Thursday, October 25, 2007


Today is a day of anxiety. Today we confirmed our reservations for all of our flights. We haven’t sent them our money yet (that’s a whole other set of jitters for a whole different day – a day like tomorrow), but we will. I mean, we REALLY will. We also sent our passports off to the Vietnamese embassy in the hopes that they will kindly issue us visas to enter their lovely country. So we are currently in a position where we are about to spend several thousand dollars on plane tickets, and we cannot presently prove that we are citizens of the United States. See? This is a very scary day.

Matt is all smiles and excitement. He is exactly where I was about a year ago. A year ago, Matt was all nerves and avoidance. He was smack in the middle of his second month of grad school and the only important thing in his life was the all-consuming, ever-present grad school. I was working at a crepe restaurant, and I didn’t have a whole lot of important stuff going on. So I started thinking about this trip, and reading travel blogs, and checking out Airtreks to see how much this trip might cost us. And every day at around 10pm, we would sit at the table eating dinner, chatting for the first time in 24 hours. Matt would pick nervously at his food as he contemplated how much sleep he might manage to squeeze in that evening (“2 hours? Maybe 3 if I’m lucky,” he’d think) and I would chatter excitedly about our dreamtrip (“We could even do volunteer work while we were gone if we wanted to. Oh! And today, I saw pictures of Angkor Wat. We HAVE to go there, if we go to Cambodia.” And on and on I’d go.).

Sometime over the course of the summer, our moods shifted. Matt started to see that the end was in sight, that grad school would actually, eventually be over, and that he would get his life back. A life that would include, of all things, a really huge trip to Southeast Asia, how lucky is he?! I started to see that our time in Pittsburgh was drawing rapidly to a close, and as excited as I am about that prospect, I realized that this meant that we were moving to a new city (again) but that first, FIRST we were going on this really huge trip to Southeast Asia and ohmygod we’re going to Southeast Asia!

So now here I am. Matt’s all smiles and excitement, and I’m all ohmygod we’re going to Southeast Asia. He can’t get over himself. He’s finishing grad school! He’s going on a trip! He’s going on a trip with Lizzi! Go us! He’s stoked. And me? I can’t get over us. Matt’s going to be done with grad school, which means that WE are done with grad school. We’re taking this enormous trip. We’re going to be spending every waking minute together for three long months. What on earth are we thinking?

Of course, even as I’m writing this I’m calming down about it. Because for me, the smiles and excitement are never very far from the surface. In fact, it’s really just a matter of reminding myself that I’ve been planning this trip, in my mind at least, for over a year, and then it feels like a reasoned and measured decision. Plus, there’s that added bonus of Mr. Smiley over there, who thinks that we impulsively decided to jaunt around Asia for a bit. And in the end, of course, he’s right: go us!

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