Friday, May 29, 2009

A job, A chance, an E-mail, and Why Exchange Messed Up My Life

I almost died the last week of school. Not really. But there were a couple of days there where I wasn't sure that I was going to make it. The stress was absolutely insane! The good news, however is that I made it out alive and mostly intact and brought some interesting memories out with me. Which is all good.

The most exciting news during the last week of the semester was that I finally heard from the people in charge of the Language School. I got the job as a Teaching Assistant! I'm pretty excited about this although I haven't heard anymore details. I do know however that the camp runs from the middle of June to the middle of July. My guess is that I will be hearing all the details of what I'm supposed to be doing, two days before I'm supposed to be back up at SPU. But hey, I'm not complaining. Rather, I am very much forward to beating Russian into those little high schoolers. No, I'm just kidding. I'm not really that mean :P

It's ironic. I was writing a letter to Elena Ivanovna the other day. It's mostly done, just have to finish it up, put a picture with it, stamp and send it. This is ironic because today I checked my e-mail and there was a short note from Nina in it. I had gotten back in touch with her several months ago and she e-mailed me, but I never replied back because (My excuses were) my computer was having issues and then I got really busy at the end of the semester. But really there's no excuse. I'm planning on e-mailing her back within the next few days. It's just so hard sometimes. It's like there's a part of me that doesn't want to be in touch and I don't know why I should even feel that way...

In other news, there is a slight chance that I might be able to get a scholarship to go back to Russia and study in a university there for a year. I don't want to say too much about it at the moment, because I may not even get it, but hopefully there will be more details to follow.

Which brings me to the thing I've been thinking about lately. Namely, How Going on Exchange Has Screwed Up My Life. When I found out about, and got the application for this scholarship, I was pretty excited, but at the same time, I was hesitant. There was a part of me that definitely didn't want to apply for the scholarship (Perhaps that is related to the staying in touch thing?). I was like "yeah, I should apply for this" but it was like something within me said. "but you don't really want to." and I thought about it for a while. Exchange was a fascinating experience. It was filled with some amazing moments and experiences. So why did a part of me not want to take the opportunity to do it again? Then suddenly, it hit me. I realized that I was scared.

Though most of the bad things about exchange have been outweighed by the good, there was a part of me that still remembered it. Remembered how hard it was, how scary, how difficult, how lonely it could be. This part of me was projecting. I didn't want to go back to Russia because I didn't want to have to deal with those things. The Beauraucracy, the visas, breaking down the Russian facade. A part of me was going "NO! NO! NO!" while the sensible part of me was saying "Get back on the horse." And then, God stepped in. I had decided to apply, but wasn't as enthusiastic about it as I could have been. I was going over some paperwork with my mom and we were discussing things when I found something significant on the website for the scholarship. Basically what it sounded like was that the scholarship was going to be discontinued starting this next year. The wave of disappointment that washed over me was undescribable. I e-mailed my contact about the scholarship, asking for clarification and asking whether or not I should go ahead and reply.

I was in a mood the rest of the evening. I didn't even know for sure if I could still apply or not, but already I was really disappointed. Just the thought of not even having the slightest chance of getting to go back was heavy on my chest. I spent the rest of the evening playing all the Russian songs I know on my guitar and feeling rather down.

You may have guessed by now, what my contact's answer to the inquiry was. The next morning, I checked my e-mail the first thing and was overjoyed to see that I could still go ahead and apply. And that set it. I am applying. But I think it was necessary for me to have that moment of doubt. Because in that one moment, I realized that the overwhelming disappointment of not being able to go, completely outweighed the nervousness I felt about going back for a second round.

And this is how exchanged messed me up. I am forever tied to Russia. To the World. There will always be a part of me that takes great interest in what the Motherland is doing, a part of me that still lives there. A part of me that is always longing to go back. I am forever tied to the Global community, forever hungering to see and experience more. But is that necesarily a bad thing? I dreamed in Russian last night, and in the light of day, I cannot remember what the dream was about, but it was full of good feelings.

1 comment:

Maria said...

hey. i'm glad you still blog because i was always too lazy while i was in russia and its comforting to read that someone else is still going through similar feelings. good for you for finding the scholarship with rotary. i was wondering if you were aware that the US government also seems to be offering lots of grants/money for American students to go to Russia. you should look into the Russian Overseas Flagship program (I may apply if they let undergrads) or for something along the lines of critical language scholarships to Russia. i just wanted to let you know since you were feeling worried about Rotary and still toskuesh po rodine. if you want to go back, you most probably WILL find a way. :) We're lucky we picked a language the government needs and that there's $ out there for us!