I want to begin this post by thanking every one of the 48 people who donated, in total, $2,100 in just one month to my Adventures in Books initiative! I was – am still – blown away by that number and by all the people who so generously supported this project. (My goal was $1,500!) I haven’t been able to buy and ship books fast enough! A large shipment of novels is on its way to Sri Lanka as I type this, and I will hopefully receive it within my first month there. I can’t wait to teach these novels and to give copies to my soon-to-be university students. And although I won’t begin teaching until probably November, I will certainly keep all of you updated with the delivery of these novels and my plans to buy more in the near future.
As promised, I want to give a special shout-out to those super generous, book-loving souls who donated $100 or more to this initiative:
Caleb Beyer, friend from Elon (& my first donation!)
Meredith Feldmann, friend from Stuttgart
Mom & Dad, givers of life to me and supporters of all my dreams!
Jennifer Knight, family friend from northern Virginia & Stuttgart
Little River Yoga, the best yoga studio to ever exist
Tracy & Adam, my aunt and uncle
Steve Pahos, father of one of my best friends Maggie
Chet & Mary Denlinger, friends from Elon & one of the best couples I know
I am so grateful to everyone who donated. Thank you so much again for supporting reading, teaching, and books in general!
A little more about the Fulbright Program
I didn’t know too much about the Fulbright program when I first applied, but I knew it was good things. I knew it was a program that instilled value and that celebrated different cultures and people. I’ve learned a lot more over the past year since I began my application, but I was most inspired when I watched a recent video address given by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to all of us 2012-2013 Fulbrighters. (The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.) She used just the kind of flowery and inspirational language I not-so-secretly love – my favorite was when she spoke about the Fulbright Program encapsulating “the common bonds that unite all of humanity.” A little vague but so good, right? Who writes her speeches and how can I meet them?
Secretary Clinton’s words – and these past few weeks leading up to my departure – have really got me contemplating what it is I’m about to spend a year doing. And I’ve realized that this adventure is about so many things, and that my role in Sri Lanka will be multi-faceted in ways I don’t even know yet. This adventure is about international educational exchange. It’s about the challenge that is teaching, especially teaching within an educational system different from the one I’m used to. It’s about travel, the kind of travel that’s all about the never-ending series of little choices that transform our experience. It’s about professional and personal connections. It’s about living in a foreign country – on my own this time – and grappling with a landlord, copious amounts of rice and tea on a daily basis, and the inability to use a washer or dryer for a year. Mostly, though, it’s about being a “cultural ambassador for the United States” and drawing on all my past travel experiences to help show me how to fulfill that role while in Sri Lanka.
I’ll end with a link to a short but really fun Fulbright video that I think does a great job of explaining what this program is all about: http://vimeo.com/45658850. Enjoy! (T-minus 4 days!!)