Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Assembling the Pieces of a Life Here in Scotland

Entry for 20 September 2006:

It has been rainy, windy and warm here the past two days, as Hurricane Gordon hovers off shore. Umbrellas get turned inside out, if not steered with great care. Last night it was so warm in the house (we have central heat but no thermostat), that when I came home I changed into shorts and a t-shirt.

This week began inauspiciously, as we were first turned down for a credit card by the UK affiliate of our main care in the US, even though they recommended that we apply in the UK and told us it wouldn’t be a problem. On Monday, our office manager announced that even though the Professional Development Unit manager had recommended that my Advanced EFT course be handled within-house, this could not be done because the office staff were too busy. I spent the better part of a day fuming about this, because PDU has significant higher overhead costs, and it means less money for me and for the
Counselling Unit both.

Then on Tuesday I went down to the city centre to get my photo taken for my university ID card, which I need for things like checking books out of the library. This took a good part of the morning, because it takes about 45 min each way. When I got there, I was told that due to a staffing shortage no pictures were being taken that day and that I should come back next week (they only do it once a week). Needless to say, I was pretty cranky when I got back to Jordanhill, and Mick and Lorna got an earful at lunch, and not just about the wasted morning.

However, this turned out to be a turning point, because Mick and Lorna told me that I wasn’t overreacting (“We’ll tell you if we think you’re whining.”) and that something needed to be done about the work situation. They couldn’t help me with the photo, but they did insist that I make time to work at home instead of dragging myself into work everyday, and they told me to hold off on going to PDU to handle my workshop.

Based on this support, I was then able to further the workshop by sending out a mass email myself (thanks to Diane having already typed all the email addresses into the computer) to everyone who had expressed an interest last June. (By this afternoon, I already had 4 people sign up!)

Then we got the printer working, on top of the broadband that started on Monday. Next, this morning I was able to get some significant creative work done on Jutta’s research project at KU Leuven, helping her put together a new interview procedure that combines qualitative interviewing with Gendlin’s Focusing technique. (I hope to have time to write about this tomorrow.) After this, this afternoon, I finally got our relocation expense estimate off to the Personnel Office here, so that we have begin the process of getting reimbursed for some of the estimated US$20,000 that we are out going to be out for various aspects of our move. Finally, tonight we had our first dinner guest: Beth Freire, my Brazilian colleague, who entertained us with stories of growing up and living in Brazil and what it was like for her to move here.

So: although the UK credit card thing is not looking too hopeful (we haven’t lived here long enough), and it does look like it is going to take Diane quite a while to get recertified as a nurse, more pieces of a life here have been added this week, and we are definitely making progress!

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