Madrid: Captured in 2011 during my adventure in Spain

“All in God’s Mind, All in God’s Time”

I take this title from the President of Mercy Academy, the high school I attended and, now, where I work. I recently finished our biannual magazine, for which he always writes the introductory letter. This year, he titled it “All in God’s Mind, All in God’s Time.” I don’t think I fully grasped the concept of what he meant until this evening.

Tonight, I received the news that I wanted to receive about six to seven months ago. And now that I received it, it is too late.

About a year and a half ago, I was sitting in my room at my host family’s home in Santiago, Chile. I received an email from a teacher at Wittenberg University, informing me that I had been recommended by one of my teachers to apply for the Fulbright Program. I had heard of it before, and was immediately interested.

Not soon after receiving this email, I decided I was going to apply to the ETA (English Teaching Assistant) Program in Madrid, Spain. This was a place I had visited once before, and I knew it was the place where I wanted to return and begin a new adventure. The program would have lasted 10 months, and if I received the position, my mom and I were going to walk El Camino from France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this pilgrimage, look it up.

After about five months of intense work on my application, numerous meetings with my advisor, an interview with many faculty members and many nights of anxiety, I had finished and submitted my application. The timeline with Fulbright is intense, and I knew it would be a waiting game. I turned in the application in October and wouldn’t hear from them again until January.

In January, I heard I was a semi-finalist. This was great news! I had made it past a large number of cuts. At this point the remaining applicants usually have a 1/3 opportunity of receiving a position. But, I once again needed to wait.

At this point, your next message could contain one of three notices: that you were a non-select, that you were a primary candidate and offered the position or that you were an alternate, and would potentially receive an offer if a principal candidate for any reason could not fulfill their offer.

I was named in alternate in March.

What did this mean? More waiting. Though, I did know that within a month I should know ish whether I would receive a position or not, based on the general timeline Fulbright can provide. However, you are always on call with Fulbright. If at any time a principal candidate steps down, they may reach out to you and extend you an offer.

In April, I decided it was time to move on from this dream. I had to close the door on this chapter of my life and move forward, even though I didn’t want to. Many job applications came and went, and with some luck and a lot of hard work, I somehow landed the perfect job.

I work at my high school with some of the best people I know. I get to use my major and really help the school in so many ways. I go to work happy, and leave with a smile. It’s not just a 9–5 job that pays the bills, it’s something I love.

In the midst of my new life, new job, new home and new adjustments, I received an email I never anticipated.

It is now the middle of October, and this is the message I received:

Dear Andrea,
I am emailing about a new available space in the Fulbright ETA Program in Spain and would like to know if you are interested and available. Since the academic year has already begun, I would like to know as soon as possible if you would accept this offer. Please email me by the end of the day tomorrow to let me know of your interest in accepting the award. If you have any questions that you would like to discuss over the phone, I am available to speak with youtomorrow.
The start date for this ETA position is flexible, but the Fulbright Commission in Spain would like for the new ETA to start as soon as that person is able to obtain a visa. The visa process can take two months, so they are expecting a December or January start. This placement will be in the Comunidad de Madrid ETA program.

Needless to say, it’s too late and I had to turn down this offer. But I cannot help but try to understand what all this can possibly mean. This was my dream that I held for so long, but after letting that dream go, I began to live my new dream.

I keep thinking back to that letter our President wrote. “All in God’s Mind, All in God’s Time.” I feel that I must trust that where I am today is where I am meant to be. He must have a plan, and while I may not understand it now, He knows I will later understand it.

I am beyond grateful to know that I would have been considered a good candidate for the job with Fulbright, after all. But, I’m also over the moon happy to be where I am right today. I always thought Spain was the only place I’d want to be. But I am content back in my hometown, living out a new adventure every day.

Perhaps Fulbright is part of God’s future plan for me. It’s in His mind, and in His time that more will be revealed to me. For now, I’ll be grateful to be living out his current plan for me.

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