Thursday, June 5, 2008

In The Beginning...

Confucius said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."  

How utterly, completely true.  Today I'm sitting in DC.  It's 4am, and the anticipation of leaving America is stirring up me up like a rabid, starving ape chained to a plank with a pair of ripe bananas dangling before its face but just out of reach.  In other words, I can't wait to go!

Yesterday was the first official day of our fellowship called "Humanity in Action".  Thanks to a friend from college two classes ahead of me named Robbie Whelan who happened to swing by our house one day in the late fall, I learned about this program three days before its application deadline.  I had recently been rejected by the Fulbright scholarship (I proposed researching the relationship between academic achievement and physical school quality in Armenia's villages of Ptghni and Aramoos), and another grant through our university called the Walsh (where I had proposed to compile an all purpose hiker's guidebook to Nagorno-Karabagh's rapidly improving network of hiking trails dubbed "Janapar"), so at that time I had been feeling pretty dejected and growing more and more desperate to figure out how my time after college would unfold.  

Finishing the application was not nearly as hard as mustering the gusto to blindisde two very awesome and kind professors, Robert Freedman and Melanie Shell-Weiss, for a recommendation within three days.  They were both so generous and willing, and without their help, I would have never been sitting here on the verge of boarding a plane for Europe with everything paid for by this great organization!

Yesterday was our first day.  I had the chance to meet the other 40 or so fellows in our group.  One thing about these individuals - they are ALL ridiculously brilliant, articulate, insightful, and very accomplished, often making me feel small.  It's not everyday I sit down to dinner next to the son of America's ambassador to China who studies Art History at Yale, and another girl about to enter Harvard for a PhD in history.  And their vocabularies!  I keep a small green notebook in my pocket to jot down the crazy words that fly around as if it weren't a big deal - The lofty and brazen alacrity of their candor left me taciturn...or something like that!

Anyways, I'm going to keep this entry short because I've got a lot of things to do before bedtime - more to come.  

1 comment:

tsahakian said...

Raffi,

Thanks for adding me to your list! Can't wait to hear about all your adventures! Pari janapar, akhperes! Enjoy everything that the world has to offer! If you ever pass through London, you have a home there. Take care of yourself, and as they say in Hayastan "Gananch janapar!"

Tania