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’s 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… 😛