Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Change for the Better

It's that time of year when not only is the library rather full (yesterday, not long after I got there, they put up the dreaded sign that the reading room was full), but people contact me about their travel plans.
I am pleased to report that Dawn probably has a job (not firm last we spoke, but she did have an offer)--in the midwestern US.
Very excitingly, Alice, who first told me about Fulbright-Hays and encouraged me to apply, has received Fulbright-Hays herself for next year and will be in Prague researching film.
Deborah, who was here on Fulbright in Fall 2005, arrives today to do some sort of training in Boskovice. She is hoping I'll help translate her words of wisdom... well, I've never been to Boskovice but Jen's blog last year made it look appealing.
Nathan and his wife are in Prague for "a few days" (?!) so I'm meeting them for lunch today to find out the scoop.
Bob D, czar of various things Eastern European at my university (let's not get into the geographical debate, for the moment let's use Cold War terminology since that's how REES is set up), is in town with a gaggle of students and if all goes according to plan, we'll be dining this weekend so that I can get him up to date on my research.
Hubert, who has a long list of residencies and such lined up, will be getting to Prague June 7 before heading down to Tabor to do some sort of collaborative musical venture.
As for me, I was originally scheduled to go back to the US on May 18, on the grounds that I had no idea how long I'd want/need to stay and required a ticket with a low date-change fee. Two things arose that indicated a longer stay: the upcoming Štyrský show at Dům U Kamenného zvonu/The House of the Stone Bell, which my dissertation requires I attend; and the possibility of giving a paper in London on June 15. By the time I was clear on the opening date for the Štyrský show, and had a moment to sit down and call the airline, it was a bit late. The not remarkably helpful agent told me there was nothing available in the second half of June. Since I had to see the Štyrský show but hadn't even heard whether my paper was accepted for London, I compromised with a new return date of June 8. I'd been telling everyone I was leaving in mid-June and this seemed awfully soon, but...
Naturally, no sooner had I done this than I got word that my paper proposal had been accepted.
I underwent some agonizing (or at least miserable) calculations. While the conference was one of graduate students, it would be at the Tate and everyone would be a surrealist specialist, so the professional contacts would be very desirable. Should I ignore my return flight and try to get a one-way from London? ah, but then I'd have to take the train to London, since you can't take much baggage on intra-European flights or on the bus. What should I do? Airfares of any sort are hideously expensive just now.
Eventually, I decided to see if any seats had freed up in the latter part of June. I thought I'd give this only one try, since the conference organizers were waiting to hear whether I'd manage to come or not.
This time I got a very pleasant and professional agent who quickly checked into what I was eligible to do and found that I could fly out on June 19. While this is only 11 days later than the other, somehow it makes a huge difference even beyond allowing me to go to the conference. I can get a little more research done, and in addition I can think about whether to spend a few days in Britain, make a quick trip to Paris to scope out future research there, visit friends in Berlin, or what. I can't do all of these, but at least I have some options for the remaining time.
Life suddenly seems much better even though I won't get to see Orion and Ms. Spots for a whole month still.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Zaius Nation has awarded you the Thinking Blogger Award. Your blog is now officially "thought provoking." ;o)

May 17, 2007 3:35 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

How exciting!

May 17, 2007 8:25 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I'm glad everything worked out for you!

May 18, 2007 8:52 AM  

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