Anyone Got a Xanax to Share?

Nerd confession: My favorite piece of anatomy is a batch of tendons that connect the papillary muscles to the tricuspid and bicuspid valves in the heart called the chordae tendinae, or heart strings. Their job is very important, essentially to work with the valves to maintain unidirectional blood flow through the heart. But I think the chordae tendinae do more than that. I think heart strings pull our compassion towards a lost cause, tighten and strain under the pains of a broken heart and swell with gratitude, pride and love.

Right now, my chordae tendinae feel like they are under a lot of tension, almost as if they could snap any minute. As I am sure you can imagine, it is uncomfortable.

I feel like my brain was sick of processing stress, so it punted the emotion to my heart. Bad idea, brain. Stress is much more effectively handled with logic rather than emotion. I hate it when my brain acts like an idiot. Letting my heart take on stress just means I cry….a lot.

For those of you with a basic understanding of anatomy and physiology, I know brains don’t punt stress to the heart. But I need metaphor to explain my current state of emotional disarray.

In the 21 days since receiving my official acceptance into the University of Edinburgh I have accepted my financial aid package, applied for my Tier 4 Student Visa, packed, moved, and put my car up for sale. I’ve said goodbye to friends, quit my job, visited my grandparents and taken my little brother to check out a school in California. I’ve planned a travel itinerary, set a budget for my new life, called the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to make sure my GI Bill was properly set up and started looking for studio flats to let.

I forgot one teeny tiny detail: to budget in mistakes.


I’m supposed to be on a plane to NYC tomorrow and on a plane to Edinburgh the day after that.

I booked my tickets in a foolish attempt to save some money by getting them with as much advance notice as possible (right after my conditional acceptance into the program in June),  without having information about the visa process and how I would need to have my financial aid approved prior to being able to apply and without understanding the financial aid process and that the US Government wouldn’t even process my loan request until July 1.

Silly me. In light of that, flying out July 23 seems like quite the time crunch.

I moved my tickets to January today, thinking a one-way ticket in January would be fine, freeing up my summer/spring travel plans. Aer Lingus charged me $210 for a change fee. Even though I hated to buy a $480 ticket with a $690 credit and pay a $210 transfer fee, I sucked it up and considered the extra $$$ an investment in my sanity. I looked at the extra time I’d been unexpectedly gifted as a way to reorganize the things I am storing at my mom’s, get my car sold and maybe even sell my TV or some plasma to quench the feeling of hemorrhaging so much cash. Plus, now I can make sure I don’t fly through Ireland and mess up my immigration stamp thing. Maybe this was meant to be….

I started to feel like not having to fly tomorrow was a bit of a relief.

After doing some cleaning in my old apartment, my roommate and I went out for a glass of wine. She’s newly engaged and asked me what my school holiday dates were to increase my chances of making it to her wedding. I told her I wasn’t sure about the spring and summer dates, but I could check easily. Looking at the website, I realized that somehow, weeks ago, I had followed a link to the University’s semester dates, not the veterinary school’s. Which, of course, are slightly different.

My bottom lip trembled.

Making mistakes like this is so not like me. I usually keep important information so orderly, written down. Together.

How did I make such a gross error in my travel plans!? My current January ticket has me flying into Edinburgh a full week after the start of my spring semester.

I immediately tried calling Aer Lingus, hoping I could avoid another $210 change fee since I recognized my mistake less than 24 hours from booking. Their office was closed. I’ll call again in the morning and throw myself upon their mercy, testing their dedication to customer service. The thought of paying an additional $210 for a ticket that the rest of the world gets for $480 makes my stomach feel the same way it did when I was in Mexico, sucking on limes for an hour to whiten my teeth and then drinking milk to quench my thirst. Ugh. That was a crap day.

I know I’m stressed. Every straw has felt like my last straw lately and it takes nothing to break me down.

I cried almost the whole day when I sent in my visa application. I couldn’t find my Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) number necessary for completing Appendix 8. I looked everywhere: My personal e-mail, my university e-mail, my university profile, my application tracker, all the papers I’d received via Royal Mail. I finally reached out to the facebook group of my future classmates hoping someone was at least close enough to my time zone to clue me in. Sure enough, it was in another logon – one I had forgotten I even had.

I like to keep everything in one place. I have a binder of all my important documents. Having all my information in different electronic places and struggling to navigate the university website is getting to me. I’ll probably go on a printing-highlighting-epic-binder-updating spree tomorrow just to feel like I am in control again. Right now, I’m just feeling out of synch with the cosmos.

I tell myself to relax, to cut myself some slack. I mean, if I had applied and gotten in normally, I would have had months to plan this move, not weeks. All things considered, I’m probably doing great. Right now, I feel like I’m failing vet school’s first exam: showing up.

About ermodi

i like champagne and nachos. i watch people’s mouths move when they talk to me and judge if they are a good kisser i like to write with fine-tip Sharpies because i think it makes me look confident i bite my nails i think doing the dishes is a very lonely chore i think “autumn” is the prettiest word in the English language. i believe in love – or, at least something that resembles love, but i don’t trust this idea of forever.
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