Printer’s broke, Internet down. Does anything ever work in my house? I hopped into my car and headed for Temple. Less than 24 hours before my flight and I have yet to print boarding passes, hotel reservations, official documents, and just about everything else important. And of course, the cash printers are broke in Paley.
The Universe works in obvious ways: if we do our part to acknowledge the signs. Right as I went to print, I ran into my good friend and previous co-worker, Mary. She insisted that I come back later today and stop by the Education Abroad office. I guess it was only right that I pay one last visit to the place where my international story began. (And use their computers to print of course).
A few years ago, studying abroad was just a small idea out of the millions of ideas in my head. After I was accepted into the program, that small idea turned into a “real” dream: something that could be manifested in reality. I was starting to believe that it could actually happen. Weeks later, 3/11 happened and that dream became something shy of impossibility. Listening to the voices of family and friends (there goes those Pressures of Assimilation again) I decided to withdraw my application to study at Temple Japan, and put Tokyo on the list of things I wanted to do post-graduation. It was a difficult process: actively denying what my heart knew I should do. But eventually you get good at ignoring those feelings deep down inside. (Guess it comes with age? Or maybe “maturity”?)
As I said before, the Universe works in obvious ways. And when it becomes aware that you are straying to far from your path, it might just come knocking on your door. Later that year in September, I received a phone call from Tina, a previous TUJ alum and peer advisor. On the voicemail message she inquired about the progress of my application. I totally forgot! I had asked the Education Abroad staff to push my withdrawn application to the next semester. That day my mind was on autopilot. All I could think about was going to Japan. I didn’t even go to work. Rather I went right to the office to talk to Tina and the other staff about the next steps I should take. I was wise and kept my dream guarded from the pressures this time. I didn’t tell many people (even relatives) until a month before I left.
To make a long saga short: Education Abroad has been there every step of the way. From revising scholarship essays, to giving me a platform to share my experiences, to helping me cope with reverse culture shock, to employing my broke behind after I came back from Japan, to writing many job references for me. I learned the importance of not only loving the work you do, but also loving and respecting the people you work with.
So that’s a little bit on how I got here. Of course there’s always more. Like why Japan? Maybe we’ll talk about that next week. In the meantime, hit me up on here/email/Facebook and tell me about an experience you had in which the Universe (or whatever force, fill in the blank) was giving you an obvious sign. What did you do? I look forward to hearing your responses.