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Imagine freshly arriving in a foreign country, away from your family, away from all familiarity and responsibilities to embark on a new adventure. Sounds amazing right? Well, also imagine the very week you arrive that you have consistent excrutiing oral pain as one of your wisdom teeth breaks through your gums to ruin your life. Welp, that was my experience when I arrived for my time in Cape Town and man has it been difficult.

I entitled this blog “Stop worrying all the time” because these are the words my mother has said to me what seems like every day of my life. I wouldn’t call myself a Type A person, or a neatfreak, or someone who must always have order. I just like to ensure that all my ducks are in order, that I am where I am supposed to be when I am supposed to be there, so on and so forth. Thus, when my tooth started hurting and obviously had to be extracted in a foreign land, you can imagine how crazy my mind was racing. My poor roommate, Jemu, had to constantly hear me go back and forth, “should I wait until I get home to get my teeth out? Should I just get one out with local anesthesia? Should I get all four out!?”.

Worrying, worrying, worrying. This word is what has plagued my experience so far. I am the type of the person who is so passionate and when something goes wrong, be it little or big, all my energy goes into worrying about that one issue. But, one day, when I forced myself to relax, I remembered what my mother said to me, “Stop worrying all the time.” So, that, is exactly what I’ve down with the help of Cape Town and my NGO work here.

Forcing myself to have fun, forcing myself to hike a mountain when I’m deathly afraid of heights, so on and so forth. I pushed myself out of my comfort, something my boring Rhode Island self does not often do. This place has made me stop worrying about my impending wisdom teeth extraction. Although I’ve only been here for a small amount of time, I feel myself changing and growing for the better. Until I sat to write down this post, my mind hasn’t been filled with the horrors of my impending surgery and the scary dentists like it was before. And I am so grateful for this.

So, next week, as I get knocked out with the general anesthesia to undergo my teeth extraction I’ll remember the words, “Stop worrying all the time.”