Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Finding the Bright Spot

“The proper function of man is to live, 
not to exist. I shall not waste my days in 
trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” 
~ Jack London

"Well, you sure don’t let any grass grow under your feet," my friend, Bob, wrote to me today when I emailed him that I had already started planning for a different trip Europe.  "When are you thinking of going?"

 "I would go tomorrow if I could," I answered. I really would if I could.

Had I heard back from my Fulbright friends even two weeks ago, I think I may have booked us on a $369, 13-day transatlantic cruise to Barcelona. (You read that right. $369 for 13 days. It's an interior cabin, but it's $369.... for 13 days.... Click here to see what I mean.)  It leaves on May 1, though, and that's just not enough time to arrange everything here (But it's $369.) and on the other side of the ocean ($369). 

"You know," I said to Mike while I was perusing the cruise details again last night, "we could go to Barcelona for la Mercé. I could either go to Italy before and meet you there or after when you head home."

"I think that might work," he said.

Ain't no thinking to it. It's going to be great...not $369 great, but great.


By the way, la Merce is the most wonderful festival. I'll share a little more about it in the next few days.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Always Look on the Bright Side

"What does it mean if you tried to get somewhere, 
and you didn't? . . .Does that mean something bad?" 
"No. It doesn't mean something bad. It just means 
you have a second chance to do it. And two chances 
is always better than just one.” 
~ C. JoyBell C.

I'm finally over the last hurdle, and I didn't quite stick the landing.  Please allow me to explain and thank you all for your thoughts when I've posted my cryptic remarks over the past eight months. 

Last year, I applied for a Fulbright Fellowship to Denmark. I had applied for a different one the previous year and found out very quickly that I didn't quite have the experience Russia wanted. One of the Fulbright program officers encouraged me to apply for the Denmark position, and after a lot of consideration, I did.

The application process is quite involved.  Scholars may apply to only one of the more-than-1000 grants available.  Choosing is not easy because there are many requirements (terminal degrees, language proficiency [sometimes]), etc. One must include three professional references, two-to-three syllabi related to the chosen program, a letter of application, a personal statement, and a project proposal.  All of those items are due August 1, and between then and October, CIES qualifies applicants to go to peer review.  Peer review can last three months

On December 4, I found out that I had made it through and was "recommended for an award by the peer review panels."  The applications of those who made it through had to go to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the respective Fulbright offices abroad for further review.  Actual award notification can take place between January and June.

This morning, I received a second letter from Fulbright: "Although you were recommended for an award by the peer review panels, you were not among the final group of applicants selected for funding in the 2014-15 academic year exchange program."

CIES does not tell finalists why we did not get the award.  It could be the lack of funding, or it could be something else.  I am very grateful to have made it to the finals because I thought I didn't have a chance to make it even that far.  I am not permanently tethered to a university, and I thought that would immediately disqualify me.  I also was worried that being over 50 could hurt my chances.  I'll never know why, and that's okay.

My dear husband and my good friend, Bob, were both worried of my reaction to the news since I've been quite on edge the past few months.  Let me be perfectly honest: I am sad, but I am not devastated.  Mike asked me if I'm going to apply again.  I don't know.  Should I put myself through it again?  Do I want to? I honestly don't now.

The first thought that went through my mind when I received the email this morning was, "Crap."  After that, I started dancing with Riley . . . "Always look on the bright side of life...."  Remember  that Monty Python song

The way I look at it,  I now have more time to spend in Italy....