Ohhh tell me something new...

Last summer was insane. Really, I don't remember having much fun in London except for a few times:
  1. A very late night/early morning return during a weekend which went from dancing with some Indian dude wearing a shirt that read on the front: "I'm that guy" and on the back: "You're that girl" - to dancing and singing in the street with some street musician playing Wonderwall - to sitting on some steps on the strand side of Waterloo eating 4am McDonald's...mmmmm, lovin' it!*
  2. Meeting up with Karen and Dewi at Giraffe for dinner and buying my first pair of Liz's husband Leo's silver earrings off Karen.
  3. Writing about all the antics that went on around this place...
What antics from last year? They're all a blur now, but James did a good job of reminding me before I landed, I think he's missing being here for it all this summer: the professor that went home, three students that went home, the remodeling of a shower in the dorm, the vibrating room...the list goes on.

Let's talk about this year...


Pre-departure we discovered a student's passport expired in 2009. "Hello, student, your passport expired in 2009, you won't be able to participate on the program unless you renew your passport."

Student: "I thought that passports are good for life"

Office: "Right, well, but it has an expiration date written on the photo page, doesn't it? So it's like milk, after a certain date it goes bad, and it's written on the carton so people don't consume it after that date..."


It's 2:30am, there's a pounding at my door. Jordan? No, she would just walk in...the knocking only grows louder. I take out my earplugs and look at my phone. Two missed calls. "COME IN" I shout, and "Sally" enters, "'Brenda" has dislocated her kneecap!" she exclaims.

...What? Who? What?

"Brenda has dislocated her kneecap, she fell down the stairs on her way back from a McDonald's run, and I think it's pretty bad...you have to come see."

"Okay let me put some clothes on and I'll be right out...what room number?"

On the way upstairs I'm googling 'dislocated knee cap' and the images I'm receiving are brutal-looking. This student is going to have to go to the hospital if their knee looks anything like what I'm seeing on WebMD.

In Brenda's room, she is on the bed, clearly in pain but I'm not getting a good reading of how much. That knee cap is certainly still in place by the looks of it.

I ask Brenda, "Can you bend your leg? can you move it at all? what happened? do you need to go to the hospital?"

[confused, scared, blank stares]

Sally says, "We tried to call Professor A (whose uni they are from) but he didn't answer. Let's call that tall man! The one who teaches sports! He's a doctor, isn't he?"

Yeah...not the same kind of doctor...we're not calling him at 3am.

I'm finally awake and have decided this knee cap has to be strained but it's certainly not dislocated, so I say, "okay, Brenda, you have to speak to me and tell me what you need and how I can help. Do you want to go to the hospital?"

Brenda says, "no!"

"Well do you want to go in the morning?"

Brenda says, "no!"

"Okay. So, it's 3am, you don't want to seek medical assistance, I think that's a fair decision because it looks like you've just badly bruised your kneecap...sooooo, what is it you need from me that can't wait until the morning?"

I didn't really say that, actually, I was very kind because I know Brenda was shocked and scared, and really it was Sally who decided to come and get me, I still don't understand how she got in to my flat after I missed the phone calls....

A few nights later Brenda called me at 3am, "do you have anything that will help me sleep?" Turns out Sally had given her something to help her sleep the night before, and Sally wasn't responding so she called me..."yes, I have some dramamine for travel sickness that might relax you, I'll be right up".

Just another day on the job.


Student: I need a linen change.

Me: Okay, I can schedule you for one, but can it not wait until the regularly scheduled change? In a few days?

Student: No, I sort of wet the bed.

Me: Hmmm? What do you mean by 'sort of'?

Student: I got really drunk last night and wet the bed.

Me: Believe it or not this isn't the first time this has happened on this program, I'll schedule you for a linen change, you might be responsible for any damages made to the mattress.

Student: Okay, thank you.

Note: there is a laundry facility located in the building. There is no way in hell I would have admitted to something like that, I would have washed my sheets and acted as if nothing had ever happened. But that's me.


After the official welcome in the chapel across the bridge, there's always a cocktail style finger-food reception. I'm standing at the veggie-hummous table enjoying some broccoli and 'Miss Congeniality' strolls up, "where can I sit?"

"Hmmm? Oh it's a cocktail reception, so just stand and mingle."

Then I see her plate piled up with appetizers, clearly her meal for the evening, she wants to sit down and get serious with this food.

"Soooo, there aren't any seats at all?" she asks. Clearly she can take a look around herself and answer this question, but surprisingly students these days tend to think less and less for themselves, they are always looking for the answer from someone else and in this study-abroad program's case, those answers must come from your's truly...

"I am not sure, take a look around, if you find a seat, have at it, enjoy the evening."

'Miss Congeniality' has an amazing attitude about her, really it's quite impressive, and she says, "well I see some seats over there, can I sit in those?"



This is really just a general point: students today don't read anything.

I've been told I am one of the best at making a sarcastic point with such a smile and sweetness to me that I am able to get away with more than most impatient people. I am unaware of when I'm doing this, but I do like to make a point, especially after I've worked so hard to get fool-proof information across. And when I say "fool-proof" I mean that I will literally have students proof my "notices" before I post them to ensure I've answered every possible question anyone could think of.

I know that I can be a smart ass when it comes to a question I have already provided the answer to. So when a students asks me a question they clearly have not taken the responsibility to answer themselves, it ignites a fire in me. Think of it as an opportunity to help someone learn a valuable lesson: READ PEOPLE!

For example, we post announcements on the bulletin boards in the breezeway - anyone who enters or exits the building must pass by these boards - and if there is something more detailed to share, we post notices on every flat door to ensure students receive the most up to date information.

It really gets under my skin when a student comes in with a question, that is thoroughly answered on the notice posted to their flat door days ago. So my initial response to their question is, "have you had a chance to read the notice on your flat door?" The student's response is always, "yes, I read it."

Oh is that so? Alright, well let's take another look at it together, shall we? And I will read aloud the very clear answer to their inquiry and then ask, "so tell me again, what is your question?" Works every time.

Sure, sometime I come across as a not-so-nice-word, but I'm trying to teach some life lessons here people, be responsible for yourself!


Much of my job responsibility is the daily management of decisions that have already been made. In some cases I get to make the decisions, but on the highest level I purely manage the decisions that others make, which I feel I am quite good at, even when I don't always agree with the decision. So, I thoroughly appreciate when a student has the audacity to look at me in a ridiculous manner and say, "well that's lame" about a program policy or decision that has been made that I clearly have little-to-no control over.

Thanks, I appreciate your point of view, sorry you feel that way.

That's it, that's all I can muster for now...and the sun has finally come out, I must go outside!

PS - must I mention that the names of the "real" people above have been changed to protect the guilty? Yes, I must mention that.

*For a better idea of point 1 at the top of the list for "fun" from last year, check out minute 3:24 at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/user/SirSeef#p/a/u/2/O6WxZ9bNvDY

1 comment:

  1. ok, NOT jealous of those moments either...grin.

    Love you!