so many reasons for me to stay.
For starters, if anything happened to my dad while I was over there and unable to come home, I wouldn't be able to live with myself. Not to mention, my family is not very well off financially with all my dad's medical bills, so I need to be able to send them money for groceries and I can't do that if I'm in a different country where I can't work on a student visa.
Then, there was the fact that I wouldn't be able to see my boyfriend in person for almost 6 months. That boy is my best friend and quite possibly one of the greatest things to ever walk into my life. Being without him for that long would honestly suck. We already do long distance when I go to school, but he at least visits me while I'm there. He's the only physical contact I get while I'm at school since none of my friends are big on hugging. I never realized how much physical contact I need to be happy until we started dating and I noticed that I had gone without it for so long and was miserable. That's another thing about Scotland, they don't hug over there really either.
I'm also a very extroverted person that needs people. I don't know how I'd fair by myself in a different country for 6 months, especially since roommates are not something they have in the UK. Although I'm an only child, I've gotten quite used to having roommates since college, to the point where when I'm the only one in my dorm it feels truly empty.
So, overall, relationships killed my dreams to study abroad. Yet, out of the cremated ashes of those dreams, rose my dream to go on adventures with the ones I love. So, instead of going on a vast solitary adventure on my own through Europe, I'm saving up to go on an adventure with my best friend through New England and Canada. After all, I don't want that $145 passport to go to waste.