blog #5

Well friends, it's been a hectic few days. Our connecting flight to Houston was cancelled due to the flooding and complications caused by the hurricane, and there isn't another until Wednesday, so we'll be departing then. Luckily the staff was able to find us a place to stay until then. We're currently residing at the YMCA in Berkeley. I kinda don't mind because I've gotten a chance to explore California a little, and more importantly I've got a few more days to bond extra hard with my cohort. I feel very safe around them. Like nothing bad can happen to me cause they've got me, and if something bad were to happen, it'd be okay, because they've got me. It's very comforting to have that support here because I expected to be struggling without the usual foundation that is my family. 

I got to talk to them today, and it was nice because we hadn't spoken since Saturday. It scares me to think that our conversations will likely soon become few and far between as my schedule gets more intense during the transition. Regardless, I've never felt more ready to go. 
Over the past two days, as I said, I have been developing even deeper bonds with the other fellows, which is good and bad. Good because it brings up an undeniable feeling of unity. Bad because in a little over 24 hours we'll be on a plane, and a few weeks later we'll be much more independent and separated. And while I do feel extremely connected and fused to these other kids, I find myself lying down with loneliness most nights. I miss my friends who can just look at me and discern what I'm dealing with under the surface. I miss being able to physically touch them. I do, however, find solace in the fact that they are doing their own things, as am I. I'm here and they're there. And soon enough I'll be there too. So right now I just have to try very hard to be present and notice my friends within the new people I meet. I am finding my balance and that's what matters.
Making time for one's emotions is crucial to a healthy mind. I'd like to suggest to my subscribers the act of mindful breathing in a stressful situation. When you feel your panic brain going off, take a moment. Close your eyes. Place your hand on your belly, or your chest, or your nose, and practice breathing slowly. Don't think about anything other than the flow of oxygen. It's okay if you get distracted, just try to bring your thoughts back to a neutral point. Silently tell yourself that you are breathing. This is also a nice thing to do when you're in bed before you fall asleep. I don't mean to get all philosophical here, but it's true that you can force your brain to relax, even if it's just to give you enough time to get to the bathroom to cry. 
I am breathing in.
I'm going to Ecuador.
I am breathing out.
I'm going.