It All Comes Down to an Email

Email is a funny thing. Every message, no matter the degree of importance it holds, appears the same in the inbox. A sender and a subject, and maybe, every once in awhile, a colored exclamation point. Remember when we used to get letters in the mail? Envelopes used to tell a story of their own, before you even broke the seal. The number of stamps, the date of the postmark, the way your address was hand written or typed. An envelope could be stuffed full of information to dig through and digest, or it could contain one single sheet of paper with a simple message. I used to love receiving letters from overseas (beginning in 7th grade, when I had tons of pen pals). International mail used to have a special charm, with unique stamps and faraway return addresses. They were far more distressed than the letters that only had to travel short distances to arrive in my mailbox. And my favorites were the letters that arrived in those special red and blue- striped airmail envelopes. They were always a special treat, poking out from a pile of the more typical (but no less intriguing) letters arriving in plain white envelopes. Sometimes I would swear I could even smell the scent of the sender, it having traveled with the intent of expressing far more than the words on the page.

But now email, as much as I love it, takes away all of that charm. Good news, bad news, and no news. It all looks and smells the same.

This morning: I press snooze on my phone alarm for a third time, as the blackberry gives off a little tiny buzz to indicate a new email has arrived. With only one eye open, I click on the email window to find an unassuming, benign looking email from the Graduate School of Social Sciences (abbreviated as apply- gsss) – no capital letters and no exclamation points. Before I open it, all I see of the subject is “Application for Migration and Ethnic St” – this must be it. No big or little envelope, no fancy airmail stripes. Just a quiet little buzz to wake me from a desperate Monday morning sleep. Click to open…

Amsterdam, April 26, 2010

…followed by tons of white space requiring a scroll…

Dear … get to the point!

…more white space requiring more scrolling…

On behalf of the admissions committee we are pleased to inform you…


So here’s the gist. I was accepted to the University of Amsterdam. They do, however, want me to complete a year of preparatory course work because my academic background is a bit different from their Master’s program. Shall we call it my remedial classes?  That prep program will not begin until February 2011. Then I’ll begin the one-year Master’s program in August 2011. In June 2012, I will finish with a Master of Science in Sociology, and hopefully a thesis that can be turned into a business plan and seed funding proposals for the nonprofit organization that’s waiting to be founded.  The first chip has fallen into place.

Although February is about 5 or 6 months after I originally hoped to hop a plane out of this place, it’s actually a much more sensible timeline. I will have time to make an easy transition out of my job, take my time preparing to move, and find and save some money to support myself while I’m there. Plus, I’ll be there for at least a year and a half. Bonus time for those who are planning to visit (please visit)!

Sometimes you don’t get what you asked for because what you asked for wasn’t what you needed. Fortunately, I have some folks looking out for me who usually know best. So now the place and the timing will be right.

Looks like I’m heading to Amsterdam after all…


3 thoughts on “It All Comes Down to an Email

  1. Game on is right! I’m incredibly proud of you, Dana. And have I mentioned ECSTATIC for you to embark on this next chapter of your life. I couldn’t be happier for you.


  2. You know as soon as I read this post I checked to see the status of my Delta/Northwest/KLM frequent flier miles cuz if I’m getting to Zdam, I might as well see if I can cop business class! I CANT WAIT!!!!!!!


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