This is sure to be a tale of triumph and tribulation, of exhaustion and frustration. Most importantly this will be a tale of determination and dedication, of travel, maybe of love, but always of learning. This blog will document one American anthropology major's journey to the third world island of Pohnpei, Micronesia.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011
A Minor Change in Plans
You know how people always say that you don't know how much something means to you until you lose it? Well, I don't think that's always true. I knew exactly how much I wanted to go to Kosrae. I wrote and rewrote essays. I dedicated these past four years to getting the grades that would get me into a program like this. I read everything I could about Micronesia. I passed up job opportunities. I planned fundraisers. I prepared myself for leaving my friends and family. I accepted that I would not look very pleasing to the eye due to lack of make up and high humidity for 11 months. I was okay with the fact that I would not have many modern amenities such as air conditioning and cell reception. More importantly however I had embraced the things I could not wait to do. To teach. To meet people. To learn about the culture. To discover the island.
Then- in an instant- it was all gone. I felt my heart rise into my throat and the words blur as I tried to read the e-mail that explained that funding had only been provided for 8 of the 11 volunteers accepted. That the last three to be accepted would be cut. That I was one of those three.
Suddenly I was in 3rd grade and I had just fell off the parallel bars and had the wind knocked out of me; I laid there trying to gasp for air with my friends around me trying to help, but unable to do anything. Instead I was 20, and no one was home. I sat shell shocked. I closed the computer because I couldn't look at it, maybe if I didn't see it it wouldn't be real.
Alex, my life raft, came home bringing a bottle of wine, chapstick (god you know me well), and a Cosmo. I am sorry for what she had to come home to find. I had tried to hide evidence by quickly wiping my face when I saw her pull in the drive, but alas my non-waterproof mascara betrayed me.
As I sat staring, trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces and make a new life plan, Alex was calling in reinforcements. She had never seen me like this. I had never seen me like this. Then again, I had never felt defeated in this way. I had worked hard all year not to be the girl with no plan after I graduated. I had had options, a few actually- where I would have made more money, been close to the important people, and not have to put myself in any type of discomfort. But that's not what I wanted. It's not what I needed. I needed this trip. I needed this experience. Even though this had happened- I still had that feeling that that was where I was supposed to go, what I was supposed to do with the next year of my life.
So Alex, the God-send that she is, did what any good friend would do and got angry for me. Real angry. She quickly set into motion the idea that I had freedom now and I was in a position to do whatever I wanted. But what I wanted was Micronesia. But I was not illogical, I knew that tomorrow I would start applying for new jobs, and I knew that I would find something quickly. But then, in that moment, all I wanted to do was grieve. Grieve for all my teaching ideas that would not have a chance to tested. Grieve for the plans I had made. Grieve for the way my life would have been for a year.
I don't mean this to sound so dramatic, but I was truly jolted. I could not write about it on here until now because it would make it that much more real. How would I explain that to everyone? Only a few people knew because I couldn't even say it out loud.
However, it is my philosophy that things have a way of working themselves out. I knew that this had happened for some reason, I was just unaware of that reason until a few days later when a spot opened up in the island of Pohnpei, Micronesia. This island is home to an archaeological wonder called Nan Madol, nick-named the Venice of the Pacific, which I will write about in another post. I was meant to be on that island, with that archaeology. When I began reading about that island, it just felt right. I am even more excited about my trip to the "Garden of Eden" that is Pohnpei, Micronesia. The joy that came with that e-mail ... I had my dream back, and I cannot wait to go spend the next 11 months living it.
*I would like to say a special thank you to my family, Alex, Alyssa, and particularly Mrs. Adams. There just aren't words that can express my gratitude to each of you for what you did for me during those days, I am so lucky to have you all in my life.