Howdy, reader! I’m Vy– a typical Vietnamese-American high school suburbanite living in a temperate part of the United States. As part of the language requirement in my school district I studied Spanish in middle school for two years and then Japanese for three more, something that coincided perfectly with my unwavering obsession with comics. (I can prove this with my other blog about comics, maniacallycomical.)
As my dream has always been to go to Japan, I applied for a scholarship to travel abroad this summer through Youth For Understanding, an organization that arranges high school exchanges worldwide. I applied in December and waited for what seemed like an eternal 5 months.
Except for anyone who knows anything about the news knows that Japan had a massive earthquake. And a tsunami. Oh yeah, and the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear reactor had a partial meltdown, spewing radiation everywhere. Which resulted in me getting this call two weeks ago:
…and then, of course, they hung up, which looked a little like this:
So I changed my top-choice scholarship from Japan to Germany, not knowing whether or not I was actually getting a scholarship. YFU, for some reason, insists on notifying its applicants by mail instead of by phone, e-mail, or a secure account on their site, unlike every other application office anywhere else. So the wait continued.
But just yesterday, I saw a package in the mail. From YFU. And I opened it. And inside was…
THE YFU T-SHIRT! And a letter stating that I had received the Mazda/Nationwide Community Scholarship that gave me a full ride 6-week stay in Germany. NO WAY! THIS CAN’T POSSIBLY BE TRUE.
After tearing around the house for a good hour, reality (as crazy as it is) began to sink in. Reality meaning–
So if I ever had to say to a stranger, “Help, I’m sick, where is a hospital around here?” I could do it in English, I could do it in Japanese, I might even be able in Vietnamese, but German? Nope. Hopefully I can pick up the basics in the next month I have before departure.
But I’m incredibly, incredibly excited, and still in slight shock. This is the last thing I imagined myself doing this summer. But hey, I can’t say no to such an amazing, awesome, crazy (and other mind-blowing adjectives) opportunity, right? I am so, so lucky to get this chance, and I hope the other YFU applicants get to travel abroad as well!
For now– I gotta get ready. And learn some German.