I scrambled around trying to make things happen before I left to my university for the graduate program. Resignation given for end of June- clearances done, so my end of service could be processed, goodbyes said- arranging a cook during my absence from home, health insurance details completed. What I could not commit on or do much about was the payment of the summer term fee. It was a huge amount and until I was sure I was going, I didn’t want to be paying.
Came June 30, I was still scrambling. June 30 this year was a Sunday. Did an office run to hand over some additional papers and said a final goodbye to Cyn- my friend and supervisor for five years. Thank you, Cyn!!
When you have been married for as long as I have ( 27 years come September), it becomes difficult to part from your partner for even a day. The same happened with me. As the time for parting came near, my husband and I could not bear to thing of our time apart. Till that time, we had been thinking and managing things objectively; all of a sudden an emotional component cropped up. How would we say goodbye to one another ?
For me it was a shift to another country- a country across at least two oceans and far away from kith and kin.
All things taken into account, I decided to not go – and let the university know I wasn’t coming.
In a strange set of coincidences, my email to the university went on June 27, which was a Thursday. The director of the program and the director of Finances, both of whom I had let know of my decision were both on leave until after the 4th of July weekend. I got their “out of office” responses. In my mind, I was breaking within and wondering why it happened to me again and again- this was the third time I had been disappointed. In 2012 it was an admission to the same graduate degree program in Johns Hopkins University which I had to give up. In 2018, a visa issue kept me from going.
And now in 2019, history was all set to repeat itself. I realised as people have before me , that life is not so simple especially when one has a family to consider- sometimes our decisions cannot add up like two and two make four- sometimes two and two add up to five or six.
Flight tickets booked two months in advance for June 28 were cancelled.
Came June 30 and I was reconciled to having no job and no college- a life of retirement. Ironic that just 10 days back I had turned 50 and to retire at 50 did not feel all that good. There did not seem any direction my life was going.
July 1 was a monday- my batch mates would all be attending orientation today. I was not there. Perhaps God willed it otherwise. I was repeatedly led to the chapters in Genesis and in Job about stalwarts, heroes – having given up their most precious possessions because of demands from the God they worshipped. When I was upset, I read those chapters again and again and I told God- you gave it to me Lord and you are asking it of me- I give my admission to you. I will not direct your decisions anymore- I will listen to your will for me”. This prayer gave me immense peace and kept my sanity those days.
On July 1, ET in the US and evening in my part of the world, my husband and I were discussing events. My husband asked me to apply once more to the same graduate degree program this time to an online format so it would be more doable.
I started applying to various universities. By a strange set of coincidences, all of the colleges had a deadline for July 1 – I had to scramble again. I applied to Johns Hopkins University again and even managed to submit. Each time I applied to a US university I needed to get my documents credentialed. Credentialing does not come cheap. I paid again to get credentialed. I needed all my old universities to send my documents to the credentialing agency-where I come from this is not easy. That was done too. There were talks of war and of unease in our world too. All together our lives seemed to be in a state of confusion- what was the right thing to do?
My husband had taken leave for that week- to come with me to the US as per our original plan and he did not cancel his leave- we decided to enjoy a vacation- at home.
On July 2, my husband told me, to write to my university and ask them if I could join late- after the 4th of July weekend. I was taken aback- I didn’t expect him to say this. I wrote to the director of admissions and the finance director – again and asked them if I could be allowed to join late.
The director of admissions was still on leave( you might remember that last year when my visa was rejected and I had asked for extra time to sort my visa issues and join late, the director of admissions was not willing to give me more than a day to sort my visa issues- that was not going to happen and so my course had been deferred to this year.
But the Director of Finance was back in office!! And she said yes!
She said, let me check with the International students office and see if they have not cancelled your visa. And they hadn’t -yet. Wow!!
And she said, come and see me on July 5 ( Friday).
( Part 2 to follow)