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A Year of Living Positively -Day 52

I woke up feeling warm and happy this morning. Yea!

One thing that helped, besides the passing of time and massaging the problem over a couple of days, was another of Dottie's exercises, brainstorming. Of course, this is a popular technique and one used in classrooms and all kinds of planning. She gets the reader to apply it to goal setting.

Since I have not yet worked out my plans for the summer, I chose to brainstorm some ideas for summertime this year. As I started to draw up a list of what I might do, a notice about a very interesting education conference in Italy came to mind so I included it in my list. Someone in KOTESOL is recommending it to others.

I have been wanting to make a trip to Europe happen in the next three years, and I especially want to go to Italy. For most of my adult life, in fact, I have had a yearning to see Florence.

I am also seeking more professional development. My priority has been a course in Canada in order to meet Canadian teaching standards when I return to make a living in Canada. When I searched for some relevant courses, I found some qualifying one-week programs exist at good prices. Therefore, I no longer need to be concerned with that issue, for it appears it would be easy enough to find a short course and do it when I get back to Canada.

I also wrote down volunteer work, possibly involving volunteer training as a way of attaining new work experience. Volunteering to help with the disaster relief work of the Red Cross after I have retired has been another dream. The training for that kind of work can wait, however. 

In the short term, there are the urgent appeals for volunteers to help rebuild the communities destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda/Hailyan in the Philippines, which would be economical and useful. Most of the building, though, is being done now before the rainy season begins in the spring. Political campaigns to get the government to do more are raging, so I would expect it to be forced to take more initiative and responsibility by the spring.

My mind then turned back to the education conference in Italy. I was moved to check the website of the conference and discovered that it is taking place in Florence! Next, I checked the dates, for I considered it doubtful that attending could be feasible for me. For one thing, I was sure it would not be happening at a convenient time of year for me. Low and behold, however, it fits in to my time-line because the days of the conference fall in a week when no classes are normally held just before final exams are given in June. That is "make-up week," a time to hold extra classes to make up for classes missed because of festivals or holidays, or teachers' absences. It turns out, then, that the education conference suits me and is doable. By planning and managing my classes well through the semester, and not leaving myself with a lot of tasks to take care of during make-up week, I could be free to travel. 

Would I be excused from the regular duties of my job for a week in June? I would have a good excuse as the conference is relevant to my work.  In fact, a big section of the conference presentations is about foreign language teaching, so the employer could not justifiably object.

I contemplated a travel budget next. Since June is not the peak summer vacation season, flights and hotel rates are reasonable, and good seats and beds still are available. With flights and hotels well under $2,000 for five nights, my budget could be 2,500 including the conference fee ($400). I still have to research hostels in Florence.

Would the conference programming allow me enough time to see some sights after traveling all that way. Would it be worth the organizing and expense? It seems so because the conference falls on a Thursday and Friday, and, judging by the reports of past conferences, a day long tour of three villages in Tuscany is offered at a reasonable price ($200 with lunch). Also, flights either go to the Florence airport or the Bologna airport, allowing for an option to see Bologna too. I'm so thrilled!

Going to Florence would be a dream come true, and it would be exciting to meet and hear educators from Europe and Central Asia. Attending the conference would help me meet one of my goals for the year, which is to get more professional development. 

This marvelous opportunity is really exciting to me. I feel great dreaming about it! My mind is almost made up. I just have to do some class planning to make sure that it would work out.

How would I spend the rest of the summer? There is always the option of teaching the summer session and special programs in July to increase the income, while doggedly studying Korean, then taking a short trip not very far away. If I do go to Florence in June, I would not want to spend much more on travel this year. One place I've been wanting to explore is Vladivostock in East Russia. There are (long!) ferry rides for about $450 round trip, and economy hotels, so that the total cost might be short of $1000, easily covered by overtime pay. I could get out of the heat and see a place new to me for a few days. If not in August, there are the Korean high holidays in the second week of September, which will give us another long weekend.

Yeah, travel is one way to lift our spirits and give us dreams. Yet, there is another reason to feel more enthusiastic today and that is the experience in seeing the new work site, the new BUFS campus today.

It really is a beautifully designed campus in a peaceful and picturesque setting on a foothill of a mountain where the air is fresh. L and I met to unpack and move the furniture around. We still have old furniture, which got beat up in the transporting. The space is not as small as we had feared, and there is a lot of light. The front walls of all the professors' offices are made of glass, but I hear that the something is to be done to create a blurred effect, especially for the restrooms, which, yes, also have glass doors! If they don't do that, we can always use some other method like drapery or partitioning. We'll have fun decorating the place a bit.

I felt excited and happy to be moved into the new environment. There is more dignity and professionalism being there. The use of glass opens up the space and lets more light in, which was NOT the case in the old campus. There is central heating and air conditioning, which was NOT the case in the old campus, where we had to use space heaters including smelly and dangerous gas heaters, and sit around in our coats all day in the winter, then sweat and keep fans running all the time in the summer.

Finally, instead of being separated and housed in different buildings, the whole department replete with all its full-time teaching staff is in one area now, so that we can interact more with colleagues. In fact, our department chair's office is right across the hall from my office. Other native English speaking colleagues were around today, so we got to see their offices and chat, everyone beaming with smiles. I and P got a lift back home with C, actually.

There are many wonderful features of the campus, like the faculty canteen, the modern gym, a nice looking courtyard, and a great plaza. It appears that all the space is much more efficiently organized, which was NOT the case of the old campus. The students must like it too. Just take the student services area, for example. 

Well, I’m tired from the physical work of the afternoon, and the scaling of my teeth that I had done this morning. The scaling was also done in a new and improved way. I had been fearful of the pain I would experience because I had not had scaling done for five years, but the hygienist put a topical anesthetic on the gums, and then used a machine scaling instrument instead of a manual pick, which was way more efficient and comfortable.

I must finish dinner then rest.


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