I am not one of those it’s-for-the-best feel good types. I’m with Josh Ritter when he says, “if the best is for the best then the best is unkind.” I am not generally described as fatalist or optimistic.
Yet, here I am.
It was for the best.
I wanted to go to Honduras in November, because I needed SPACE and warmth and travel and there were some enticing prices. But it wasn’t as good of a deal as I had hoped, so I stayed home. But I got my space anyway in December, and I got a chance to save some money for the next opportunity coming down the pike.
I investigated Alternative Spring Break, which was exciting because there was an opportunity in Honduras with a do-gooder focus and a longer time-line. But then I looked at the cost, authority on the trip, and simply lost enthusiasm for the project. For some reason I felt like I needed validation on this decision, like I needed permission to not spend my time and money on ASB.
Then I got the most fantasy-fulfilling opportunity of all: I was invited to apply for an all-expenses paid fellowship in Saudi Arabia. This would allow me to visit a country that is normally off-limits to Americans, do it in a non-scary and not-too-long way, get to travel for free, be back in the Middle East, and get to continue some of my research. I know, I know, how many American feminist 22 year olds fantasize about wearing an abaya and niqab for two weeks in a Gulf country in which they cannot drive? But seriously, it sounded amazing. When I didn’t hear back within the allotted time, I had an awful sinking feeling. Then I found out about the winners on facebook. Now I was really mad, because I hadn’t even been notified. I emailed again to see what happened, and apparently my application was never received, even though I sent it to and from the exact same addresses I used to figure out what happened. That was just so crushing–to find out I had never even been considered. I’m really not so sure what the upside is on this one. I can still apply next year, if it runs. But it was incredibly hard to read the blogs of all my friends in the Arab League program who were over there together.
See what I mean about not being upbeat?
And then I got an email about a trip to Haiti. So okay, it didn’t turn out to be Haiti in the end. But it meant exploring more of the Caribbean, and taking more classes in social enterprise, which is a damn good thing since it’s what I want to do with my big-girl life. It also lead to getting cozy with 40 new(ish) people, more time spent translating, and a great field research opportunity. Now I’m looking at a whole different sector of jobs, I had a much higher impact than originally intended, and my costs went down significantly.
So I’d say I made out alright.