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Monday, July 31, 2006

Grad students are rich, right?

At least that's what my school thinks! They charged me $10,946.39 for one four-hour course; this is NOT a joke, guys. When I called to complain, they told me it was a system glitch. At least someone (or something?) thinks I am rich! :)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Some work, some relaxation...

  • Finish grading
  • Average grades
  • Make a nice cup of tea
  • Watch a movie -- in progress
  • Enjoy a bubble bath

Yeah, yeah -- tons of work left... but a girl needs some time to recuperate, right?

Friday, July 28, 2006

My Inbox is empty!!!

After housing approximately 800 emails accumulated during the past three weeks, my Inbox is finally empty. Wow! :)

OK, here is my domestic side...

African Salad

Cool CD!

I already posted this info on my Africa site but just in case you don't care about going there... :)

One of our seminar participants was Dr. Anthony Kellman, a very cool guy as well as gifted author and singer/musician. I have truly enjoyed talking to him on our long bus rides and was delighted to find out he just released a new CD! Here is a link: Go enjoy free tracks and maybe even get a copy! I am sure he won't mind signing it for you. :)

Talking about seminar participants, we had an awesome group. I was the only one w/out a Ph.D. -- yikes! My distance learning experience made up for that shortcoming, though, since I was in high demand and nobody else was an expert in that area. We had a literature/theory professor/poet who speaks six (yes, six) languages; a linguist who speaks four languages; a famous environmental engineer; and many other interesting people who made our long bus trips so fun. I think most people were at least bilingual (I am fluent in three).

Oh, grading...

I am normally a pretty nice person but non-stop grading this week really got on my nerves. And one student happened to add a "perfect touch" by including this comment with his questionable-quality assignments: "Thanx so much and happy viewing!!!" Yeah, sure! I will have loads of fun reading your trash.

OK, deep breath, smile! Almost done with grading! One more day! :)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Africa Update

I updated my Africa blog -- check out photos and movie clips! Have fun!

Here is a link again:

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What a crazy day!

  • Woke up at 3:30 a.m. and went through the usual morning routine.
  • Left my parents' house at 4:30 a.m.
  • Drove four hours to the hometown.
  • Taught one class (started at 9:40 a.m. so got there just in time)
  • Waded through some emails
  • Prepared for the seminar
  • Taught a two-hour seminar -- 4:00 to 6:00
  • Stopped by a grocery store to get fresh milk, juice, and Tylenol Cold Extra Strength (must have picked up something on all those connections -- sore throat, runny nose, etc.)
  • Went through a three-week pile of mail -- want to guess how much was just plain trash?
  • Jet lag, lack of sleep, busy day, and cold have won -- turning in early tonight and sleeping in tomorrow morning. Aaahhh, simple pleasures...

Monday, July 24, 2006

My luggage is here!

Finally got my luggage this afternoon -- a major relief since I had several inexpensive but cool souvenirs I really hated to lose. Unfortunately, I will have to drive home very early tomorrow morning since it was too late to drive home tonight. Mom and I went to the airport to pick up luggage and it took forever. After my deer accident earlier this year, I really hate driving back roads after dark and would rather travel early in the morning so I can hit deer-congested area in the daylight. Of course, it means I have to leave at 4:30 a.m. in order to make 9:40 a.m. class but I can do it, I can do it, I can do it... I think I can... Yawning... Very tired... My mailbox is full... Tons of assignments to grade... Oh, well -- one class and a seminar tomorrow; if I survive tomorrow, I can sleep in on Wednesday and spend the rest of the week catching up.

My eyes are closing -- I guess I am still on Africa time; it's 2:23 a.m. there now. Better get some sleep since I have to be up so early tomorrow... Good night! :)

I am back from Nigeria and Cameroon!!!

Wow, what an experience! This seminar changed my perception of Nigeria and Cameroon and instilled a new appreciation for the hard work of so many people who are locked into a vicious circle of poverty. If you were reading my other blog (see posting below), you already know about my adventures; I will update that blog later this week.

We are back -- safe and sound! As of 4:00 p.m. yesterday (when we landed), our checked in bags were still vacationing in Frankfurt (our connection from Brussels arrived late); hopefully, I will be able to pick up my bags today -- supposedly, they are arriving on the same flight this afternoon. Although they offered to mail the bags, I don't want to rely on two rather questionable agencies; one is plenty.

This experience proved my theory that one should always pack a carry-on with enough items to survive for a necessary period of time. Or, even better, pack lightly and don't check in anything. Of course, longer trips require checked in bags.

Anyway, I better get back to work -- it's going to be a very busy week...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Another Africa Update

Please use this link:; don't have time to blog in two places. Having tons of fun but too little sleep! :)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Nigeria: Day 1

(1) Abuja -- capital of Nigeria -- was a jungle 15 years ago; today, there are seven satellite communities and these are forming the infrastructure of the new city. All the roads are new (but in a good condition by our standards), there are no stop signs and only a few traffic lights. Many buildings are not finished and we were told that people move in and finish building later (like adding doors, windows, amenities, etc.).
(2) Our hotel is advertised as "Luxury Collections" and it is clean and fairly comfortable. However, we had to figure out a few things. For example, there is an individual water heater in every room. Last night, we ended up taking cold showers (really cooling if not refreshing!!!) before we figured out how to turn the heater on. We do have an air conditioner (works great -- had to turn it down because it was too cold), a TV, a fairly nice computer and a free Internet connection in our room (even though the connection is very, very slow). I had to request another set of sheets, though -- the ones I had looked like they were washed but not really.

Got to run -- will finish later

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Africa Update

After two eight-hour flights (Atlanta-Frankfurt and Frankfurt-Port Harcourt-Abuja) and a three-hour layover in Frankfurt, I am not tired but, surprisingly, not exhausted. Go figure! I am frustrated though -- this Internet connection is soooooooooooo slow; took me almost five minutes to just log in. More tomorrow!

Happy 4th, everybody! While you are still celebrating, it's 10:00 p.m. here in Abuja, Nigeria.

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