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Thursday, September 30, 2010

An Open Letter to My Wife

Dear S-,

7:30 AM, CET, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

I am here for our Skype date, but got your message (flight delay from Colorado-Boston).  Just made instant coffee in our new $50 microwave. Sorry to hear that your flight is delayed.  But Alex will wait for you.  Give him a hug for me. 

My first classes were yesterday, and I had 12 students in each.  That is a decent turnout on the first day, so they say.  (It triples last time's 4, out of 30+!)  I do not know my actual enrollments this term. 

I am far less stressed now that I do not have to work also at the downtown campus (EURO).  I was fearing the preparation load.  My PSU online MBA course is a constant psychological demand.  There are ungraded posts from last weekend to read and grade today, so I'll be online a lot today.  Skype me whenever, and I'll answer if I am here.

If you do come over later on in the term, we'll find an apartment again for a month or two.  I would love that.  No pressure, but you'd be most welcome. 

It is October.  JJ's and Amy's wedding next month!  It will be here before we know it.  I can't believe I'll have only been here a week tomorrow.  I have already had so many meetings, lost one job, picked up two new assignments, planned next week's trip to Bucharest via Sibiu for the Fulbright orientation, had my PSU Chat, been sick, gotten well, walked to Iulius Mall daily for four straight days, etc.  It never stops!

Day before yesterday I bought us our very own clothes rack, just like the one we had before, and did my first laundry.  The washers here at Economica II are big ones, and are free.  (These drying racks are great.  Maybe I can find a way to bring this one home, though it is pretty large even when folded.)  Yesterday, I bought coat, shirt, and pants hangers, and finally batteries for the travel alarm clock, as well as a varza, onions and garlic, so I can make a ciorba this weekend, and save buying dinner out every night.  Still have to find the nearest kitchen.  I thought there was one on every floor, and I can often smell good cooking going on, but I haven't found the kitchen on "Etaj 2" yet.

My left eye is still cloudy, and my depth perception sucks.  I miss at least one step every day, and yesterday one such miss jarred my spine.  Also, night driving is a bit difficult, so I have cancelled classes for next Thursday, and will make daylight trips to and from Bucharest.  The orientation is on our 37th Anniversary, Wednesday.  I'll be staying at Casa Victor, of course.  I am taking a new Fulbrighter (Aline C., who let me use her "Box 4 of 4" to ship teaching materials) from here to Sibiu on Tuesday, where we will pick up Charles and "his" new LBU Fulbrighter, and continue to Bucharest.  On Thursday I will return via Brasov, where I have  a lunch appointment with Claudiu Morarescu, founder ot the "Let's Improve Romania's Image" Facebook Cause.  I will also try to see Roxana's folks, at least to say "Hello."

There is more to tell from Cluj, but those are the highlights. 

I look forward to getting the Colorado tales.

Drum Bun!  I miss you.



Sunday, September 26, 2010

In Cluj

Klaus at Economica II
Like a moth to the flame, I returned to Cluj-Napoca.  I already miss Shirl, but otherwise am comfortably housed in Economica 2, a brand new graduate dormitory, with a large room, all to myself.  After awakening at 3:00 AM shaky (sugar very low at 55 mg/dl), I drank some OJ I had bought yesterday for just such an occasion, and then slept until 11:30 this Sunday AM.

I met with Raluca (Dora) F. (see Link) upon arrival yesterday.  She is living on the 11th floor here.  I am on the 2nd.  We walked to Auchan at Iulius Mall, where we shopped a bit and had dinner in the Food Court.  Dora is her beautiful and warm-hearted self.  We learned by phone while together that her mother (from Bistrita) fell yesterday while helping with the harvest at her mother's farm, and suffered a fracture of her right forearm.  I reassured Dora that, while painful, a simple fracture would heal in six or eight weeks, and that her arm should then be good as new.  (Experience talking!)

Today I have just had coffee with Mihaela L, and arranged for opening ceremonies at FSEGA tomorrow.  I need my business suit, so have invited Horatius F. and Monica Z. for pizza tonight.  Moni was keeping my business suit and household supplies, which she offered to do when Shirl and I moved from our apartment last June.  No answer, yet, on that invitation.  But between now and dinner, I am meeting for coffee with Alexandra at her favorite: Starbucks.

Tomorrow, I hope to meet with Lucian B., and possibly my colleagues at European Studies.  Tomorrow night at 1:00 AM I have my chat session with my PSU online MBA students.

At this pace, I will lose ten pound in the first week here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Splittin' for Greeners

Shirl leaves tomorrow to visit Piper in Aspen, and Christal, John, and Hannah in Boulder, Colorado. 

Yours truly leaves tomorrow for Stuttgart to see the Schmid family, and to pick up Klaus, who has new knees.  From there I am off to Romania on Friday.

Da da da da.  Romania, again.  You may find that tedious blogging, but I am very much looking forward to returning to teach again at UBB-Cluj.  And to seeing my friends there.  And to attending the fall Fulbright Orientation in Bucharest on October 6 (Shirl's and my 37th Anniversary). 

Shirl, my love, on our 35th you promised me thirty-five more.  I want you to know that I am holding you to that!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Changing Focus

Yesterday was Labor Day, so I went to work, and finished the planning for my fall online course.

As a by-task of my transitioning from full time teaching at PSU to the half-time Retirement Transition Program, I have moved into a new office located just across Merrill Street from Hyde Hall, where I have been based for the past 18 years.  It has taken awhile to get the Internet hookups to work correctly in the new location, so I have been spending many days this summer at Lamson Learning Commons (formerly known as Lamson Library), where there are many computer-equipped carrels, and where the Online Learniong Center is located.  The mission was to convert my MBA course "Accounting for Managers" from Blackboard to Moodle.

Moodle is a shareware product developed, I am told, in New Zealand.  As a platform on which to deliver online courses, I have found it quite easy to learn, and powerful in its ability to let me provide what I want the students to see and do.  My course is now ready for its launch next Monday, September 13th, when we will have a synchronous chat session at 6:00 PM EDT.

Now, I have a week or so to focus on the three courses I will be teaching starting October 1, in Cluj.  Fortunately, two are repeats of courses I taught in the 2008-2009 academic year, so I do not have to start from scratch. 
Update: Campton's Liberty Tree Elm has been watered daily for almost a month now, and is looking happy and healthy in its new home.