Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pennsylvania Bound

This post is so beyond overdue it's not even funny, but in the whirlwind of life, I'm not surprised it's taken me so long to write it!

In my last post on February 8, I was headed to Penn State for my final interview for their MFA in Directing for the Musical Stage.  I was terrified and excited and was going to have the opportunity to sit down to dinner with one of my heroes, Susan Schulman.  I was able to talk myself out of my nerves and just be myself (a new thing for me, now that I'm two years into my 30s), and I left with my head held high feeling like I'd done solid work. In fact, I learned so much in that 36 hour period that I felt like the trip had been absolutely worth it, no matter the outcome, and that I was at peace with whatever their decision was.

So, imagine my shock and surprise when Susan called me four days later and made me an offer for one of the two slots that open up every other year.  It was a Friday morning, and I was literally fifteen minutes away from walking into my first school of the day to teach several preschool dance classes.  Susan told me to take the weekend to talk it over with Jason and to call her on Monday morning with my answer.

No pressure.

I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach - excited and nervous butterflies having a grand battle in my belly.  I tried to call Jason on his cell, couldn't get him, and so I called his office and asked to be put through to him (something I NEVER do) so I could tell him the news.  Then, I called my parents.  Then, I somehow had to get it together and actually teach those crazy preschool classes.  Let me tell you, there is NOTHING that will bring you back down to Earth faster than a class full of adorable and snotty two year olds.

We spent the weekend talking about it. It's an incredibly special opportunity, but because they give you so many more opportunities than any other school, they ask for so much more of your life than any other program.  Jason and I needed to be sure that we were BOTH in for the three year long haul, because truthfully, it will impact him far more than I.  I followed up with another MFA program that I was highly in the running for, and by the end of the weekend we were convinced that Penn State was clearly the place where we needed to be.  To be honest, this is the program that started this whole MFA hunt for me, and it's totally fitting that that's where I ended up.

So, we are moving to State College, PA this August for me to begin my three year MFA program.

And let me tell you - this program is one of a kind.  It's an MFA in Directing for the Musical Stage (the only one of it's kind that I'm aware of), headed by Broadway Director (LITTLE WOMEN, THE SECRET GARDEN, SWEENEY TODD, etc…., etc…, etc…) and SDC President (that's the Stage Director's and Choreographers Union if you don't know) Susan Schulman.  I've accepted a full ride and paid assistantship (basically they are paying me to get my degree there), and will be mentored by Ms. Schulman and the rest of the incredible Penn State faculty.  I have three international study trips that the University pays for - one summer to England, the next Eastern Europe, and then finally Italy (my fav).  The program also comes with an Assistantship on a production at a major Regional Theatre or On/Off Broadway.  The alums of this program are working like crazy as professionals and professors. It is TRULY the most incredible professional opportunity I've ever been handed, and I am so excited to get to work.

Last weekend, I was able to spend about four days in State College and hunt for a place to live, as now is the time.  I stayed with one of the current MFA candidates (thanks, Emmy!), saw some great places, and then miracle of all miracles, a realtor showed me a house that was for rent.  I didn't even know it was available, but it ticked literally EVERY box we had come up with.  A big yard for Indy.  Check. A garage. Check. (and this is a TWO CAR garage!) Basement.  Check.  Existing Woodshop in said basement. Check.  Lots of character.  Check.  Wood floors.  Check. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms. Check. Fireplace. Check. An office Space.  Check.  An actual dining room.  Check.  Man Cave in the Basement. Check. And all in our budget!  Want to talk about answers to prayers?  Anyhow, we were able to rent the house, and are so excited about it.  It's older and funky, with lots of personality - absolutely perfect for us, and only a few minutes from the school.  There was still snow on the ground, and nothing has grown back yet, so here's the listing photo of the house, like it will be when we get there this summer:

Our future State College Home.

So, now, we are getting ready for the eventual move - thinking about going through everything that's been in boxes since we left California in March, 2011. Giving some things away, filling in with new.  Looking for work for Jason. Mentally and emotionally preparing ourselves for this next life change. Getting ready to re-enter student-dom.  Working with my doctors to manage my autoimmune diseases even better. Buying student tickets for the football season. Having as much quality time together as possible.  A million little things to do before everything changes again.

Please keep us in your prayers as we move forward into this next phase of life.  I am excited, terrified, nervous, over-the-moon about this incredible opportunity, and I can promise you I won't waste it.

A Florida Gator and a Michigan Wolverine move to Nittany Lion territory… Sounds like a bad joke.  But we are confident that the next three years are meant to be spent in Pennsylvania, and if each of our last stops has been any indication, it's going to be AWESOME.

1 comment:

  1. HOW EXCITING. MY goodness! Congrats to you. :) Sounds like a serious honor and a full ride! Fantastic.