As you know, I went to Senegal & The Gambia this past summer with my former prof/mentor/advisor Emil Nagengast and some crazy kids from Juniata College. I had a blast and think that Emil & I worked well together as a team. It was lightly alluded to that I may be asked to act as a team leader/faculty sponsor for the trip again. I mentioned it to Ange who pretty much said "YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME AGAIN SO SOON!" In addition, I will be doing my dissertation research in Nigeria next year which will mean I will be living in Nigeria for about 6 months. We flirted with the possibility of her coming with me on the Sene-Gambia trip if asked, but since no concrete offers had been made, we didn't delve too much into the topic.
So about a month or so ago, Emil sent me an email to see if I would be interested. There were some logistics to work out so it wasn't 100%, but he wanted to see if I was on board should everything work out. I said I was, but that Ange wasn't going to let me go without her and would it be possible for her to tag along? He said he didn't think it would be a problem, again, we could work out the details regarding additional cost, etc. but that basically if I was a go, she was a go. We were both brimming with anticipation, but trying to not get too excited just in case it didn't happen.
Well we finally got a hard confirmation that everything is a go! And now we're dying with excitement! I won't say who, but someone who may be a Sally Sensitive did get a little teary eyed over the news!
So we will be off to Senegal & The Gambia on December 30th and will return on January 14th. It's in the winter and slightly shorter due to Emil being on sabbatical in The Gambia for the spring semester. We'll all go together, and then I'll bring them back while he stays and waits for his family and the spring semester students to join him.
Also, did I mention we are flying through Madrid and that we have like a 10 hour layover? Which means we get to explore Madrid for a few hours between flights! How awesome is that??? We are just over the moon about this whole trip! Not only do I get to go back to Africa this year, but Ange gets to have her first international experience with me by her side! Awesome!
And I always feel like adding...this is why I've been working my butt off for so many years. Sometimes people say "Ooooh! You're so lucky!" and while I do admit that I *feel* lucky, it has taken a lot more than luck to get where I am. I busted my butt through school my whole life, went after opportunities like a crazy person, and volunteered and networked and did all that I could to get myself into the position I am now. So morale of the story to anyone out there who still has life in them...it's not too late! You can still work hard and achieve awesome, fun, cool things! Whether you are in college or much later, you can still work hard to improve your life circumstances so that you can do cool things too. You just need to be determined and work really hard. Just another Life Lesson brought to you by Lindsay. Enjoy!