Dear Friend,

I feel as though I owe you an update, especially in light of my last post.  As I’m sure you can imagine, however, I am running in circles between class, work, and homework (and a little bit of fun too, I promise) so this will be short. The short version is that life is going much better! I still haven’t quite caught up with everything but I’m getting there and in the last two hours alone have written almost 3 pages (pretty good for me), hence the study break. I still have bunches that I have to accomplish (this week especially) but I’m not feeling nearly as overwhelmed as I was, and this is probably why I’ve actually been accomplishing stuff (go figure). It is slowly starting to occur to me that I will be leaving the country in less than two months… So SOON! To those of you who don’t know I will be leaving early January for the Middle East: Egypt, Jordan, Palestine/Israel, Greece, and Italy (I’m also secretly hoping to find my way into Turkey at some point too) People have been asking me if I’ve excited to be going and I am, I need the change of pace, I have been itching to travel, I want to experience the world differently for a while, but I’m also feeling slightly apprehensive about leaving behind the people I care about here (obviously not including those who are coming with me.) I recognize that it’s somewhat irrational, but I worry about those relationships changing and being different after having been gone for almost 4 months… The fear seems selfish, this irritability at the fact that life will go on without me, but I know that it’s also that I value the people and relationships in my life and don’t want to return to find those relationships weakened. Anywhoo that is all for now, at least until I finish this paper.

Lots of Love, Mandi Jo