Saturday, April 23, 2005


Greetings, Well life here has been stressful to say the least. I was having major problems with the computer. It would shut off on its own and do other bizarre things. Our friend Fernando, who works for IBM, convinced me I needed to get a new one. He offered to go shopping with me and get all of the components and then put it together for me. I had just bought a new hard drive for the old one, a CD R/W, and a DVD R/W within 4 months of his proclaiming my computer on the death watch list. We decided to make the leap of that expense, but when I asked him when we could shop, he said he was sorry he ever mentioned since I want everything yesterday. I told him to forget it and I would handle it on my own. With this, I asked around among my students and one of my T.A.'s has a brother who works in Information Systems for a company. His brother bought the parts for me and then assembled the computer. This took about three weeks longer than estimated and I was fighting with the old computer the entire time. When he finally finished it and I received it, I needed someone to put in the Operating System, as well as move my second hard drive, and the two burners. The guy who put the computer together did not have time to do that. In the meanwhile, I had ADSL, but decided to switch to cable since everyone was raving about it. They offered a super fast speed, faster than ADSL along with a 10 MB website and 5 e-mail addresses. They also have a package where they can be your phone provider as well as the television cable company. This inclusive package with a two year contract would be less than my ADSL alone. It took six weeks for them to show up after the application, but they did right before the new computer came. When the guys came out to install the cable for the Internet, they said the wiring in the building was too old for the computer line, so they would have to hook it up differently. They saw I had a router and took it. This was fine, we now have wireless Internet throughout the apt. The problem was that the new computer did not have a WiFi card. I then had to ask my student to get his brother to get me a WiFi card for the computer, an additional expense. My co-teacher has a private student who also works for an Info Sys company and he came over to move all of the components to the new computer. It took five hours with all of the problems getting hooked up to the Internet again to download updates, patches, etc. When he finally finished, the computer went BLUE screen with an error message. He corrected some program and then an hour later, it did it again. He worked on something different; the message was different. All seemed to work well until the next day when the Blue screen returned with yet another message. The guy came back and spent three hours changing parameters and making sure it would work. It has since. But after he left, I realized the two USB ports in the front and the sound card were not working. I had to get my student's brother over to fix it or replace it. He did, they just needed to be turned on with the motherboard. Then the guy came to change the wiring for the phone to the cable system. He looked at the Internet wiring and said they did a lousy job. He called the company and told them they needed to send someone else to redo the whole thing. The next day, I was at school and another guy from the cable company came. Ron said he looked at the wiring, said "Jo" (good) and left. He did not do a thing. When Ron went down to the cable company, they said that their monitors show our connections are fine and there is nothing wrong. While all of this is going on, I am trying to correct student papers. They turn them in over e-mail as attachments. I figured out last semester that I read and correct 3,940 pages of student writing a semester. This is not including the four thesis students I have or the other thesis committees I am on. Amongst all of this, I have six presentations to prepare for Bulgaria for the first week in May. In the meanwhile, I have to go to the university's financial office to tell them that we now own the flat and they should not be paying the 56,000 Huf to our former landlady any longer, but it should be coming to us. They said that this is not part of my salary, so now that I own the flat, they will no longer pay it. I had to go through a song and a dance through the student I dragged down there with me to say the business bought it and not me personally. They still did not want to pay it, but eventually they relented. However, we now need a special code on our business documents that shows the business has the right to rent the apt. They also gave me a pile of papers to fill out and return and I had to bring in the official paper from the Land Management office showing the business is now the owner. I called our attorney and asked about this code. It is not on our business papers, but it can be added for 40,000 Huf. My TA came over and helped me fill in the papers, I got the paper from the Land Man. office and went back. They then decided they did not need the paperwork anymore, but now I have to get a letter of support from the Director of the university stating that she supports their continuing to pay a portion of my rent even if my business owns the flat. My department head is in San Diego on a Fulbright, so I have to find this woman and plead my case myself. As all of this is going on, Thursday night, a friend calls on my mobile, but we were watching a movie and I did not answer it. Finally, I called her back and she was hysterical worried about us. She had tried calling us on the land phone, but got a message that the phone was disconnected. She was going to take a taxi here to check on us. The phone was dead and so was the Internet. Ron called the cable company and again they said there was nothing showing wrong at their end. When he insisted, they said they would come on Monday to look at it. When he mentioned the router, the guy at the cable company got furious and said they would never use a router for installing the Internet. Fortunately, my TA was here when they did use the router and he was here again when Ron called on Friday. The TA called the cable company, went up to the router box, unplugged it and plugged in again and everythng worked again He showed us the wiring they did. Two exposed wires wrapped around each other. While all of this is going on these last weeks, Ron had to renew his Visa. Due to a screw up with mine last year, I do not have to renew until June. He has had to make mulitiple trips to various agencies collecting papers for the agency that is charging us 250 Euro each for our Work Permits and 320 Euro each for our Visa. At the same time, we have had B and B guests for the entire month of April with the exception of five days. I leave for Bulgaria on May 4th and will be there for six days. I was supposed to do 5 presentations in Plodviv and one in Sofia at the Bulgarian IATEFL conference. The woman in Plodviv sent the announcement last night. She has me booked for 6 in Plodviv. I am doing this whole thing gratis with only expenses covered by the RELO's office since he could not afford to pay me. With all of this, I am trying to keep up with my Spanish class at the Spanish Institute, but I may not be able to continue. The teacher is great, but she is treating us like we have nothing better to do than study. She has been assigning 6-7 pages of homework on Tuesdays for Thursday class. This is not simple fill in the blanks, but many times writing a short essay. It is too much to keep up with when I have to teach and grade papers. She then lectures me about my motivation. I went from loving it to dreading it. I will most likely take this course again next semester and hope for the best. This is my second class there and the last one was much more relaxed.

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