Thursday, March 05, 2009

So what?

So I've spent the better part of a year and a half abroad. I'm working again in Omaha, waiting tables at a cool Italian place near my parents' house. What do I have to show for the last 18 months? Plenty

--I visited five countries: New Zealand, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Argentina, Uruguay and Panama

--I developed a taste for foods that I would never have touched just a few years ago.

--I made friends from all over the world, more than 50 countries. I still keep in touch with many of them.

--I have learned to not sweat the small stuff. I could have gotten quite distraught when I lost my wallet, shoes or camera case, but focusing on all I had going for me was better use of my time.

--Going into my trip, I was pretty self sufficient (don't you have to be to embark on a solo trip abroad?). But traveling, especially in China, has taken that to a whole new level.

--Building off the last item, I've really had to put my problem-solving skills to work. How do you get to a place, about which you only know its name, without any information about it and no one whom you can fluently speak to about it?

--I've seen some beautiful sights, including a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites: Iguazu Falls and Glaciers National Park in Argentina; Northwest Yunnan Province, the Great Wall, terra-cotta warriors and many others in China; Fiordland and Tongariro Park in New Zealand; the historic old city of Panama City. All amazing.

These are just a few of the things that have made this adventure totally worthwhile for me.

I have been giving a lot of thought lately about what I've enjoyed most during my time away. I hope to share my favorite moments and experiences here soon.