Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year!


When a new year starts, it seems to be a time of reflection for everyone, and I am no different.

Last year, I had no idea that I would be writing this post in Skopje, Macedonia while getting ready to fly to Slovenia later today. (P.S- I wrote this post on Jan 3, 2012, by the way. I know you won’t be reading it until Jan 5th, but....) I mean I had hoped that I would get the Fulbright, but at this point last year, I didn’t know that I would. I already knew I had gotten into Teach For America and would possibly be teaching somewhere in the Rio Grande Valley. I was super excited.

The last year involved many “life events” that Facebook would want me to include on my new timeline. Things such as getting engaged, graduating college with my BA, or learning a new language. Then there are the little things, like laughing with Ashley over someone’s shirt at chili cookoff, or talking with Andy about a movie on TV and how it would make the perfect subject for a paper, or walking into the DH while I was at college and finding out that the thing I had been craving was on the menu that day! There were times when I was sad, when i didn’t want to be where I was or doing what I was doing, but there were also times when I was so excited but nervous because I didn’t know what the future held (specifically thinking of that bus ride into Macedonia).

When I applied to both TFA and Fulbright, I figured I wouldn’t get either. I had been told by a professor or two that since I had never had a prestigious grant before that I would never receive one. Also they mentioned that since I only had a 3.7 GPA, and was only involved in about 2 clubs, that I didn’t really stand a chance. (if you know me at all you know how much I wanted to go shout in said professors faces, “hey, guess what? I didn’t apply to that grant you told me not to, but guess what? I GOT THE FULBRIGHT!!!! BOO YAH!..and if you know me still, you know I never actually did).

I don’t know why I got either of these wonderful opportunities, but I am thankful that I did. I have learned so much about the world and myself since having these opportunities. There are some things that I can point out, and there are probably more that I could never name. I know that I will be a stronger teacher next year in Jacksonville when I begin to teach high school there because of my travels abroad. This time is different than before when I did a semester in Russia. I guess because I know that it was a longer time, and the fact that I am older, at a different stage in my life.

I look forward to many different dates in this coming year, but a few stand out:

June 6th (155 days) when I return to the US.
July 25 (204 days) when I marry the love of my life.
August 6 (215 days) when I start training/teaching in Jacksonville.

I’m sure there will be many more first’s for me in this coming year, ones that I currently know nothing about, but that could change my life.

I hope that this new year brings you joy. I hope that you are able to have learning experiences, and try new things, go new places, meet new people. Maybe one of them will change your life, maybe you will change theirs.

No matter what this new years holds (or if you believe the fake version of the Mayan calendar debate that it will end) for you, I hope you are able to be yourself and have fun!

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