Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

As I have been talking with folks about my plans, I often get the question, "Why Romania?"  As corny as it might sound, I wanted to go to Eastern Europe because I believe it to be a place where folks don't take their freedoms for granted.  On this Independence Day I am grateful to live in a country where I have the luxury of taking my freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to move about, etc. for granted.  I have been known to speak out against our government and I am a member of a minority religious denomination that takes to heart the principle of separation of church and state.  Today I choose to reflect on this country - what I like about it and what I don't like - and not be blase' about my ability to criticize, for example.  The time I spent in Hungary in the 90's doing health care consulting allowed me an opportunity to work with people whose memories of oppression were fresh.  I think it is healthy and critical that we Americans give ourselves a chance to see the world via other perspectives.  That is definitely one of the reasons I am going to Romania.
I have not been idle the past month as preparations continue.  I have definitely rented out my house - and this is a cool connection - to a woman from India who is coming to Winston-Salem also on a Fulbright award.  I like that idea of symmetry.  We will overlap here in the states and I will have a chance to get acquainted with her.  So I am still working on packing up personal belongings and deciding what gets stored and what goes with me to Bucharest.  It is nice that the Fulbright Commission spells out that some portion of the funding is for 'relocation' expenses because I am pretty sure I will be going over the weight allowance for luggage.

I have narrowed down travel plans but have not yet locked into purchasing tickets.  I have decided to take daughter Amanda with me when I go and we will take her dog at the same time.  Having them with me limits some of the options for travel, but there are several personal reasons why this makes more sense than an earlier plan to have them come later.

Several of my colleagues at Pfeiffer have provided me with textbooks to send ahead of time.  I think I have a pretty good supply of Organizational Behavior and Communication texts.  My conversations with Diana, my contact at the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration in Bucharest, are definitely tending toward my teaching in those areas principally.  I am also looking forward to discussions and course content in the topic of managing a globally diverse workforce, a topic especially dear to me.

Last week I attended the national conference of SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, in Atlanta, GA.  While there with 13,000 people from all 50 states and from 83 countries!, I picked up a number of new ideas and approaches to teaching.  Some of these I have already started sharing with my summer term classes.  Other material will hold until I get to Romania.  There were two women from Bucharest registered, but I was unable to connect with them, despite a couple of attempts on my part.

Happy 4th of July!  I will be celebrating by watching fireworks this evening.

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