The past couple of weeks have been busy busy busy. Part of my job is to work with student housing assignments and applications for the next school year (2010-2011). This is always a fun job when students go to pick their residence hall and roommates. What made this year's process even more fun was the sub-par software program that we piloted this year. After countless emails, error messages and questions, I can safely say that we are heading towards the end of the tunnel, I can see the light! Working with a student population that has a mix of medical students from Cornell, engineering students from Texas A&M and even fashion design students from VCU always makes the job more interesting. Each student feels that his or her degree or program is "more important" or "harder" than the other, so many of the conversations with students about priority for selecting rooms revolves around this issue of "I'm more important". It doesn't help that each school here fosters this thinking with their own students.... this is one of the many challenges that arises from having 6 schools with very unique cultures coming together on one campus.
Education City has been busy this past month. We've had the Vienna Symphony Orchestra perform outside at Education City. I watched from the grassy area across the street because I didn't want to pay the $100+ ticket price. Also, Hillary Clinton visited Education City, during her visit to the middle-east to round up support for new sanctions against Iran. She spoke with students here at campus. I saw her motorcade drive by, which was quite big. Hillary's main message here in the gulf was that the US fears Iran is becoming a military dictatorship and it threatens the region. It will be interesting to see if her visit pays off.
Outside of work, things are going well. I started P90X work-out routine which is a video work-out program that takes 90 days. All I needed to buy was a pull-up bar, two dumbbells and a yoga mat. Right now I'm in what is called "Phase 1" that focuses on burning fat and building muscle. There is a very strict diet on this program but I'm just doing my own diet of eating healthier and less sugar (which is very very hard to do here in Doha). I don't believe in "diets" or "eating plans" because I want whatever I do to be a lifestyle change versus a "phase". My routine is pretty hard but I like it. Sundays are Chest and Back, Mondays are Plyometrics, which is a lot of jumping and squats, Tuesdays are Arms and Shoulders, Wednesdays are Yoga X (VERY HARD!), Thursdays are Legs and Back, Fridays are Kenpo X which is a lot of punching and kicking and Saturday is my rest day! Wish me luck!
Lindsay and I are having a great time. We've been together for a little short of 5 months and I've never been happier. We are busy planning our next two trips together which is looking like a summer trip to Malaysia and fall trip to either Thailand or Switzerland to see U2 her favorite band. Lindsay has been very busy at work too and she is leaving tomorrow to go to Indonesia with a group of students for an alternative spring break trip. The students from Education City will be going to Indonesia to teach high school students basic lessons in art, computer skills etc...
My future outlook is busy. I leave on March 17th to head to ACPA conference in Boston then I fly home for a week to visit my mom, dad, sister and grandparents. I haven't been home for 8 months! I can't wait. One of the first things I plan on doing, after hugging all my family, is to go to Wal-Mart and go CRAZY! I miss some American products and I need to stock up! I will get back into Doha on the 1st of April and the rest of the month will be packed with programs and events around EC. April 8th is a big RHC program called "Sports on the Spine" so I'm sure I'll be busy advising my RHC group as they get closer and closer to that date.
I recently found out that my summer will be quite busy. My good friend Jenna from Westminster College will be flying out on May 25th and will be in Doha with me until June 6th. I'm excited to have her come out and see my work and the country! Jenna departs on the 6th and I plan to follow a few days after to be home for my sister's graduation. I then will fly back to Doha to pick up some students that will be attending a conference with me in San Diego from June 20-24th. This conference is called NACURH which is a huge student organization that I was apart of in my undergraduate career. It means a lot to me to be bringing a group of students to this conference. NACURH was a big part of my life in undergrad and I hope they have a great experience too. From NACURH I will fly directly to Austin, TX for a conference called ACUHO-I (Association of College and University Housing Officers - International). I was selected to present at this conference in a session. I'm very nervous but excited! After I leave Texas, I will arrive back to Doha for a couple of days before heading out to Malaysia, inshallah (who remembers what this means? "God Willing").
So that's a break down of what I've been doing and what I will be doing in the coming months. I'll keep you posted on any changes and of course will do my best to keep posting!