Last night, I read a feature in Real Simple (August 2012) called “Your Words” where the magazine poses a question and readers write in and respond to it. The best/most unique answers then end up published in the magazine. This month’s question: “What risk are you glad you took?”
I loved reading all of the different responses. Here are some of my favorites:
After dating for only 2.5 months, we got married
opened a bakery
18-day, 100-mile trek through the Himalayan Mountains
And then I started thinking about the risks in my life I’m glad I took. The first that comes to mind is quitting my job at Harvard to blog full-time, but a close second is going on a semester abroad during my junior year of college.
I remember being a freshman and thinking it was crazy-cool that my peers were living and taking classes in a foreign country, but it was something I could never do. I mean, living thousands of miles away from my family and friends, learning a foreign language, and totally immersing myself in a new culture? I couldn’t do that. I was too “afraid.” I truly thought a semester abroad wasn’t in my future.
By the time my sophomore year rolled around, I still hadn’t changed my mind about taking a semester abroad, but the campus was buzzing with talk of upcoming trips. I didn’t think anything of it until my friends—my close friends—were applying to live abroad that next semester. At first, I was bummed because I wouldn’t have my friends around, but then I randomly accompanied one of them to the Semester Abroad office to pick up an application. On a whim, I grabbed one too and waited until the very last minute to apply. I guess I didn’t want to feel left out.
I only applied to one semester abroad program (York, England – I totally played it safe), and a few weeks later, I received a letter saying I was accepted. I know I could have backed out at any time, but I’m so glad I didn’t and took this risk. It ended up being a life-changing experience for me.
I made it to York St. John University, safe and sound. I lived with three English students and a Japanese exchange student in a flat just off campus. I learned English even better!
I traveled all over Europe with my friends—to London, Dublin, Galway, Edinburgh, Brussels, Venice, Prague, and Amsterdam—places I never thought I’d visit.
I even traveled totally alone on more than one occasion. I figured out how to navigate trains, planes, and automobiles (long before SmartPhones), made friends at hostels, and explored new places.
Long story short, my semester abroad helped me become a more confident, independent, and adventurous person. I was forced to do so many things outside of my comfort zone during those four months, so when I returned home, I wasn’t nearly as “afraid” to try new things. The experience definitely changed me for the better, and I’m so glad I decided to go.
I ended up getting really hungry before dinner, so I snacked on some celery and Pretzel Crisps with garlic hummus. I pretty much housed this snack.
Mal was at CrossFit and dinner was still a couple of hours away, so I decided to pour myself a glass of wine and foam roll my back. I know, random, but the combo helped me relax, both mentally and physically.
When Mal got home, I started on dinner, which was Coconut Chicken from the Paleo Plan. The recipe called for 1/2 cup of almond flour for the breading, but I used 1/4 cup of almond flour + 1/4 cup of coconut flour for an even more coconut-y flavor.
On the side, we had roasted broccoli.
Oh my goodness, the Coconut Chicken turned out so well. I absolutely loved it. Mal said it was “ridiculous” and “the best chicken recipe we’ve ever had.” Definitely make this one! It’s also super easy and only calls for six ingredients.
After dinner, I drank some more wine and watched Breaking Bad with Mal and Murphy on the couch.
Speaking of Breaking Bad, Mal showed me this link last night: 20 Neat Facts, Cool Allusions, Instances Of Foreshadowing, And Theories On ‘Breaking Bad’. I thought you fans would enjoy it. I love the use of color that it mentions—although, now I’m nervous every time I see red or pink!
Question of the Day
What risk are you glad you took?