Friday, January 31, 2014

One more week in the office

One of my colleagues said to me today "Cecile, for someone on sabbatical, you sure are in the office a lot." Well, I don't have a home office, and BU is only a 7 minute walk, so here I am. I'll admit I'm in the "How the heck am I going to get everything done?" mode, with just 10 days left, but things will get done, simply because they have to. I've got another paper I'm working on with a professor here, and I want to have a solid draft before I go; I have some housekeeping for another research project that will continue while I'm in Chile (A shout out to my WONDERFUL research assistants, Erin, Kelly and Ciarra!). Other than actual housekeeping as in cleaning my office, that is pretty much it for my university work.

Next week, in addition to tying up loose ends at home, we are also going to make sure Joel has an early birthday party with his friends, the day before I leave. I'll try to remember to post a picture of the pirate ship cake I've been requested to make...wish me luck with that!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hospital Fun

We just got back from 3 hours in the emergency room with Joel. He's fine now, his stomach pain is most likely the result of his second does of the oral typhoid vaccine he took yesterday. About 10 percent of people will get this reaction...we are glad it wasn't appendicitis! So the next step will be to have him get the injection version of the vaccine.

Chile is quite safe as far as this sort of thing goes. The only inoculations recommended (as of this writing) is to get hep A, typhoid, and of course a flu shot. Since hep A is now standard for kids, and we get our flu shots every year, this was a piece of cake-at least until today!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Ah, the joys of packing! I tend to be a minimalist when packing-it is sort of like solving a puzzle for me, figuring out how to take as little as possible. This trip is a little different though, since I have to get ready for 3 seasons, and make sure I have professional attire. Still, my first efforts are promising. It looks like I'll be able to have one carry on for my computer, other electronics and a couple of changes of clothes, and one medium sized checked bag. My goal is to have just what I an handle on my own with ease.

I'm cheating a little though, because when Steve and Joel follow me, they'll be bringing the suitcase of books I need for teaching my children's literature class. It is small, but it weighs 30 pounds! These are the materials I couldn't trust to the diplomatic pouch, which seems to have issues with delivery (see my last post).

For excellent packing tips, check out  Even if you don't want to be this fanatical, the way the blog author packs a bag is worth learning about.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Diplomatic Pouch

It is great that (at this writing, things may change), Fulbrighters to Chile are able to ship books via the pouch. Of course, the two people I know who had a grant (one in Ukraine, one in Chile) did not have good luck with their shipments. The person in Ukraine shipped 4 boxes, and received 2. My friend in Chile shipped 2, and got ZERO. He told me that Fulbright told him there was nothing they could do without a tracking number.

So I shipped two boxes today, via media mail to the State Department, with everything labeled as requested, and got a tracking number. I was very careful to tape things up with, well, gusto. I think one of the problems with this type of shipping is the very rough handling it gets (there is even a caution about this on the shipping directions). So the boxes I sent were almost more tape than cardboard. And while I do want the contents, I did not include any books that I absolutely had to have for teaching. Those, I'm including in my luggage-I will have two suitcases of books as a result, since I'm teaching a children's lit class, and I have to bring all the materials.

We'll see if and when those boxes make it-keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The first winter

Along with two summers, one also has THREE winters (and two falls, but no spring).

The weather report from this morning for Peoria follows. This is not the average here-in fact, the temps (-18 tonight and -9 for a high tomorrow) happen every 20 or 30 years. This is my 10th winter in Peoria, and I've never experienced anything like this in my 51 years, anywhere. Looking forward to my second winter in June and July in Viña!

Friday, January 3, 2014

About this blog

In February of 2013 I was awarded a teaching Fulbright at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile. Naturally, as soon as I stopped shrieking and jumping up and down I started searching online for information-and I really had to dig. There is lots of information about Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, but it tends to be more about tourism. So I thought "Hey, maybe I should try to write about my experiences." Not only would I have a journal to look back on, and a way for my family and friends to keep up with me, but the next Fulbrighter to Valpo and Viña will have just a little more information.

I would also like to include a disclaimer here: what I write here are my own views and experiences, and do not represent the Fulbright Program or the Department of State in any official capacity.