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August 7th 2009
Published: August 7th 2009
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As I normally find myself this time of the summer, I become awe struck at the entire process. We come here, take over, make our mark, pack up, and return home. I spent today cleaning out many years of "activities" materials. For the last couple of years I get some guys to move big boxes marked "Activities Office" into my office and have never had a real chance to sit down and look at it all. I found a box of rubber snakes, a letter dated 1982, a box of plaster of paris, a few blow up beach balls, a bunch of TASIS postcards that can no longer be printed since the negative was lost years ago, and various other things. It felt good to finally purge the last 25 years worth of stuff and finally make it my own. I am pretty sure I have spent the last 3 years in denial that I actually run an entire department and have been afraid to make changes. This year, actually just today, I finally accepted the fact that I have made changes, made strides, and improved something that had become outdated and stale. I am pretty sure my fate was sealed when a new teacher said to me that she thought my job was amazing and asked how she could get it. I basically replied that she couldn't (with a smile of course) because it's mine.

So tonight was the talent show ... I watched a band led by an arab boy named Ahmed and completed by 2 japanese students, an italian, a russian, a turk and a guy from lebanon. As they finished their number and hugged I once again realized what a little bubble we spend 7 weeks in here. Religion doesn't matter, politics are non-existent, culture is something we share, and everyone leaves here a better person from the experience. Not teaching or having a dorm anymore I have missed the bonding I once had with the students. However, this boy Ahmed really taught me a lot this summer. He is from Saudi Arabia and thanked me personally every weekend for his trips and all the fun he had. We spoke about his culture and how in a couple of years he would no longer be permitted to shake hands with women. I asked him if he met me again in two years would he really not shake my hand ... as today he was hugging me. I believe being here has changed this young man, and once again I become naive in hoping that if 7 weeks can bring together over 25 cultures, can the world not do the same??

The program here is incredible ... I no longer fantasize about trips around England or London, as I have spent more time in London than any city in the world. I simply am fascinated by the international community that is created in such a small place in such a short amount of time. Tonight I spoke with a boy I have known all summer and have found out that at 16 he could write a novel .... blonde, blue-eyed German/Dutch ... born in England, now attending a boarding school in Qatar. He has lived in more places than I have ever been and has more insight than any young person should.

I have packed my office into a shed, volunteered to take an airport run (since I haven't done one all summer and quite like them), and will drive into London tomorrow night for the final riverboat. I will proof grade reports for the dean of academics (who has 240 of them to proof) and then finally we will have our faculty party. I will then depart at 7am without saying goodbye to anyone of course (since it's just too sad) ... off then to Vienna, Salzburg, Liechtenstein (via the Autobahn!!!) and finally to my job in Switzerland. Since we have 10 students and 6 teachers I will probaby going to Milan for a couple of days of fun.

I hope everyone is well and enjoying the summer. It has flown by for me and I am beginning to wind down.



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