Thursday, March 12, 2009

Money and Forms, Horse and Carriage

You wouldn't know it from the amount of attention that this blog receives, but I am indeed alive, still in India, and functioning fairly well (according my own standards). As I discussed in a previous newsletter, I've found myself a little burned out on reflecting on my time here. To some degree this bothers me as I want to continue to be critical about what's going on with me, those around me, and God in this place and time. But I also feel it's fairly reasonable at this point for me to be a little tired of my attempts to reflect, chronicle, and distribute my musings. Now that I got that out, we can move on...

Being accepted to seminary was a milestone in my life. It felt kind of like getting a stamp on a form that had been sent through a long bureaucratic process over the last three years. Not because the journey was particularly difficult or stressful, more because there was a lot at stake and I didn't feel "secure" until the final approval was certain. I couldn't imagine myself coming back to the States to do anything other than study theology. And I couldn't imagine myself doing that anywhere other than Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Having that stamp of approval allows me to slump into my chair and let out a deep breath. Or, so I thought...

I had personally felt relatively unaffected by the "financial crisis" (said in a booming, pessimistic voice) until it hit me about seven minutes after getting the news that I was accepted: graduate school is what we would call expensive. It seems I have my own little financial crisis. Indeed, there are plenty of sources other than my own volunteer-stipend-stretched bank account to pull from. So that is what I've spent plenty of time over the last few weeks doing: searching for and filling out scholarship applications and - here's the kicker - attempting to coordinate references, transcripts, and sending my own forms from India.

Third parties have definitely made the process as painless as possible, but I had felt so relieved after dealing with all of this when applying for seminary that it never occurred to me that it was only the preliminary round of printing forms, scanning the same forms updated with my answers, and pelting emails at people. All the while having my mom do plenty of work State-side (thank you!). After this week, when I hope to have them all turned in, it seems that I'll have a bit of a respite from form-hugging until I hear back and get a sense of my financial situation.

And that respite will be nice as I've got quite a bit coming up in the next couple months. Next week (March 17-21) will be spent at Achen and Kochamma's home in Aluva for a retreat and to meet his daughter and her family as they are flying from Bahrain. I will then return to CMS College for what I predict will be a frantic week and a half as I prepare to tie up lose ends before leaving April 1 for a month-long tour North India, which I'm am absolutely ecstatic about. Upon returning we'll have another retreat in Aluva, visit a festival in Thrissur, and then go back to our sites around the end of the first week of May before we hop around doing summer camp style children's programs as a team at each other's sites (April-May is the summer holiday here).

I'm just praying for some stamina!

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