Friday, December 28, 2012

In the meantime..

Greetings from South America!!

If you're looking to know about my time in Brazil, it will be posted here:

Feel free to check it out, otherwise, I'll be in Venezuela soon, wait for you there!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ay Ay Ay, Here We Go Again and With a Scholarship!

Here I go again!  I'm packing up, getting out, and leaving home.  Of course, the leaving home thing is only partially true.  I haven't lived at home since I moved out the summer after I turned 18.  I didn't move out on purpose, but rather I moved out to go on an exchange to Brasil as a Rotary Youth Ambassador.  I didn't want to come back and so I extended my stay and eventually by the time I got home, I was looking for an apartment in the cities, so that I could start going to college.  Back to the leaving home comment though, I'm leaving Minnesota, my comfort zone, and the closeness and freedom to see and call my family whenever.  I'm sure in the beginning it won't seem so weird, because I'm going to my second home in Tangará da Serra, to be with my family and friends there.  However, eventually I'm going to arrive on that one plane, all by myself, and I'm going to disembark on a whole new territory, an unknown culture, and with minor language skills.  This is going to be fun!

I'm working on packing up my room because I will be subleasing it for the spring semester!  This is great news because I don't have to pay for it while I'm gone, however it can become slightly stressful having to think of everything I have to do before I leave!!  An added bonus is that I don't have to move my big furniture, just my personal items, because there is an agreement that I will be coming back and that my subleaser can make himself at home to my larger items (i.e. bed, dresser, couch, etc.)  If I wasn't so conscious about making sure he had closet space, I probably wouldn't move my clothes and shoes either.

My time with my family and friends is dwindling.  I am stuck in the cities until after work on Friday the 21st, 2012.  Then I will get to spend approximately 4.5 days with them and I will be off again.  Whether or not I'm going to get to see my dad is still a mystery to me.  He may or may not be taking off to the great oil fields of North Dakota before Christmas and that would mean that unless I can find time between work and studying tomorrow, I won't be seeing him until May 2013.  As awful as that makes my heart feel, these things happen and the full house of us 5 kids and mom will still feel warm and almost complete.

While I'm getting everything together, I can't continue to think of a way to thank the Institute of International Education enough for awarding me with the Gilman Scholarship.  My mind has been eased of many financial burdens.  I had been working three jobs, while taking twenty credits, this semester to ensure that I could pay my bills and save some extra money.  I was trying hard to be able to study abroad with the least amount of debt as possible, and with my stubborn ways, I refused to ask my parents for money.  Earlier on the day I found out I was a recipient, I had been talking to my mother on the phone and telling her about all of the loans I was going to start looking into.  Later that night I called her in tears.  She was quick to ask what was wrong and based on a medical scare in the family we were all a little emotionally distraught that week.  I couldn't tell her, I could only squeak out the words "the scholarship".  She took this as a bad sign and her condolences began.  "Oh, Peanut, Aletha Honey" her sweet voice dripping with pain for me.  Then I laughed and cried a little more and said, "No, no!"  I explained to her that I got it, the more competitive scholarship, the one I wanted most, my long shot scholarship.  Then she started crying too and we shared that moment of financial liberation together, until my father started getting worried about why we were doing all that crying.  "Strong work" came his voice through the phone when I told him the story.  Few times before have I ever been so proud of myself as I was when I opened that email.  I was speechless and full of emotion and my trip hadn't even started yet.  When the scholarship came in, I totaled up the estimated expenses, subtracted the aid, subtracted the scholarship, and subtracted what I had already put into the trip, and I was left with little to nothing.  Not only was this option in Venezuela the best for my major it was also the cheapest, and now I know that I am going to get to reap the benefits of all of my hard work that I have put into my life thus far without the burden of worrying about finances.  This really was the best of Christmas presents.  Thank you again!

May your spirits be merry and bright,