Why Getting Ready to Leave is A Lot Like a Butterfly1:18 PM
10 days is how long the monarch butterfly is in cocoon during the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly. This cocoon, prettily referred to as a chrysalis is not something made by the caterpillar, it is rather the last layer of skin the caterpillar sheds before it becomes a butterfly. When in chrysalis, the caterpillar hangs from a branch or twig; it is left to the mercies of its environment and little can protect it from the harsh realities of the food chain and predator pray relationship.
The fact that butterflies survive this stage is amazing in and of itself. But let's look into what happens inside the cocoon. During these 10 days, the cells of the caterpillar break apart and are similar to stem cells, they can differentiate into any type of cell in the newly emerged butterfly's body. Cells that once may have been antennae can become wing cells; former leg cells may be new eye cells.
When a butterfly emerges from the chrysalis, despite the changes in each of its cells, it retains some of its memory from its life is a caterpillar.
Like a caterpillar, I have 10 days of metamorphosis left. 10 days until I reach my new home country, 10 days until I begin the butterfly part of my life.
Somehow I have to take all that I am, all that I have been these past 15 years and turn it into someone and something that's ready for this. In Malaysia, I will be a stranger in a foreign land, I will be the daisy in a field of tulips, I will be the minnow in a sea of tuna. Coming from a place where I fit in, I will suddenly stand out.
I've read all the guides, signed all the papers, filled out all the forms to get ready, but it's the inside preparation that matters. Parts of me will differentiate, just as the caterpillar changes in its chrysalis . After these 10 days, I will have completed 5 days of orientation and learned much about being an exchange student in general as well as Malaysia specifically. After this time I'll go to Malaysia as someone different, someone ready. My metamorphosis will be much longer than 10 days, the next 10 days are just the beginning.
Because ready or not, Malaysia will make me grow my wings.