BY ANNA SAMS
The clock is tick, tick, ticking as it has been for all 19 years, 103 days and 39 minutes of my life, but I’ve never pushed so hard against the relentless hands as I am right now.
The feeling is something indescribable, something my own brain has difficulty sorting out. Now, when I tryto think about the past year, I can honestly say that my mind is drawing a blank. But yet it is the most overwhelming and meaningful blank my mind has ever drawn.
One year. It’s nothing in the grand scheme of things. But for once, the grand scheme doesn’t matter. For now, it’s only my scheme that’s on the table, and for me, one year is everything. Trying to illustrate my experiences of my time in Denmark in words would be impossible, and I’m sure that every exchange student in the world would agree with me on that.
But there’s something special about that; because it can’t be expressed through words or gestures or what have you, it becomes a deeply personal concept, that lives only within me and in my memories. Try as I might to share the experiences and emotions that have characterized this year, I will never be able to communicate it on a level that does justice to what I feel in my head and in my heart.
The memories of happiness and of pain, of joy and of love, bring a smile to my face and a tear rolling down my cheek. I’ve grown so much this year, from a giddy and excited high schooler, fascinated with the world behind closed doors, to a wiser and stronger person who found a way to pick the lock.
After a year in Denmark, I gained more than just better taste in music and fashion. This year has given me a gift, the kind that never wears or goes out of style. This gift I’ve received is the confidence to get where I want to go in my life.
Before exchange, I couldn’t help feeling like a pawn in someone else’s game. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great life, but I still felt as though I was stuck on a conveyer belt that would carry me all the way to my death bed. And the scariest part was, I had no idea how to get off.
Or maybe I did know, but I was just too afraid. The road to independence is long and tiring, as trying as it is rewarding. It started with a crawl, in my rough first months in Denmark, longing to go back to what I knew, a sort of withdrawal.
Then came the first staggering steps, trying to hold footing on unstable ground as my new life continued to knock me down with blows from every direction. Soon after followed a period of calm, a leisurely stroll in the springtime air, where everything fell into place in a separate peace.
And now, as my time here is drawing to a close, I’ve begun to run. My feet are carrying me faster than I knew I could move, toward an unsure destination, but the uncertainty isn’t what matters here.
What matters is that the destination is truly my own, and that I am finally free, and I owe it all to Denmark.
No matter how difficult things get, I know I’ll always have that wind at my back.
To those of you who have been following my columns throughout the year, or even those who are just tuning in now, I want to thank you for your support.
Though exchange is a journey of self-discovery, no one would ever make it through completely alone. I want to give a shout-out of support to every current and past exchange student out in the big, wide world, because until now, I could never appreciate them for the strong and incredible people they are for surviving a crazy year like this.
And to all of the aspiring students out there, may you have the best of luck, and I hope with all my heart that your experiences are just as eye-opening as mine, or even better.
A lot can happen in a year, and through the tears and smiles, laughs and cries, I know I’ll never be the same. As I’m readying myself for the return home, I can only imagine what awaits in store at the turn of the page.
Thank you again to my family and hometown for all their support!
ANNA SAMS returns to Cooperstown on June 16.
BY ANNA SAMS
- Local News
Dreams Park, then and now, required a work ethic
Campers coming to the Cooperstown Dreams Park each year not only come to play on fields near a historic setting, they come here to apply and improve upon their baseball skills and work ethic. Long before the Dreams Park came to be, those fields held another function that required a good work ethic, in that of farming.Continued ...
Ford's state title a first for CCS
Creative visualization works. Just ask Lucy Ford. She didn't know it as creative visualization at the time, but it may have helped her win a state championship anyway.Continued ...
- Trolley schedule has been interrupted
Fly Creek artist's collages are on display
"Chromatones," collages by Fly Creek artist Amy Cannon, will be on display through Aug. 5 at The Garage at 689 Beaver Meadow Road in Cooperstown.Continued ...
Marchi leaves Manor for new job
COOPERSTOWN -- Amid Otsego County's effort to sell the debt-plagued Otsego Manor, the nursing home's administrator, Edmond Marchi, has resigned to take a $107,000-a-year job running a similar facility in Schenectady County, officials said today.Continued ...
Deowongo Island dedication planned
Otsego Land Trust and the Canadarago Lake Improvement Association are inviting the public to participate in the community dedication of Deowongo Island as a shared public space on June 22.Continued ...
Some businesses remain short-staffed this year
Businesses in the Cooperstown area are gearing up for another summer season. As more tourists visit the area businesses, more employees need to be trained and ready to answer their call.Continued ...
CCS names top four students
On Sunday, June 23, 74 Cooperstown Central School seniors will put on caps and gowns to conclude one phase in their lives and prepare to embark on another. Among those walking to the tune of "Pomp and Circumstance" will be the top four students.Continued ...
Farmers' Museum announces results of 17th annual benefit horse show
On Sunday, June 9, equestrians from around the region participated in the 17th annual Farmers' Museum Benefit Horse Show, held at the Iroquois Farm Showgrounds on River Road, just outside the village of Cooperstown.Continued ...
Hands-on learning for homeschool students being offered
The Farmers' Museum, the Fenimore Art Museum and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum have teamed up to offer a day of hands-on learning for homeschoolers and their families.Continued ...
MCS announces valedictorian, salutatorian
The top two students at Milford Central School have been named.Continued ...
Drillers appeal frack-ban ruling
The courts are expected to take less time to determine if towns have the legal right to keep out hydraulic fracturing for shale gas than state officials are taking to determine if the controversial form of drilling should be allowed in New York.Continued ...
DOT ends lakeside chemical spraying
State officials have agreed to stop spraying chemical herbicides along a stretch of state Route 80 that runs along the west bank of Otsego Lake, the source of drinking water for some 2,000 people, Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz said Monday.Continued ...
Three local men are arrested in arson case
Three local men have been arrested on felony charges after investigators determined that fire was set at an unoccupied home in Hartwick to collect more than $50,000 of insurance money, Otsego County deputies said Monday.Continued ...
CV-S names top students for Class of 2013
The top two students at Cherry Valley-Springfield Central School have been named.Continued ...
Students participate in pre-engineering competition
The New Visions Pre-Engineering students brought home the gold at the SkillsUSA State Competition held in Syracuse.Continued ...
Musician's 100th birthday to be celebrated
The B-Side Ballroom and Supper Club at 1 Clinton Plaza, Oneonta, will host the Gallodoro 100th Birthday Bash featuring New York City saxophonist, Chad E. Smith at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 20.Continued ...
Performance set at Lake Front Restaurant
Nashville-based singer and songwriter Erin Thomas will appear at 7 p.m. at Lake Front Restaurant in Cooperstown tonight. Her husband, 1995 CCS graduate Brian Horner will play saxophone with her.Continued ...
- Thursday, June 6, 2013
Smithy has lots to offer this summer season
The Smithy Center for the Arts, at 55 Pioneer St. in Cooperstown, is working year-round to fulfill its mission of bringing the arts to all members of the community, inviting them to be appreciators and creators of virtually all art forms, according to Danielle Newell, the Smithyâ€™s executive director.Continued ...
Shakedown Street is coming to village
For one weekend only, the Chestnut Street parking lot will be known as Shakedown Street. The open-air market famous at Grateful Dead shows is expected come to Cooperstown on July 13 and 14 for the Furthur concert at Doubleday Field on Sunday, July 14. Furthur is the Grateful Dead legacy band that features original Dead members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir.Continued ...
- Dreams Park, then and now, required a work ethic