Friday, January 16, 2009

illusion, coma, pimp and circumstance

have you ever gone on vacation and come back and been so wiped out that you don't even want to talk about it? people are like, "ohhhh, how was your trip to the maldives??" and you're all, "oh yeah, it was good." and you can't talk anymore. you're just worn out and the idea of repeating your vacation to half a dozen friends is not appealing. this happens to me a lot. and i kind of feel that way about my fellowship.

i feel very spent just thinking about it, BUT i dont want people to think i left my job to sit on my ass, so i shall explain...

last may when i gave my notice at work, i had the idea that i would apply for a kiva fellowship. my friend, anny, told me about it. basically, kiva fellows go to third world countries and help people get microfinance loans. it sounded like a great opportunity and i was really excited - i want to help others and know a bit about finance. i went to their website, and they were in the process of changing their recruitment process, so the first deadline wasn't until nov 1. in the meantime, i finished at work, spent time with the family, went all over europe, etc. i applied on nov 1 and right before thanksgiving i was accepted for an interview. i had my first interview right after returning from europe. it was partially in french because they need foreign-language speakers. in my 2nd interview, they cut to the chase, "we're interested in sending you to one of four french-speaking, african countries." i originally wanted to go to eastern europe to help women who were victims of genocide. since i don't speak an eastern european language, this was not an option.

this is where things get confusing. actually, the interview process was a bit discombobulated, as well. half the documents they sent me said that the first interview would be in french, then some websites said that if i passed the first interview, the second would be in french. it was hard to prepare, but not a big deal.

anyway, they sent me documents - agreements and forms and confidentiality, etc. due to the condensed time frame, we were speeding up the process. i didn't understand - if i signed the documents, was i a fellow? or did i have to sign the documents before i was allowed to be considered to be a fellow? there was one document where i had to fill in my living preferences based on the 2nd interview. during the 2nd interview, he basically told me he wanted me to go to mali, so i only did research on mali. mali is one of the 10 poorest countries in the world. i wasn't sure if i could cut it, so i specified on my form that i wanted to be in a city and have internet access. i was still confused - was i a fellow? was i not?

i had issues with some of the agreements they sent me - i would clearly be a volunteer and everything was my choice. i understood this, but had questions. they put me in touch with past fellows and other people familiar with the work. the more i heard, the more unsettling everything became. i won't go into the details, but i felt like i would be flying into a situation for which i would not be prepared at all. i sent an email to the head person and never heard back. i asked what would i learn at training, what sort of support was available, was i meant to plan all my travel or were there any directions, etc. i was concerned about living conditions, food, and the heat. but i truly thought that i could overcome all of this, or should at least try (how often have i seen people roll their eyes because i don't eat something or there are too many bugs around? don't think i haven't noticed). after hearing more about the program, organization and experience from other fellows "no support," "sad, disheartening," i realized that this might not be the fellowship for me. i was willing to go out of my comfort zone, but not without any support or training. i tried calling, but never got in touch with them. finally, i sent an email explaining my concerns and saying it probably wasn't the best fit for me. despite sending an email five days earlier asking numerous questions (i spent all week assuming the guy was out of the office and feeling HORRIBLY for not being able to accept the fellowship), i get an email within 2 minutes of mine saying "sorry to hear that" or whatever. after all this hard work, its over. i am no longer going to africa and suddenly have months free that i hadn't planned on.

last week was an emotional roller coaster for me. i had all these plans and then in one instant, with one email, they were gone.

so now i have no real plan. or rather, i have a plan to someday make a plan. since my grandma isn't in the best of health, i'm fine with staying around here to help out - but only for a bit. eventually i will need to get a job, go to grad school, do habitat for humanity, or something. any ideas on what i should do next are greatly welcome...


  1. My "other" consists of a tried and true plan to fame and fortune. Also it relates back to my comment on your talk dirty to me post. Step 1. grow up in standard midwest loving nuclear family, check. Next go to college and get a non-discript office job, check. Step 3 you have to meet a muscian on the internet and more or less blindly move to his city and live with and marry him (don't worry this is likely temporary)-pending. Step 4 on a whim you become a part time stripper, when you determine that you make more money part time you go pro. Step 4.5 you tire of the grind of your current profession and having gotten offers to write based on your blog- note you already have the blog so you are a step a head. Step 5 you write for a midsized alternative newspaper and begin writting a humerous memoir, while also toying with a screen play. Step 6 get published, get movie deal.

    This gets you the job, the travel, and likely you'll get an assistant so you'll more or less be a small bussiness too. Plus from my limited research when executed precisely this plan ends with an Oscar and a production deal with Spielberg nearly 100% of the time.

  2. learn to sew and you can be my apprentice!!

  3. subject: most people probably don't know this song by prince, but it's one of my favorite of all his new stuff. it tells a funny story about a cougar. i can't wait to be one myself. hopefully it's before i have silver hair...