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What Does It Mean to Be Doing Everything You Have Ever Wanted to Do?

June 12, 2011

[lakeside in VA]

I know what it feels like to be doing everything I could have ever wanted because I am living my right now. Not my past mistakes, nor my future wishes, I am living in the present, ever thankful for my life, the many opportunities, and am relishing in the beauty of it all. I have spent time with my family, have relaxed, and have just been free. Today is the first day I have logged into WordPress since my last post, and I cannot believe it has been so long. I had no intention of ceasing blogging, it sort of simply organically happened. In the time I spent away from this blog, I have watched my little sister graduate from High School, attended my Grandfather’s funeral, held many mini reunions with high school and collegiate friends, explored my home city, packed, moved down to Florida, and began my fellowship program. In a short month, I have discovered happiness once again. I am at peace with all that surrounds me, and can only be grateful for all that 2011 has already brought me.

I promised to divulge more into my fellowship program, so here it is: I am participating in an intensive summer language institute. I am still in the states, but am extremely hopeful that this will be a gateway into international development work. The Institute is a consortium of a teachers  from various Universities who teach number of African languages (Igbo, Yoruba, Akan, Somali, Wolof, for example) that are not regularly taught throughout the academic year. The 8 week program is fully funded by the Fed, and as a result there are Federal Language and Area Studies (FLAS) grants available to cover the cost of tuition in addition to providing a small living stipend for the summer. I was fortunate to receive a FLAS grant, making it possible for me to attend the program. I am learning Igbo (my native language), and my professor has to be the kindest, most patient and encouraging professor I have ever had. He is a native Igbo, and PhD doctoral student who teaches Music Theology as a profession. His side passion if you will, is languages and has taught Igbo to heritage learners as well as non-heritage learners for the past 4 years. I am the only student in his class this year, and even still I have learned so much in the one week we have been in session. More than learning grammar and vocabulary, we discuss cultural relevancy of political topics, the state of our country, and by learning my language, I am able to really learn more about the country I have so deep into my heart. I am also surrounded by 71 other students (graduate and undergraduate) who have extensively traveled the continent of Africa, people who have dedicated their academic endeavors into researching, and learning more about Africa. Each conversation I have, I learn more about what it means to walk the streets of Dakar, to sit beach side in Zanzibar, to explore through Accra, or to fetch water in Ibadan. My fellow fellows, have reaffirmed in me the passion that I have for international development work, and it is my goal to utilize this summer Institute and connections that will surely continue to be built to push myself head first into foreign work.

That is what I have been up to in the last few weeks! The transition into Florida weather really did leave me drained. I thought I knew hot in NYC, but central Florida hot is a whole ‘nother ballgame! Temperatures average at 96 degrees each day, and while we have had some scorches in New York, this heat is constant and humid. It just does not budge. When I arrived, the heat left me so drained all I wanted to do after class was sleep under the air conditioner, and I did. Now, I feel more adjusted, and have energy to sustain me throughout the day and evening. I spent very little time in my apartment, and am out mostly in class (did I mention I have class 4 hours a day!), and enjoying this town.

I will leave you with a few pictures of my last few weeks:

+feature picture at beginning of post, and picture 1 + 2: my little sister’s graduation ceremony
+picture 3: typical summer outfit. i live in shorts and adore my leopard print tube top
+picture 4: skin-ups! a new york delicacy if you will. these fruits(?) are sweet yet slightly tart. summer time perfection.
+picture 5: captured a typical day in the city. people, sun, and surroundings. my kind of town.
+picture 6: tearing up the dance floor. and i do snap while dancing, it is just a habit.
+picture 7: rolling hills and the sunset while driving down the east coast. reason 6546272 why i love it
 

But do tell me, what have you been up to? How are your summer’s going? Relaxation, stress, serenity??

♥ Chinye

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mabel permalink
    June 29, 2011 7:41 am

    So happy you enjoyed your hiatus, I know NY heat is something else:(
    I’ve heard of the program you’re doing! I wanted to do it but didn’t know how to get it around my school schedule b/c I teach. I may just do it when I get back from Ghana. I am sooooo proud of you; I totally know how it feels to want to be able to master your mother tongue. Now you’ve taken your chance and so have I!
    I leave late September, I plan to finish 4 books, spend as much time with friends as possible, enjoy my family every single moment, and just sit silently and take everything in.

    Glad to have you back posting!

    • June 29, 2011 9:10 pm

      Even though my break was needed, I’m happy to be back posting! I am actually planning on doing the program again next summer, providing I am able receive a another fellowship. You’re plan for the summer sounds amazing. Books, family, friends…what could be better?

  2. July 6, 2011 6:36 pm

    your summer sounds wonderful so far! Are you in Florida indefinitely? I’m heading back down this week & am slightly terrified of the intense heat, lol. Will try my best to visit a beach though….& read!! such a luxury during this time of year, really ready to soak it all in.
    Good luck on your Fellowship, such an exciting time for you;))!

    • July 6, 2011 7:56 pm

      I’m in Florida for the next two months, but will have to make it a point to come down and visit once I’m gone. I’m not gonna lie to you, this heat is HOT, but welcoming. Definitely try to make it to a beach, life is better when you’re by the ocean. Add a book to the mix, and you’ll have a perfect summer day 🙂

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