He Came In From Amsterdam: Blogmas Day 10

Today’s post is a bit different.

So get comfy cause it’s story time.

Alright so this whole thing starts this past summer.

I decided to take a class on the Cultural Production of Popular Music. I mean it’s basically right up my alley. It’s exactly what I love doing so I mean I had to take it. It was the class that I changed my major for because it’s so much what I want to do. I almost didn’t take it because of some scheduling issues but I ended up taking the class anyway.

This class ended up being one of my favourite classes I’ve ever taken. I got the opportunity to engage with ideas around ethnicity, class, and culture — all through the lens of music. The professor was a younger guy, so in many ways he was similar to us students through the fact that he hadn’t lived through some of the different musical eras we were talking about yet he had a lot of knowledge about how to discuss them and examine them. When I met with him in his office hours in order to ask for help on my term paper, he recognized me immediately because I had spoken up in class multiple times and I had offered really great contexts and information to further the discussion. So that was a nice little confidence booster for sure.  Yes there were some challenges as there is with any class but I really loved it and I would take it again in a heartbeat.

Anyway, fast forward to the end of the semester. I finished the class and I made a point to say thank you to the professor because he had offered such great critiques of my work. He responded with a very kind email and told me that I was one of the best students he’d ever had and that he would be more than willing to write a reference for me if I ever needed it. Well, I collected on that sooner as opposed to later.

I needed an academic reference for a scholarship for my exchange. The deadline was a week after I had learned of the scholarship so I needed to move quickly. I had emailed another professor but he didn’t respond in time for the deadline. No harm no foul. My mom recommended that I contact the professor from my music class but I just didn’t think it would work. Why? Well, he’d moved to Amsterdam right after the class had ended. This particular reference needed to be signed on the form and on the back of the envelope and I just didn’t see that happening.

So come Monday morning, I had 4 days until my Thursday deadline @ 3:30. I did email the TA that I had for the pop music class and asked if he would be willing to write my reference. He readily agreed to write the reference but he noted that he would be out of town when the deadline came and expressed some concerns about being able to respond in time. However, he did recommended that I email the professor and ask him.

“Yeah but he’s in Amsterdam. I can’t do that” I thought to myself.

I kept reading.

You could try Rob. I believe that he is back in town for his PhD thesis defence tomorrow. I would suggest checking with him.

unimpressed ron swanson


I almost started screaming right then and there. (Except I was in class when I saw the email. Sorry mom.) I thought there was no way that this could happen and sure enough, this was going to happen. I emailed the professor right away and waited for a response. I was excited and I just knew deep down that this was going to happen.

“This is it.” I thought. “I got my reference and it’s from the original professor that I thought I wouldn’t be able to get. It’s all worked out.”


As I was waiting for a friend to come meet me to go grab a bite to eat, I was sitting by the entrance of my school. All of the sudden, I hear “Hi Grace.” It was the TA that I had emailed earlier that morning. He had come to school to pick up some documents from his work computer for his trip and he just so happened to see me sitting off to the side. He asked if I had the form for the reference and offered to fill it out for me right then and there. I mean who am I to say no!

I got options, guys. Options.

While he was filling out the reference, I got yet another email – this time from the professor – who agreed to write my reference for me and said that I could pick it up from him Thursday morning.

So I got even MORE options.

Fast forward to Thursday morning, there I was standing in my school building and I hear my name being called from across the way for the 2nd time that week. This time, it was the professor who was here from Amsterdam. The professor I didn’t think would be able to do this for me but agreed to anyway. I almost couldn’t believe it was happening. It was an answer to prayer.

As he was signing my forms and everything, he asked me more about my exchange and while doing so, he also complimented my work in his class. I was very excited to hear that I had done well as was another student who I knew who was also in the same class as I. I briefly mentioned that I wasn’t certain about my grade because I knew that I hadn’t done super great on the midterm. He looked at me surprised and said, “Yeah that may be so. But you got the highest term paper grade in the entire class.”

lucy shocked

I wasn’t expecting that! Who would’ve thought?

It just got me thinking: I automatically dismiss things because I can’t see them happening. Just because I can’t see them happening or physically think of ways to make things work, doesn’t mean that it’s not possible. I can’t place limits on what God wants to do simply because my natural mind can’t see it happening.

On top of all that, I also had to be ready and prepared to move when it was time. Had I delayed and waited around I could’ve missed out on this tremendous opportunity. The professor was here from Amsterdam for a short window of time and I had to capitalize on that time to make it happened. My preparedness made it easy for me to be able to move when it was time and I was able to get what I needed.

All in all, this was one of my BEST moments of 2015 and I can’t wait to see more of these happening in the next year!

Until Tomorrow,

Peace & Harmonies

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