What, at the age of 22, helped me last 15 months alone in a foreign country?
My dog, and my blankie.
Yes, a blankie. A flannel baby quilt, made by my grandparents when I was little. Every night it's there with me. You must know, though, that this isn't "the" blankie I carried around as a toddler. No, anyone who knew me up through my teenage years is probably familiar with my original "purple blankie" I used to tote everywhere. That blanket, unfortunately, was accidently sent to the goodwill by a friend's mom when I was 17. It was falling apart long before its' untimely demise, though, and I still carry two small scraps of flannel, inside my scripture case, that had fallen off of it shortly before it disappeared. As much as I miss it, the blanket I've used since then has served as a worthy replacement. Yes, at the age of 17 I couldn't come to terms with life without a blankie. I didn't cope and move on as most nearly-adults would. Instead, I found a suitable replacement. Both were made by my grandparents, both having been broken in by years of wear, tear, and filth by yours truly.
From an early age I compromised with myself about when I'd give up the blankie. Jr High, I decided, would be my coming of age. When I turned 12, though, I decided that High School was a more appropriate time to cut the habbit cold turkey. High School turned into graduation, and from there I decided Marriage was a good time to give her up. After all, who would want to share a bed with a dingy piece of flannel between he and his wife? Granted, he may tease me from time to time, but Donald hasn't made me give her up.
I also told myself I'd never be the sort of person who'd talk to their dog in full sentences. And yet, here I am. Moroni knows my deepest secrets, and his big, mischievous brown eyes have never failed to comfort me during my long-winded complaints and tears.
Without my blankie and my 110 pound lap-dog, the Boogie Man surely would have gotten me by now. I'm grateful for them both.
And I don't plan on giving either up any time soon.