Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Well tomorrow has been three weeks on the job and I can honestly say it is going very well! Chris and I have established a "new" routine which involves getting up a heck of a lot earlier (Chester - 6:00am every day!) than I ever did in Atlanta and making my lunch most days. Of course the reverse side is that I am a complete zombie by 10:00pm so going out is strictly reserved for weekends. I think we are adjusting well and finally this week I feel like I understand the job and the expectations so that is a great feeling.

A university environment is so different from anything I have worked in before so there are a number of challenges related to working with academic staff and also the unbelievably complicated structure of the school itself. Gioia (my Italian boss) is awesome! She has not had a PA before so I think there are times when she doesn’t quite know what to do with me but we are both learning. She is not only Associate Dean over all postgraduate departments (5) but also teaches 2 modules in the MBA programme and advises 6 PhD students full-time. She chairs 5 University Committees and sits on 8 (I think) Committees or Boards of some kind. Trying to figure out how all of that fits together has stretched my brain so far there are days I go home and can’t even communicate thoughts that make any sense! I also help the PG Assessment Manager (she is under Gioia) as she needs it and this time of year is very hectic because she prepares and sends out all of the exams for the Business PG modules. I have been up to my neck in exams this week and last. Thankfully everything has to be done with the exams by next Monday and we don’t have to do it again until October. I also liaise with another member of staff who handles (among other things) the Accreditations that the school holds. This includes keeping the current ones up to date and working to achieve new accreditations both in Europe, Asia and the US. There is a big US accreditation board (AACSB) that Durham desperately wants to receive accreditation from and after a year long process of meetings and paperwork AACSB is sending a rep over to meet with the school and determine the next step. I mention all of this because I am working on the events for the weekend / weekdays that he will be here which I am very excited about. They are pretty excited abut the fact that I am American and he is too! Needless to say I am very busy!

Chris classes are going extremely well. He is close to finishing up this year as the third term (late-April – mid-June) is pretty much no classes and all paper / music writing. He has a month off from March 17 – April 16 (their equivalent to Spring Break) and will hopefully be able to complete much of his writing for third term then.

We have a new adventure that we are excited about – I have debated mentioning it on here because we are not sure if it will work out or not but I think I will! After talking with a bunch of people and doing some internet research it looks like we could rent a small furnished terrace home (basically a townhouse) for a decent amount less than what we pay for our University apartment. Most of these terrace homes are quite cute and much homier feeling than where we are now (which is actually not the bad now that we have more of our stuff here with us) and of course saving even a little money is always a plus! Here are a couple of pictures of one that I really like even though the possibility of us getting this one is very slim because it is available now and we can’t get out of our apartment contract for another 5 months or so.






Well I better run – I have written this on my lunch break and that is about up and I can see my email inbox getting full! Thanks to everyone who has asked about how we are doing since Christmas and I hope this update will satisfy your curiosity! :)
Love,
A.

4 comments:

Sissy said...

awww I LOVE updates and that was a really good and detailed one! The job sounds wonderful and challenging, something to keep you on your toes! ;) OOo and that is exciting about the possibilities of moving as well!!! So fun!! Keep us posted! Much love!!
Sis

Betsy said...

Thanks for the update. I know I'm one of the culprits that keeps asking. :) It sounds like the job is going to be good, but challenging. I can see you really doing well in this!
It is also exciting about the possible move. That would be really nice for both of you, I'm sure!
Know that you are loved and missed! Take care and send notes any time. Love, Betsy

Cindy said...

I loved this newsy update. Wow.......the job sounds challenging, but if anyone can do it, I know you can. You're awesome. I'm thankful for this new position for you and will be praying that all goes well this weekend. I miss you a lot, too. Tell Chris how excited I am about the BBC guy experience. By the way, I love all the pictures, too. Keep them coming!

You are loved!
Ms. Cindy

Dad and Debbie said...

What a plus you have made to the university. After my conversations with Stuart Harvey, I'm not sure how they ever functioned without you there.
We are very proud of you. What terrific memories you are making and what a wonderful life you both have created. Love each other and stay strong

We love you
Dad and Debbie