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Greetings from Tokyo!

a letter from the 2007 recipient of the amanda v. houston travelling fellowship

Dear Family,

Warm salutations from Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan.  Your daughter has arrived.  By the time you are reading this, I will be waking for my very first class, a Japanese language class that will last three and one half hours, with no break – aren´t you jealous?  

Well there is more.  In Japan, McDonald’s is considered casual dining and not a snack.  Vanilla Ice is a gangsta rapper and rice does not come with butter and salt or milk and sugar.  But I knew these things before I landed.  What I didn´t know was that none of this would matter once I got here.

 My first week in Japan has been exciting, frustrating and overwhelming, but I am still having an amazing time.  My only regret is that more of our brothers and sisters did not make the journey with me.  In studying abroad, there is so much to take in and I fear that my lonely account will not be enough to explain the wonders of living and participating in the global community.  But nonetheless, I will make every attempt to tell you truth through creative projects detailing my experiences as a traveler and a scholar in the Asian Pacific.

To Amanda V. Houston, whom I have never met but am deeply connected to through goals and dedication, Thank you for your dream and your ambition. 

To Dr. Jamel Bell and Dr. Sheilah Shaw Horton, who have invested themselves personally in my growth as a student and young woman, thank you for your continued support.   One pearl, while precious is only as beautiful as the silk binds it.  Sisters, I am honored to be bound to each of you in word, act and deed.

To the fellowship selection committee, thank you for believing in the academic merit of my projects and my potential to complete them with a style and sophistication deserving of such a generous award.  I look forward to your encouragements and your criticisms.

And to Dr. Sarr, my dean, my letter reader, my project advisor and my friend, Thank you for all that you have done.  Mother, no student is deserving of the kindness you have shown and I am eternally grateful.

To the fellowship finalist, future applicants and other students present, impossible is nothing.  Let us build tomorrow with ideals rather than opinions and cement it with experiences rather than theories, for this much owed to those who have laid the foundation.  We are not the dream, we are the reality.  So lets act like it!

Your Daughter, Your Sister…Yours,

Ms. Alexandra Griffin