Well, I've already told enough people (who read this) that there's no reason to beat around the bush (that's an odd expression..) --


This is GREAT news for many reasons:
1) I had no backup plans
2) It's a paid trip to Russia for a year
3) I can officially put off applying/thinking about grad school for another year
4) I have an answer for when people ask "What are you going to do after graduation?"

In typical Fulbright fashion I've only found out the bare essentials so far. I don't know which city I'll be going to or when exactly I'm leaving, but I do know that I must: complete college, get a very in-depth physical done, and attend orientation in July.

For those who don't know, what I received was the Fulbright ETA (English Teaching Assistantship), which is a highly competitive government-sponsored program that will send me to Russia for 10 months to be a resident English speaker. Basically I help an English teacher by giving presentations on various aspects of American life and by conversing with students...however, from what I've heard from others who have received this, I think I'll be doing a good deal of actual teaching too. In my spare time I'm supposed to get involved in the community, have a personal project, and essentially be awesome and make people love America. I think I can handle that.

Yesterday started out rather, for lack of a better word, "blah". I woke up at 5:45 am to drive Kendra to Nashville for an interview because I'm an amazing roommate. When we left it was dark and so foggy that I could barely see 20 feet in front of me (typical Sewanee weather). To fortify our bodies for the long day ahead, we made a quick stop by the Waffle House. They overcharged me for my eggs and toast, but I let it go since the waitress was new and we were in a hurry. The first hour of the trip was pretty uneventful. Kendra and I listened to bad pop music and focused on staying awake......which was made pretty easy by the next event. I'm always wary of semi-trucks and pieces of big machinery, so I was cautiously (yet hurriedly) passing an oversized construction vehicle (whose purpose I can't even guess at) when all of a sudden I heard "BLAM!!!" and a puff of smoke enveloped the right side of my car. I swerved instinctively to the left (but not too dramatically) and hit the gas. My first muddled assessment of the event was that someone had simultaneously shot a rifle and thrown a brick at my car. In actuality, I had had the dubious luck of passing the vehicle right as one of its 12-18 tires blew out. Luckily the only damage to my car was a tiny chip in my windshield.

Then, in Nashville we discovered that mapquest's directions were completely wrong. Just so you know, exit 46B doesn't even exist. We eventually corrected the first step, only to find that the second step was also wrong (should have taken a left instead of a right). To confuse matters even more, in the center of Nashville there are two roads: Rosa Parks Blvd and Rosa Parks Ave. As far as I can tell, they intertwine at random. At one point the road literally looked like this: --\__ (with a stoplight in-between). In keeping with our usual luck, the only person that we found to ask directions from was from out of town. However, he did give us a cute, but completely useless, map of downtown Nashville. We should have arrived 15-20 minutes early, but instead Kendra finally made it to her interview 2 minutes late.

On the way back I decided to be productive and get my oil changed. I stopped by Wal-mart figuring that I could get lunch and do a little shopping while I waited. Wrong. Apparently I chose oil change rush-hour and the current wait was 2 hours. That was definitely more time than I could handle loitering in an unfamiliar Wal-mart on 3.5 hours of sleep, so I skipped the oil and shopped instead. There was a small glimmer of good fortune when, as I was holding the first aloe-containing lotion that I found (to treat my sunburns from my last regatta), and elderly lady gave me a coupon that she had for it, since she didn't plan to buy it. Saved me 55 cents.

In Monteagle I decided to see if the automotive place changed oil. It turns out that they do, but Tuesdays they have sales on oil changes, so I was advised to come back the next day (today). Dejected by my lack of productivity and my waning energy levels, I halfheartedly decided to check my mail. I knew that it was a bad habit to check my mail every day in expectation of receiving word about the Fulbright, since I was sure that I wouldn't find out anything for another couple of weeks. Even worse, I'd done some online stalking and found out that acceptance and alternate letters came in a big manila envelope, and denials come in small envelopes (You should never know this ahead of time! It would just make you instantly depressed if you got a small envelope). However, I automatically drove to the post office. Low and behold, stuffed into my mailbox was a large manila envelope! I made myself wait until I got back to my dorm to open it (I needed to compose myself in case I was just an alternate). After I hesitantly opened it, I quickly scanned the first couple of words and found "congratulations" and "accepted". Phew.

Out of habit I checked my mail again today, and now I have a mystery package. I'm a little skeptical though, last week I had a mystery package too, but it turned out that it was for Adams Conrad and not for me. Seriously, how does a 2000-something school have another person whose name is so close to mine?

Comps (comprehensive exams to graduate) are in a couple of weeks, I need to write my honor's thesis, write some other papers, and do a whole lot of paperwork and studying.....................but instead I'm blogging. At least I did laundry tonight.

Forecast for spring break:

Speaking of.....did you know that spring break starts tomorrow? Yeah, I can't really believe it either. I've known that it was so soon, but it seems that I've mostly just ignored that knowledge since I'm not prepared at all. I need to do laundry, and pack....and study for my last midterm and eat dinner and go to orchestra. Sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day. Good thing I have a washing machine at home!

I reluctantly took my Art of Diplomacy midterm today. I apparently ignored the fact that midterms are upon me as well, since I only allowed myself an hour to study (even though I'd had all of last night and all day today). I think I did alright. Not spectacular, but hey, who cares? IT'S PASS/FAIL!

I'm still debating on if I want to take my french horn home or not. As far as practicing goes, I need to, but as far as traveling goes, I have no desire to deal with the hassle. I also don't think it would be monetarily worth it -- the size is just unusual enough that it wouldn't fit in an overhead bin, so I would have to check it, pay another of those ridiculous fees, and risk damaging my instrument. My french horn isn't the grandest model ever, but it's still a good $800. Am I just trying to find another excuse not to practice? Probably. I guess I'll just go to orchestra tonight and see how it goes. Maybe someday if I ever get rich and I still play the french horn then I'll get one of the fancy ones with the bells that screw off (meaning that the case is square-ish).

I wish that the year would just chill out a little. I'll be glad to graduate, but I'm not ready to do all the work that's waiting for me between now and then. We are now beginning the perilous slide into the end of the year: finals, comps, and papers -- OH MY!

I'm still waiting to find out any news about the Fulbright. I've heard from various sources that most people either find out in March or April, so we'll see.

I thought about this thing called "5 second movies" today....
Here are some good ones: Titanic, Rocky I-V, Star Wars II

This is just a very brief blurb since I absolutely must leave in 15 minutes, and there's no way that I can speed blog anything meaningful.

I just tried an experiment: Can one practice the french horn in one's dorm room without feeling self-conscious.

Necessary materials:
1 french horn
1 mute
1 down winter coat
1 mid-weight cotton coat
1 set of music
1 laptop

Place mute inside french horn. Wrap bell in (down) winter coat. Repeat with mid-weight coat. Use laptop as a music stand.

Blow air into the french horn at 1/3 pressure. Play tentatively. Question whether the sound is piercing all surrounding walls. Question whether french horn playing is louder than a hypothetical itunes selection. Play Russian music on itunes slightly louder than usual while simultaneously practicing Yoda's Theme song. Mentally compare. Feel uncomfortable. Put french horn away and write a blog (quietly) instead.

Answer: It is impossible to play the french horn in a dorm room without feeling self-conscious....unless one suffers from a general lack of embarrassment.

It also doesn't help that I absolutely HATE when people listen to me practicing. Practicing is for myself, concerts are for other people.

So anyway, we're playing music from Star Wars in our next concert, which turns out to actually be challenging. I think I may just have to take my french horn home for spring break. Great.

About this blog

Good news: no more required disclaimer!
Bad news: I'm really lazy about posting when I'm not in Russia