Friday, January 27, 2006
terribly sorry! didn't realize i'd already written some about my week last week. had entirely forgotten, but today's version is a bit more polished. THANKS.
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So everybody knows that I spent the third week of January running around in Lower Michigan and Madison to recruit at some universities. All in all it went well; I have a list of a hundred and fifty names and e-mails. The task now is follow-up. I started with a fairly pathetic tabling session at Kalamazoo College on the 17th. I had only three people stop by the table, none of whom seemed overly interested. This was perturbing because much of the conversation I listened to was about Study Abroad. It is true that 80%of the junior class was gone for the semester, leaving less than a thousand students at the school all told. Apart from the low rate of interested students, it was a blast. My best friend Aimee was along for the ride and we laughed more than I have in months. The rainy drive back to East Lansing was depressing as some man hit the rear passenger door on the rental car. Unbelievable. I was parked well in the line, he did not look, he hit me, and I had to spend the next morning chasing a police report for the rental company. Nightmare.

An information session at MSU preceded the Michigan vs. Michigan State hockey game. This session went all right; I had about thirty people in attendance. My big mistake was not talking about me and my experience. Given my age, recent experience in the company, and the fact that last year at this time I was in their shoes, I’m a real life tale. At least they can put a face to the company now rather than reading about it all on the comprehensive yet impersonal website. The lady from Career Services who organized the whole thing was very encouraging and said she thought it went really well. I hope she’s right and we get a few people to join. I need one person to join to make the whole trip worthwhile to the company.

I’ll refrain from going on about the hockey game. I’ll just say that it was bloody fantastic. Aimee and I again worked our abs with laughter and throats with yelling. State shut out U of M 2 nil, and we were sitting very near some suit clad, stat taking hockey gods. They all had huge championship rings, one had a nice set of rebuilt front teeth, and another had the most amazing blue eyes we’d ever seen. It was a great night complete with fresh snow falling as we jogged back to the car jacketless.

Another early start driving back to Kalamazoo in the snow this time with a few stops to phone and speak to police in the Galesburg Michigan area led to a long day. I got the run around from several different officers, gave up, and headed to Western. This tabling went much better. Of course there are simply more students at Western and I achieved my small goal of ten e-mails before having to head back out to the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office for a police report. It went well there and I even had time to start thinking about reformulating my presentation to include more stuff about me. I figured a little bio at the beginning would work well because they could hear how awesome the whole experience is before the technical information is introduced. The night was finished with a few beers at a place with the longest list of imports in existance, a bottle of Saki, and half of a movie with fellow Escanaba brothers Chad and Chris.

Clear driving through the construction ridden Chicago area was a god send, I would have gotten majorly lost other wise as I didn’t have a map. Upon arrival in Madison I relaxed a reworked the presentation for that night’s session at the University of Wisconsin. Attendance was through the roof at this session. It ended up to be standing room only with some people even deferred and told to visit me the following day at the Career Center’s Open House. This presentation went much better I thought; a connection with the students formed thru my introductory bio. After a quick Mediterranean dinner with my host I was thankful to hit the pillow. Complimentary breakfasts rule, but broken whirlpools are a bummer when there’s a morning to be slow before a long day.

I spent three hours in the afternoon at the Open House for the Arts and Letters Career Center. In that time groups of students would come in small groups and hear my bit about Languagecorps and then ask questions for a few minutes. I probably saw 75 or more students in that time. It was great and the office said their attendance nearly doubled from the year before all thanks to my presence. Such success was a great way to finish the actual recruiting work part of the trip.

By the time I was leaving it had begun to snow and I was weary of a long drive home. It ended up to by a longer affair than planned. Only about forty miles out of Madison a car from the opposite direction spun out and somehow made it across the median. Hitting the brakes I narrowly missed being hit and the car to my right was smashed into before we all landed in the ditch. No damage to the already dented and scratched rental, no injuries for me, two very helpful men, some nice police officers, and forty five minutes waiting for a jerk of a tow truck driver later I somehow made it to the next town. There I had coffee at a little shop where the girls could see I was upset. They chatted with me for a bit and called the movie theater to get movie times. I watched ‘King Kong’ for a second and still totally worth it time. Thankfully, during the movie’s three hours the snow stopped and the roads were wet but not slick when I departed. I pulled into my parents’ driveway at about two thirty in the morning. I may never rent a car again because this first one turned out to be a trying experience. Unfortunately for me a day later I piled into another rental, a PT Cruiser (don’t ever even consider the purchase of one, they are AWEFUL), and drove to Chicago to catch my flight back to Thailand.

Somehow I manage to make it through these experiences without serious damage. I sit now where there is no snow and wireless internet. Being back in Pattaya is odd. The place is strangely familiar. Coming back to a country that is so foreign and having an apartment, a job, a local bar, friends at that bar, and a guy to see simply feels bazaar. I’ve begun my gym regimen and will start the observation schedule next week. I just hope jetlag, which I can't find a Thai word to explain, will evaporate by then!

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Thursday, January 19, 2006
n/b: i am in Kalamazoo Michigan at the moment using the wireless internet at the Beaner's in K's gorgeous new library. Aimee thinks this school is hilarious because you can walk across the entire campus in less than five minutes. there were days when it took us five minutes to get to the cafe in our own dorm! i have been recruiting for Languagecorps since yesterday and travelling since sunday. i've hit k college, state, and western thus far, and head to madison tomorrow to hit wisconsin.

so it's wednesday afternoon. i've been on the road for four days and have two to go. i have learned more in the past few days then i actually would care to in that amount of time!

i saw Grandma Bruno's place on sunday. it's a very comfortable situation and i'm glad that she's happy there! i did the usual gabing with Jacqueline about anything and everything before hitting the sack to excited to sleep because Aimee was arriving in the morning. i did sleep, though, and was still groggy when she arrived. we spent the morning drinking coffee and talking. then it was over to EL to our favorite lunch spot, La Senotira's, and 'The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" for a few chainmale-cald beaver comedy hours. it was a good movie, though definitely directed at children. then it was dinner at the parlour with Corey and Jenelle followed by a homebrew at Harper's. much talking and catching up for everybody. it was a very nice evening, followed by late into the night serious talk back at the ranch.

tuesday morning we got up, bathed, and headed for Kalamazoo College. i thought it took two hours to get there, it took less than an hour and a half, she'll laugh at me for years. tabling for two hours didn't go that well because there seemed to be little interest and few people. but we had a couple hits and a blast people watching together. on the way back to Lansing for my 5 o'clock presentation, a guy ran into the door of the rental car (this will turn into a nightmare on wednesday) but the roads weren't frozen! we made it to MSU early, so stopped for SLURPEES and car talking. the presentation went well, though i think i'll change some things to make sure people ask questions not just about the logistics of the program. oh deary me did i feel young and ill-qualified to answer some of the questions. though they did like the answer 'yes' to: 'have you been through the program?' i have time tomorrow to make some adjustments. then the fun began. we had wings and chatted with Laura for a minute at BWW before finding a parking space, clothes changing, and rushing through the rain to Munn for the hockey game. it was FANTASTIC!! state beat michigan 2-nil. we were in the blue fan section and screaming our heads off while watching the group of business suit clad hockey hotties with huge championship rings take stats for Michigan. we want to know who they are and where they come from!!! exiting the arena in the snow, we giggled our way back to the car and arrived at Jacqueline's for more late night talking before drifting off to sleep in front of the fire.

wednesday. wow. what a day. i again said good-bye to my best friend roommate and best friend aunt. coffee flowed and my jaw and throat hurt from talking and LAUGHING. leaving late and in the snow i made for the police station in the town where they guy ran into the car. talk about a wild goose chase. the town office is closed one day a week, you guessed it! wednesdays. one department tells me thay don't do reports on private property, another tells me he would do it but it's out of his jurisdiction. a new story every ten minutes. i took care of it this afternoon by going to the rather ghetto Kalamazoo County Sheriff department. the lady before me in line was filing a complaint against her ex-husband who wanted to 'comit suicide and take her along'. and i thought i was having a bad day! tabling as Western went much better, i got ten e-mail addresses and lots more people just picking up brochures. i need one person to join Languagecorps from the people i saw. i'm thinking in the next few years i'll have at least five. go team! and i have another school to visit. :) driving here i was wondering what the heck i was doing, but i think i've got an idea now, and by the time i'm finished i might even know what i'm doing!

tonight, dinner and a few beers with a good friend and venturing in the direction of Chicago. tomorrow morning i'm not getting up before 8am and reading the newspaper!
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Tuesday, January 10, 2006
It's been a fun packed few weeks here in Michigan's Upper Penninsula. Snowball fights, ice skaing, downhill skiing, cross country trying, and lots of sleep have taken up my time here. Again, I would post photos, but am unable. I don't know how to fix it, either.
But anyhow it's back to work now. I have been trying over the past few days to get together my presentation for Languagecorps recruiting. I will be visiting four schools starting on Friday. I'm looking forward to this job, but am nervous because of my age and expertise. Ah well, I'm sure it'll be fine. I was a student once so I can at least have a clue what they are thinking!
I'm off to get more work done. Hope your holidays were fabulous!
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