'Prepare to be immersed in the heat and vibrancy of Florida's natural world, full of such sensual detail that to read it is to breathe it in.' -Jo Shapcott [review of Greyhound Night Service]

Toward a PhD

(look at my carrots sprouting!)

I've been in shock for the past week but I'm now coming round enough to blog. This has been the most extraordinary week. I have had the luck to be part of so many wonderful happenings to my friends and family over the years--weddings, life transitions, happy moments of all sorts, but I actually feel that this past week has been my happiest so far. My individual best moment. And just when I thought it couldn't get any better...it did.

For the past year now I've been investigating the option of going back to school. It's something I've really wanted to do for a long time but it has never seemed the right moment. April 2009 I woke up one morning with a certainty that this was now the time to start pursuing my goal of studying for a doctorate.

So then all the practical stuff happened--shortlisting universities, making contact with potential teachers, writing a proposal for my research project, applying for a place, applying for funding. And in February I heard I'd been accepted to my top two schools. But two months later, I heard that neither school had any funding to give me. That wasn't surprising and yet I'd found all my hopes had been pinned on this. How would I afford to go back to school without any funding at all? After a couple of weeks of musing about this, I decided I would still go back to school and just do it part time and work as many hours as I could and somehow, somehow afford it, even if it meant taking on huge loans.

So for the past month I've been racking my brains majorly over which school to choose. Both are great options. Both had elements that felt right in some way. Then I took a plunge to try and add some more pieces to the puzzle and made an appointment to meet with the main professor I would be working with at one of the universities. That meeting was Monday, or as I now like to think of it, the day my head started to get very clear.

My Monday meeting was amazing! This professor and I made a great connection, one that made me feel certain about choosing this university. So I sat with my reactions and thoughts post-meeting, for the next few days. I talked to friends and colleagues about this and most of all I just sat with myself and listened. My head, my heart, my gut--all three were saying DEFINITELY. GO FOR IT. So I did. I contacted the professor and told her I wanted to study with her university. That was Thursday.

Since Thursday, there's been a jumble of excitement, a flurry of oh-my-god moments. Her reply to my YES doubly confirmed I'd made the right choice. And then Friday I spent the entire day in euphoria. I danced around my house like a lunatic, I laughed out loud for no reason (repeatedly) I ran in and out of the garden in the sun, I ate nice things, I sat in awe. And then when I was nearly exhausted from joy I planted 6 more pots of vegetable seeds (cause, you know, what better way to celebrate than to start growing some food!).

When I came in from the garden, covered in mud and still with a goofy smile on my face and a feeling of ecstasy in my entire body over the excitement of my dream finally starting to come true, I turned on my computer and lo and behold I had new email. Click.

Oh! An email from the head of the department at my now-chosen university. Hmmm. Click.
And then it all began to fizz and spin--the room, my brain, life as I know it--the university, my new university, was offering to pay my tuition fees for the duration of my studies!

Contrary to all rational explanations, and to the We're-Very-Sorry-To-Inform-You letter I had back in the spring regarding NO FUNDING, here I was staring at an offer of tuition paid. I can tell you, I've never been so close to passing out on the floor as in that moment. Even now as I write this I feel a bit faint with excitement and wonder and keep asking myself--how, how has this happened?

And I know one thing now for triple-certain, I've made a great choice. I made my choice. I've chosen what I've dreamed of doing and I'm going for it...