Thursday, April 28, 2005

Aw... you guuuuyyyyyssssss.....

Wow! You're all a bunch of saps! I am too.. here's some of the reponses I've gotten:

- The Notebook (in the boat, don'tcha know)
- Breakfast at Tiffany's (I have to admit, this one has MY vote)
- Sweet Home Alabama (amongst the lightning rods)

I totally forgot about Breakfast at Tiffany's... the rain, the taxi, Cat.... it's perfect!! *sigh*

Ok, enough sappy pappy crap for the day. I'm prepping to go on a whirlwind 4 day trip to Belgrade, Serbia and Zagreb, Croatia for the weekend. It's Orthodox Easter and Mayday so we've got a 4 day weekend. I am on my way home right now to get pictures ready to upload from my last two trips. Sorry it has taken me so long. I have been unbelievably busy (and a bit lazy too). And I promise when I get back to be more diligent in my blogging. I have been a bit lazy on that front as well. That's what I get for asking silly questions and inundating myself with work.

Last week I made the silly mistake of asking the head of the department I work for what the standards were for accepting TOEFL/IELTS (standardized English proficiency exams) for credit, and what the policy was for transferring English credits in from other departments.... MY MISTAKE. It seems there are no departmental standards or policies, and would I be so kind as to write them? Therein lies my hell at the moment. I have been researching like crazy to find out what other departments are doing, what other Universities are doing, how the TOEFL compares to the IELTS, etc. etc. etc. A couple of good things will come out of this - 1) the department will set standards and benchmarks that (hopefully) the rest of the University will follow eventually, and 2) on a more personal note... I am actually having some real impact here. Instead of just the handful of students that I have, these policies will affect every student that comes into the Political Science department from here on out. This will be my legacy at the University. It's a lot of reponsibility, and I want to do it right - setting realistic goals and structure to the program. YIKES! Wish me luck. Last year I was a student myself, and this year I'm writing departmental policies. Who'd a thunk it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Rainy Daze

What is it about rain that changes people's moods so much? For me, a rainy day is a day to stay at home in your slippers and sweats, read a book, work on a project, do some filing, or better yet, crawl in bed and watch a movie. It's a day for being melancholy and introspective. One of my students today, however, had a completely different perspective on rain. He loves the rain and finds rainy days romantic. Being the cynic that I am, I responded that it's hard to be romantic with a party of one, but then I started to think about it. (about rain, not being romantic with a party of one - get your minds out of the gutter!) I started to think about the romance of rain. There is some truth to that. Some of the most romantic scenes in movies were in pouring down rain - look at the final scene of Casablanca (or was that just fog?). Anyway, i'm completely drawing a blank on romantic rainy scenes, but I'm sure there's lots. Let's take a poll.... drop a comment with your nomination for best romantic rainy scene in a film, and we'll see where we wind up. (see what happens when my creative juices stop flowing? I start begging for your input... help.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Addicted to old episodes of CSI

Why?? Someone help me. Flying Dutchman, take your DVD's BACK! Seriously, my friend the Flying Dutchman left KO for Liberia for 5 weeks, and willed me all the TV series he's downloaded from the internet. I have every episode of CSI (Vegas AND Miami), Alias, Law & ORder (just the 1st 3 seasons) and god knows what else.. the cd case holds 150, and it ain't empty! I have been like a bad porn addict for the past three weeks - every night, 4-5 episodes. Ok ok, not EVERY night, but enough that people are starting to wonder if I'm a hermit. FD got back yesterday, so my beast of burden is soon to leave my hands (thank GOD) or I might develop calluses on my ass.

On a completely different note, went to Greece this past weekend. T'was phenomenal (do do de doo doo - that was for you, Lopez). The weather was perfect - not too hot, not too cold about 25 degrees celcius, so someone with a calculator tell me what that means in numbers... to me it means just right for being on the beach. The water was unbelievably cold - that phrase "once you're in, you'll get used to it" did not apply. Sure, you'll get used to it, about as quickly as you get used to dying from hypothermia. Only made it in up to my knees. And my feet began to scream in protest. I toughed it out for a few minutes of frisbee tossing, but then my feet actually started to flail about uncontrollably until I agreed to get them out of the water.

Brief recap of weekend: get call from 9 of my nearest and dearest friends in Kosovo "wanna go to Greece?", next day get in car hungover from yet another going away party serving jet fuel (aka Rakia), sleep for 2 hours, wake up half-way to greece, get to greece, hotel all screwed up - manager doesn't speak english - nor does the guy he calls to translate for him - manage to get a room anyway, have mini sandwiches and fruit salad and tequila shots at bar next door (i was attempting to not drink, but the waitress ruined that), go to bed early - leaving gang at bar, go to bed with patio door open to let the waves lull me to sleep, get up and have a breakfast of fried eggs and cold cuts, play frisbee, volleyball and paddle ball and read on beach all day, play Ultimate in the afternoon - made a one handed diving flying catch to win the game that had everyone cheering and left me in complete shock because i have no idea how it happened, napped, had a big dinner leaving everyone stuffed, went to the ugliest discotech i have ever seen (no, jess not the one we went to - this one was in Katerini), made a scene dancing with The Man (6' 3 big black American/South African/Canadian/French dude) - the only one in Greece, I'm sure, and got the party started, went home at 2am, leaving a good chunk of the gang behind, woke up and crawled to a beach chair, stayed there all day, came back to Kosovo. Sigh. Perfect weekend.

I miss the beach. sigh. i'm homesick. boo.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Bad Attitude

Have you ever found yourself sounding like that professor in college that you rolled your eyes at constantly? YEAH. That's been me this week. I decided to try and quit smoking again. In the three days I actually made it (yeah, I blew it on day 4), I turned into an absolute monster. I completely lost it on one of my classes. I don't have that unreasonable of expectations - come to class, be on time and be prepared. It's what they expect of me, therefore I expect the same from them. I didn't manage to get that point across to carefully though when I basically told them they were all acting like disrespectful 5 year olds and if they couldn't handle the responsibility of being a student they could pack up their books and go home for the day. YIKES. Not the best way to handle things and I still feel guilty about it. The worst part is that the students that really needed the lecture weren't there, as usual, thus the students that do come regularly and are prepared caught the brunt of my frustrations. There will be an apolgy on Tuesday. Part of it I will blame on agitation from nicotine withdrawals, the rest I will blame on my frustration in general.

I think I may have blurred the line a little much between the "cool laid back teacher who cares" and "teacher you can take complete advantage of". It's a very fine line to walk. I am understanding, I do get it that they all have full time jobs and support their families. It's not like I haven't been there. I've had two or three jobs for as long as I can remember, and I managed to get through school ok. Yes, I skipped a few classes (ok, maybe more than a few), but I managed to get the work done still. I hear the excuses I get from my students and hear echoes of my own words from not so long ago. I now understand how lame and unoriginal it all sounded. Blah blah blah... I want to be supportive and open, but at the same time, I know the bullshit game and it doesn't fly very well when the shoe is on the other foot.

God, I never thought I'd hear myself say that. It's like waking up one morning and realizing everything your parents ever told you was right, and that you foolishly tried to prove them wrong. (Mom, Dad, I'm sorry - go ahead, give me an "I told you so.")