Autor: brandon

~ 19/03/09


So I guess it has been a while since I have updated this.  To be honest, not much has been going on here since Emily left.  It seems most of the action is taking place in and around Portland now in the lead up to the big day.  School has been going well, and the general mood in the air around campus is much more pleasant than that of last semester.  It seems everyone has pretty well settled in to the new campus, with most problems having been ironed out.

In other news, I had my first visitors (who were not persons I wanted to spend the rest of my life with).  So that was exciting.  My great friend and peer-turned-colleague, Ira, decided to spend spring break here with me and Marti and 18 million Cairenes, along with another good guy, Jamey.  It turns out Ira and I have known each other almost 9 years to the day, having first met when I was a visiting prospective graduate student at Arizona State University, where he was a current graduate student in the department of chemistry!  How did we meet?  Ira was the guy who rode up to our picnic at Papago Park with his wife on the back of his Vespa P200, which sported the largest trunk I had ever seen on a scooter (the largest, that is, until moving to Cairo).  Years would pass by us and thousands of shared miles would pass beneath our 10″ wheels.  At one point, after Ira had graduated and remained on at ASU, I had the pleasure of teaching with him, as the TA for his Chemistry and Society course.  It was with even greater pleasure and honor, then, that I had the opportunity to invite Ira to guest-speak to my own classes and department, here at AUC.  In fact, Ira and Jamey pretty much gave me a day off altogether.  Ira kicked it off by leading a departmental seminar in a conversation on careers in science, which has since inspired a great deal of talk about potential collaboration between our schools and student exchanges.  Next up, Ira and Jamey together successfully presented a talk on science policy making to my Chemistry and Society class, despite the presence of one obnoxious heckler (and my own failure to inform them that humor falls upon deaf ears here; too bad, as the two of them seem to have refined their banter and timing down to pure comedic gold!).  After that, Jamey led my back-to-back Scientific Thinking classes through a talk on the Amish and their consideration for and use of technology.  It turns out that while the days of cowboys-and-indians movies are long gone, foreigners still “learn” a lot about American culture and subcultures through great export films and television series’, such as “Sex Drive”, “My Name is Earl”, and “How I met your Mother”.  Frankly, I was surprised no one named “Kingpin” as a source when Jamey asked the students where their knowledge of the Amish had come from.  In the end, I was quite pleased when my students managed to come up with some thoughtful questions for Jamey, well beyond simply the novelty questions of “do the Amish do this?” or “do the Amish use that?”.  Aside from that, the week was filled with cribbage, dominoes, french fry sandwiches, koshary, Stella, visits to the juice-man and the nut-man, sites I had not yet visited, hissing and tongue clicking, and good times had by all.  Way too many pics below: (more…)

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