28 May, 2011

And arriving from way out in left field...

Mind blown from: Doctor Who, "The Almost People" (Thank you, Interwebs!)
Working on: Final touches of my final draft of my project report for UNHCR
Worried about: When everybody else at HQ gets to make changes to said report
Listening to: Gil Scott Heron (R.I.P.)

Huh. So. Uuuummm....
This showed up in my inbox late yesterday:

"Several weeks ago, you should have received a hard copy letter from my office indicating that you were named an alternate for an award to Jordan. While your alternate status for that country has not changed, I got word from my colleagues at the U.S. Department of State about a grant opportunity in Tunisia that’s recently opened.  In looking through the applications of the remaining alternate candidates for the Near East/North Africa region, they felt that your project might be one that could be workable/transferable to this new location. While the Fulbright program is not able to actually offer you a grant at this time, I wanted to ask whether you’d at least be amenable to having your application considered for Tunisia?"

I of course told them to chuck my chapeau right into that Tunisian ring.Vive le chaos!
Speaking with Fulbright folks after the holiday weekend to try to figure out what's what with all this. More news to follow soon.

25 May, 2011

The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful

*Title of post borrowed from a good ol' Buffett song*
Reading: Celebration by Harry Crews
Listening to: My ocean & the wind in the palms

Things are ending and hopefully some beginnings are around the corner.

I've been home in Florida for about three weeks now. The first week or so was spent trying to putting together a full draft of the report on my UNHCR project. Now I'm waiting to get that back from the colleagues in the Staff Welfare Section so we can get the final draft put to bed next week. I'm still following up with participants, staff members and families, to thank them for their time and input. Given organizational culture and that no one from the organization has ever reached out to families in a coordinated way, I'm truly thankful at the overwhelming candor and willingness to believe in the possibility of positive change.

I'm officially a graduate of graduate school, a master of social work. And when you finish something, anything, everyone's immediate question is, "What's next?" Oh, it's like being 18 all over again. What am I going to do with the rest of my life? *groan*

First task: getting sorted with regards to my loans. I was lucky enough to avoid loan debt as an undergrad and I now understand how that debt must be a massive determinant for young people finishing their bachelor's degree. It's certainly weighing on my mind as I start looking for a job. Granted my total debt is about as much as a year's tuition at some private universities, but it's still significant and carrying any debt makes for an uncomfortable situation.

Second task: Finding employment. Despite the feelings of panic that rear up now and then, stopping me cold, I am trying to think tactically about my next moves. I'm starting locally and working out. The trick is, I don't fit well into people's boxes or ideas about careers paths and job descriptions. I would like to recommit to my home state, stick around to lend my skills & energy to try to turn the place around (at least a bit), but that depends on finding the right job with the right folks and may just come down to finding a job period. In addition to applying for jobs, I'm starting to reach out to people who are involved in interesting, dynamic things to try to engage them in conversation.

In between all that, I'm taking time to soak in my ocean, spend time with friends and family, and get back into a real practice of writing and photographing.
So, again, bear with me.
Everything's still in flux, though I'm not sure things ever really settle down.