Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fulbright to Iceland!

After months of waiting, I am delighted to have found out that I've been selected for a Fulbright fellowship to Iceland in 2010-11. I leave in September, and will live there for nine months, possibly a little longer. I couldn't be happier! My proposal, once I arrive, is to experience as much of Iceland's culture, music scene, and landscape as possible, and write music based on these experiences. The end result as it currently stands is to create some kind of music-based installation that can play in Iceland, sort of introducing my experiences as an American in Iceland, and then I can take the installation back to the States for viewings. I hope that there will also be a performance aspect as well, though everything is subject to change based on my time there, the people I meet, and the network of contacts I've set up.

Come August, I'll get to spend a couple weeks at home before I go abroad, which will be the first time since 2001 since I've had more than 9 days off in a row. I had to defer my doctoral plans, and I also hope to sell some of my things to raise a little extra cash for my trip. Right now I'm in the midst of getting health tests and mailing back a lot of forms and reading up on rules and regulations. I'll have to find my own housing (with a little help, I'm sure) and I hope it won't use up the entirety of my stipend there! Luckily the cost of living is less than when I visited several years ago, before the economic crisis and collapse. In fact, people may be actively seeking out guests for apartments, so I hope to find a good deal for a shared room or sublet.

I told my bosses and coworkers that I will be leaving them in the fall, and I was so relieved that they were all incredibly supportive. I'm sure they're all a little upset, however, that they won't be able to find someone quite as good as me at removing paper jams from the copier, or cleaning up the dirty dishes, or greeting the multitude of people at the door in the mornings. The staff even applauded for me at the staff meeting! You would have thought that I had just given each of them a new car or something, with all the happiness floating around the room (but sadly I don't have Oprah's budget, I can only make everyone brownies). I'm sad to be leaving the museum, and Pittsburgh, but I'm glad it's for a terribly exciting new adventure. I'm looking forward to meeting long-admired musicians, hot dogs, harbors, fermented shark meat, beautiful light (and darkness), beautiful language, volcanoes, glaciers, kronur, and more asymmetrical haircuts than I can shake a stick at.

As I don't leave for another three months, there are still more comics, collages, and music projects to detail. 'Course, come September, this blog will probably transform into an Icelandic journal of sorts, so I hope you will all continue to read and enjoy.

(Photo: Hallgrimskirkja, the large cathedral in the center of Reykjavik. Taken on my 2007 trip.)

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