study abroad adventure

Photojournaling and blogging study abroad adventures…

Could I be a Blog Correspondent?

I have yet to hear from the Gilman Scholarship committee on whether or not I will be a travel correspondent which excites me, really!  Today, however, I received an email inviting me to apply to be a Blog Correspondent and I rushed to put in my application.  I was asked what three things I would want if I were stranded on a deserted island.  I always roll my eyes at this question because I don’t think it says much about anyone.  Anyways, I would have a lighter/matches for the first few nights (sos, heat, and protection), my pocket knife – it rocks, and a pen/pencil to journal my time spent there.  This is assuming there are no internet or radio signals, and that I can’t choose a person – which would totally be my husband.  He is calm, smart, and very mavericky.

The next question was if I could be anything what would I be.  I chose my dog.  Because she is loved and cared for better than I am. JK.  Plus she is sweet, gentle, and calm.  There’s a recurring theme here, if you haven’t caught on.  I’m not exactly a calm person, so I depend on my dog and husband for a balance. For your entertainment here is my essay submission (They wanted to see how well we can write).  I chose a topic from their list, a cross country trip.

It was Thanksgiving day, 2010, and the clouds were rushing in to greet us.  My husband accepted a job offer in Arizona and we had long decided I would stay in Winston-Salem, NC to allow the kids to finish their school year.  Our great plan was that we would take the trek in the summer so we can find our favorite camp spots along the way, like Hot Springs, Arkansas.  A week before he left a panic ensued in me and I decided my place was with my husband.  The house was packed, cleaned, and I successfully found a renter to take over the rest of my lease at the apartment. I reluctantly withdrew the kids from school and we started loading the truck. We donated most of our large items and promised my Dad we would stop by their place near Charlotte on our way out.  The rain seemed to push us out as if to say, “It’s now or never!” and I stared at the building in the rear view mirror as we pulled away. 

 By the time we pulled up to my Step-Uncle’s house the tiny rain droplets turned into snow warning us not to stay too long.  We jumped out of the truck and heard the salsa music from outside the front door.  The spicy and sweet aromas of the food beckoned us in and we ate our Thanksgiving meal Venezuelan style.  His wife, a Dominican, was the master chef at all the family gatherings.  This time it included the traditional roasted pork, rice and beans, and fruit salad.  We ate and danced until the snow knocked on the door and tapped his watch. It was time to go. We had to move ahead of the storm.  I kissed and hugged my Dad and promised to see them soon.  The truck ride from North Carolina to Arizona was quiet with anticipation.  We’d stopped to visit a friend in Houston who owns her own boutique tea shop and business.  For lunch we shared her Thanksgiving leftovers and that night we slept on the floor, glad to be indoors after four days of camping. 

Then it hit me – the sadness.  Could my love really stand the test of being in Arizona?  You, see, I’d just left a year and 2 months prior, vowing never to return.  I sold all my belongings, even the house, and packed a rental van to start a new adventure, far from all my mistakes and bad memories, far from “hell” as I like to call it.  The tears flowed uncontrollably when we passed the state sign from New Mexico into southern Arizona.  I wouldn’t even speak to order breakfast at Denny’s.  By the time we reached Phoenix, my asthma and allergies had started up, too.  My friends say I came home kicking and screaming, but I didn’t. I was silent and somber.  And I know, now, it was a big mistake and there is nothing I can do, but make the best of it.

For the record, some of this story isn’t entirely accurate.  No creep named Snow knocked on my Uncle’s door and rushed me out of a really great party.  Some details have been altered to fit the 500 word limit and make it entertaining.  Also, I am making the best of it.  I am finally graduating from ASU and going on a great adventure in Central Europe.  I am blessed to have added to my family tree through my husband’s family, I’ve made new friends and a new found desire to help others through non-profit work and volunteerism.  I’ve started dancing again and dedicate more time than probably is necessary to my beautiful boys. Sometimes we focus on all the negative and don’t see all the positive possible outcomes of our ordeals.  I’m hell-bent on focusing on the positive.

So what do you think, would I make a good Blog correspondent as a representative for the Gilman Scholarship?  What would you recommend I do better?  I look forward to hearing your feedback.

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