Monday, July 12, 2004

Back in Dairy Land

I'm back in rural America after spending a wonderful week in DC at the Fulbright Orientation. It hit me about midway through the orientation how big of a deal this award is. Somehow I felt like I had been selected because not too many people applied to Bangladesh, or maybe all the original grantees had turned down the opportunity - but I now feel extremely honored and excited to be in the company of such great people.

I took my mom and my sister along with me. I think my mom is feeling a little better about letting her firstborn travel to the other side of the world. She is certainly feeling proud, that's for sure. She's kindof like that guy on the commercial who lowered his cholesterol - she keeps telling random strangers about her daughter, the Fulbright Fellow. The truth is, it's great to have somebody brag about me...good for the ole ego.

The main point that I took away from listening to the speakers (Fulbright alumni and Dept. of State officials, among others) was that while research is an important aspect of the Fulbright program, it is primarily designed to foster mutual understanding between cultures. I had assumed that we would be briefed on how to promote the greatness of the US of A but instead we were told that we are NOT obligated to paint a rosey picture. In fact, we are encouraged to express our honest opinions of the United States "warts and all".

During a panel session about community involvement, I became so inspired with ideas that I ran out of paper. I absolutely can't wait to get to Bangladesh in order to start becoming involved!! Among other things, I plan to start a play group for 4 year olds, join a local Muslim Women's Association, volunteer at the local clinics and schools, and maybe even set up a discussion group with my fellow Bangladesh Fulbrighters regarding American foreign policy.

This afternoon, I emailed the local newspaper because they had printed a story in last Friday's Free Press about the other two Fulbrighters from MSU. The reporter was very interested in my photovoice project (more info at, and he wrote down every word I said. Now I'm hoping I didn't misspeak!!

To round off my are some pictures for you to enjoy.

Here we are - the three Fulbright Fellows to Bangladesh...
Your's truly on the left, Tanya (who was feeling particularly cool in her Fulbright t-shirt), and Keisuke on the right. We're standing in front of the NPR building (Rock on!).

Here we are in a more whimsical pose...Keisuke's idea - he's so cool! Thanks to the lady in the red car who gave us some technical assitance on our letter formation!

While I was in DC, I visited some great tourist attractions...
The Lincoln Memorial

The National Cathedral (and a scary eagle statue)

Poor the National Cathedral...

At the WWII memorial - my grandpa was in this war, so I took a picture for him.

Speaking of my grandpa - here's a nice picture my grandpa and grandma Metcalf. Isn't my grandpa cute? He was shy to have his picture taken.

After a long day of touring, we were sweaty and gross. OK so my pit is grosser than Page's...

More to come...stay tuned!

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