Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Farewell

On Friday, May 1 we held our farewell event for the Bath 2009 Study Abroad program. Arranged by Mari Brookes, who has been wonderful as our English administrator, in formal setting of the Pump Room of the Roman Baths, it was a lovely and emotionally packed evening. Many of us got dressed up, and we began with sparkling wine and beverages from the bar. Dinner was a buffet, featuring chicken breasts, a lovely fish pie, potatoes and veg, a goat cheese tart and salad. There was bread, wine and bottled water on the tables and everything was fresh, tasty and of the best quality.

My colleague Andy Fleck and his wife Barbara put together a great pair of slide shows covering both the sites we’ve seen and the memorable moments we shared. Then Andy and I presented certiifcates to everyone and special commendations for those who will graduate. Finally, we awarded the doorprises, a Diplomat pen I had gotten at the Northern show a week before, and a ride to the coach on Sunday.

When first we promoted the program to students beginning in the fall of 2008, we promised them a life-transforming experience. As of this writing I have not yet read their culminating essays, but I know that for many of them, the semester met and exceeded those expectations.

What I little realised was that the experience would be so transformative for me. I now view things and react to events around me differently than I did six months ago and, as I wrote to the students on Saturday, before our departure:

Just this morning Sharon was noting what a lovely bunch of people you all are and how hono(u)red we have been to know you.

For myself, I just want to tell you all that you have, each and everyone, contributed to the best semester of my long teaching career.

You guys are great, it has been wonderful, and I hope to see everyone at our barbecue scheduled tentatively for the first weekend in August.

Be well, have fun, travel safely.

At this writing, on Monday morning outside London, about half our students are safely home, the remainder are travelling, as we will be for another five weeks.

This truly has been the trip of a lifetime and the adventure continues. Stay tuned. But, first, enjoy with us a most memorable evening.

Andy sets up the powerpoint projector (as the Brits call it) for the slide show later
The room where we ate was a long gallery overlooking the Roman baths themselves
Sarah Christensen, Katie Holmes, Lindsey Huffman( back to us), Bailee Choy, Rob Huffman, Jennifer Do, Megan Hart, and behind her Kristen Carder, Michelle Nguyen, Katie Rouse.
Sarah Michelet, Alyssa Solano, Rickie Bolin, Max Moorman
Aleks Eydelman, Henry Sumpter, Lauren Minkel and Angela Mendoza

Rob Huffman andAshley Longobardy

Me and Mari Brookes, our wonderful and often long-suffering English administrator. Throughout the semester, Mari was the glue that held us together, making arrangements and making sure that everything was in place when and where needed. Well done, Mari!
Jenene Castle and two Katies.
Kristen gets her certificate

Oscar Brookes, Mari's son and right-hand man.
Andy and I explain it all one last time. We made a great team!

It was a great semester and I wish to thank my colleagues Andy Fleck and Mari Brookes, as well as all our students. As their certificates attested,

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