Will She Stay or Will She Go

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I was surprised and, quite frankly, humbled by how many of you seemed genuinely concerned that my little sis, Kari, would make the biggest mistake of her life in turning down the opportunity to go on Semester at Sea. What I didn’t realize is that prior to posting my stance on the issue, she had decided the previous day not to go.

After my last post, which came as a total surprise to her, I called her up. She sounded less than jazzed to hear from me. “Are you mad at me?” I asked. “No, not mad, but there have been a lot of tears the past day,” she said. (We Luna girls are quite the criers.) Apparently, less than 24 hours before I posted, she had received a call from Semester at Sea wanting to know her verdict. She still hadn’t made a decision, so she called my mom to talk it out. She decided she wasn’t going to go. My mom said she thought she was making a mistake. “I thought you were on my side!” she declared. “I am,” my mom responded. “That’s why I’m trying to talk some sense into you.”

And then the post came, and she was even more confused by all of the outpouring of advice she received (I forwarded her each and every comment; little did I know, her Internet had been down, so when she finally got back online, she checked her inbox to more than 70 messages!). Since then, there’s been a lot of discussion between my mom and Kari and me, covering every possible angle. To clarify, I do not want her to go if it’s truly something she doesn’t want to do. I also didn’t want her to not go if it was simply because she was afraid to miss out on a semester with her friends, as the case seemed to be. And then my dad tried to talk her out of it, which only further added to the confusion. My dad’s is the greatest of guys, but he’sΒ  from Alabama, has lived in the South his whole life, and has never traveled much outside of the country, so I’m an enigma to him. He hates flying—in fact, he won’t let me tell him when I’m traveling for work, as he sits in his office tracking my flight online and worrying the entire time—and can’t fathom why his daughters are so interested in all this globetrotting.

Then, Kari had a bit of a scuffle with some friends, who didn’t want her to go either, because they were going to miss her. And I get that, too, I do. College is fleeting; you want to make the most of the little time you do have there. Her boyfriend, however, ever the budding politician, diplomatically kept his opinion to himself and told her don’t let him, me, my mom, anyone make this choice for her, that Kari is the only one who knows what’s right for Kari.

Thus, she was facing one tough decision. I didn’t envy her. Of course, I wanted her to go, but Nick was right, and there reached a point when I realized I had to back away. This was her life, not mine. But after much deliberation…she decided to take the plunge. She signed the paperwork and put down her deposit yesterday. And finally gave me the go-ahead to let all of you lovely people know that January 18, she’ll be boarding a westbound ship in San Diego to a life-changing experience. She’ll be spending her summer break baby-sitting and working on scholarship applications to hopefully counter some of the costs, as it is quite pricey. I honestly think, had it not been for all of you weighing in and dispensing your wise advice as her superiors, that she might not have chosen this path and would have missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So I thank you, as does she! You all deserve a big ol’ seven-tiered chocolate ganache cake for your troubles. Only, uh, you don’t really want me in the kitchen—just ask SVV—so if ever you’re in San Francisco, how about I take you out for a drink instead?

*See Kari’s comments below.

**And don’t you worry, I already have grand plans for a regular guest column from her travels abroad and even a name and format conceptualized, as well. Only, Kari doesn’t know it yet… πŸ˜›

COMMENTS
  • April 15, 2009
    Amy

    Hooray! I’m so happy for her…sounds like it was a great choice with lots of thought. I’m also super jealous, just FYI.

  • April 15, 2009

    Aww good for you Keri! Make sure you take lots of photos for us so we can live vicariously through you too! You will have the experience of a lifetime.

  • April 15, 2009

    Oh, YAY! I’m so excited for her. She’s going to have an awesome experience. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I hope that, now that she has made it, she’s getting excited.

  • April 15, 2009

    Awww what drama. Kari – just remember, it’s okay to be homesick at first. You can be experiencing amazing things and still miss your friends – don’t think you made a mistake just because you might feel homesick. It won’t be easy the whole time but it will be WORTH IT. Good for you for taking the plunge!

  • April 15, 2009
    Kari (The future world traveler!)

    YAAAAAAAY!!! Only don’t expect me to post much.. I am not very confident in my writing ability (especially since I’m sure it will be compared to my sister’s witty posts – she got the creative writing ability, whereas, I got the number skills) AND I tend to be kind of scatterbrained and will more than likely forget to post about my adventures. But..

    YAAAAY I’m going!!! I wish I could leave tomorrow!

  • April 15, 2009

    That is some great news! I remember last year when looking for a post-graduation job, one of the sites I kept checking was the Semester at Sea career page. But I didn’t really want to be a kitchen maid for a year! I am so envious. πŸ™‚

  • April 15, 2009
    Kari (The future world traveler!)

    Oh and whoever posted this quote:

    β€œTwenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

    I love it! I wrote it in my planner and put it on my facebook so I can see it everyday:) It is the perfect quote for me at this time, and I know this is lame but it actually aided my decision.

  • April 15, 2009

    MY HEART WAS RACING AS I READ THIS. Kari, I’m SO excited for you. Don’t panic if you’re not having fun right away. I imagine there will be an adjustment period. But seriously, your whole perspective on the world is about to change.

    I’m so excited for you!

  • April 15, 2009

    Yay!

  • April 15, 2009

    Yay, so happy for you, Kari! And please, don’t be afraid to post away! We don’t expect you to be your sister (Lord knows the world can’t handle two of those – hehe!) Just be you and write from the heart! You can never go wrong that way.

    Kristin, you know when/where you can buy me that drink! πŸ™‚

  • April 15, 2009

    I’m so boring in my older years that I still use stories from my study abroad experiences at cocktail parties. Sure, there over 20 years old now (ACK!), but they were some of the best memories of my life – so they stand! Have an awesome, awesome time!

  • April 15, 2009

    Kari I’m glad you made a choice for you. And what an adventure. Live every day, one at a time. If you post, great, but don’t stress the small stuff.

  • April 15, 2009

    This is fantastic news! She’ll never ever regret it! I’m excited for guest posts!

  • April 15, 2009

    Yay!! Congrats Kari!! I have that Mark Twain quote posted everywhere also…..gives me that extra push when I need it! You will have an AMAZING time, I’m so glad you decided to take the plunge πŸ™‚ keep us posted!!!

  • April 15, 2009
    Jen

    Kari,
    I am so excited for you! Please enjoy the time; it will go quickly! Maybe you can make your own blog on blogspot or something, not just for us and your family, but also for you to look back on πŸ™‚

  • April 15, 2009
    Caitlin

    Congrats Kari!
    I was the one who left the really, really long comment about Semester at Sea because I went on the Fall 2004 voyage. I don’t think you’ll regret going, SAS is completely amazing! Also, that quote is one of my absolute favorites, one that I read before my trip and it fits really well with the trip and life beyond. If you have any questions you’d like to ask a Semester at Sea alum, I’d be happy to try and answer them!
    Caitlin

  • April 15, 2009
    Laura

    Congratulations, Kari! I think you can really be proud of yourself for taking this opportunity. Doing something you’re kind of afraid to do is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. It sounds trite, but seriously.

    And Kristin, I’m de-lurking here to say that I love this blog. As the older sister of two sisters and two brothers, I find it very touching that you’re so thoughtful and concerned with contributing to Kari having the best life she can possibly have. You wisely recognize that it’s her life to live, but it’s so sweet that you put so much effort into painting a big picture for her to consider.

    My sister and I really lobbied for our baby sister to not live at home when she went to school, to take the travel abroad semesters and to think big about her options. She’s now in her junior year and has traveled to Turkey, Greece, Bolivia and Japan. She’s had amazing experiences and has gained so much personally from the travel. She just transferred away from her home town to enter an engineering program and is making her travel this year – a trip to the Bay Area to visit ME! Hooray for loving and brave sisters.

  • April 15, 2009

    oh Kari I am so excited for you! I was so nervous when I started to read this post that you weren’t going to go. Yay for you and I can’t wait to hear all about it, that is when you have time to take a break from having the time of your life. πŸ™‚ Congrats Kari!!!

  • April 15, 2009

    Jealous. So very!

  • April 15, 2009

    I don’t even know your sister (nor have I ever met you, actually!), but I am so, so thrilled for her! What a wonderful adventure she’s about to embark on.

  • April 15, 2009

    Good for you, Kari! My travels have been few and far between. Enjoy!

  • April 16, 2009
    Estrella

    Kari, I hope you have a wonderful time!

  • April 16, 2009

    Awesome! I hope you have a wonderful time Kari!
    I have the Mark Twain quote stuck on my computer at work, and on my Facebook too to remind me to seize every opportunity I can!
    Enjoy the travelling and don’t worry too much about posting, just take lots of photos so we can all live vicariously through you :0 )

  • April 16, 2009
    Nicole

    Hooray hooray hooray! I’ve been checking in practically daily waiting to see if there would be an update. I’m so glad Kari’s going. Of all my college memories, my time abroad is the only time I miss regularly — everything else can be replicated at a local bar. Have the time of your life, take lots of pictures, and journal like crazy!

  • April 16, 2009

    So glad she decided to go! If there’s one thing about college I could do over….I’d study abroad for sure. These are beautiful pictures of Kari, btw! Now for you Kristin, AKA Travel Expert – I have a question. BF just announced he wants to take a trip somewhere “later this year” for probably a week…either a cruise (so we can be lazy but still see stuff), or a busy place where there is LOTS to do and see. Suggestions?! Thanks in advance πŸ™‚

  • April 16, 2009
    k

    so exciting! i am jealous!!!

  • April 16, 2009

    What an exciting experience! It’s scary and a change, but will be grand!

  • April 16, 2009

    Hooray, Kari! I’m so thrilled for you. I hope you enjoy every second of this experience!

  • April 16, 2009
    Bethany

    Yay! That is GREAT news.

  • April 16, 2009
    Sarah

    So so excited you decided to go, Kari! And you must keep us updated on your world travels!

  • April 16, 2009

    glad she decided to go. In college, I never went abroad. I was always afraid I would miss something. In the end, all I missed was my own chance to see a new country. I regret the decision to not go abroad everyday of my life. My friends who went and came back and realized nothing changed. I let me own fear hold me back.

    I’m glad ur sister changed her mind. opportunity only happens once

  • April 17, 2009

    Will you put me in your backpack? I don’t eat much and I sleep 12 hours a night!

    XOXO, McK

  • April 17, 2009

    Congrats!!! I am so glad that you are no longer torn by your decisions. I have a feeling your friend’s homecoming for you will more than make up for the time you spent away from them! Plus, you’ll have all the stories that they’ll want to hear πŸ™‚ Keep shining your bright light, we’re all rooting for you!!!! [and would love to follow along on your travels, don’t be shy]

  • April 17, 2009

    Congratulations! Like a lot of people who posted, I didn’t travel abroad and I absolutely regretted it. The job I stayed behind for cost me an extra 2 grand in taxes four years later and I don’t even keep in touch with the friends I thought I would miss so much. Trying to catch up on the traveling now, but am so glad you made the decision to go. Looking for ward to your guest posts.

  • April 20, 2009

    We win! We win!

    Ahem. I mean, congrats on making the right decision!

    Ahem. I mean….congrats on making the decision.

    You WON’T regret it! Even if you do…pretend you don’t and eventually you’ll actually think you don’t regret it.

  • April 20, 2009

    That is so great! I can’t wait to hear your sister’s guest posts!

  • April 21, 2009
    Amy

    Hurrah! Kari, this is WONDERFUL and I am so happy for you! I hope you don’t let your doubts about your writing keep you from posting here about your travels. One thing I wish I had done when I was abroad was keep a better journal or blog about my experiences. I kept deciding I would “do it later” and though I’m glad I was so busy I didn’t feel I had the time, I should have made the time. So, if you don’t already keep a journal, that’s my advice. πŸ™‚

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