Wry Exchange

Outbound Problems
10-21-08, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Exchange Program, Home, Outbounds Outbounds | Tags:

 Three of our students have problems so far this year.  Oddly enough, all three are in places we’ve never dealt with before.  (New areas within countries we already have exchanges.)  Husband and I didn’t had nothing to do with their placements, and didn’t even realize until recently that two of them were in new places. 

1-Is back in the states.
2-Just left for exchange last week
3-Is going to have to be completely self-sufficient to get through the year.

The first one is mostly the student’s responsibility.  FES absolutely had to be in CapitalCity, not SecondCity.   The person who set up the exchange is new, and has never been to Fesland.  He didn’t know the difference, but others did.  They tried to talk FES out of CapitalCity, but the kid was stubborn.  FES arrived, hated it.  Hated the culture, family, school, second family, poverty, and people.  I don’t have much sympathy for this FES.

The other two students did not request their areas, only their country.  The person who set up their exchanges switched for no reasonto new cities.   Fessia and Fesaly are tough exchanges anyway, and every bit of support will help our students.  The only reason I can think of is “I’m going to change just because I’m not going to do anything the way you do it. I know more.”   Then the person quit youth exchange.   Student 2 had Visa issues, and 3 hasn’t met his counselor yet, or had program contact. 

These kids are hanging.  I don’t have their applications.  I don’t expect any help from our program President. The students have told me their counselor’s names, and Husband and I will begin overseeing them.  We NEVER had problems like this in the past.  Grrr.  Some of these volunteers must dislike kids.  We have a huge responsibility with these students.  We’ll work around the obstacles.


Sarah Palin’s Clothing
10-21-08, 11:09 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags: ,

 The Republican National Committee spent over $150,000 on clothing, makeup, and accessories for Sarah Palin and her family.  They must not have used a personal shopper.  I can’t see a professional stylist choosing that trashy red leather jacket or the black patent hooker boots.  

I want to see outrage from people who donated to the RNC and from the people who yapped about Democrats’ haircuts and clothing.

I Want to be a Foreign Exchange Student
10-19-08, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Exchange Program, Outbounds Outbounds

  I enjoy helping students make their dreams come true.  The more knowledge you have now, the more informed choices you’ll make to ensure your success next year.  This is the time of year students begin the process for next year.   Most students go out in August, and are chosen by the end of December.  Each program varies, so check deadlines.  It doesn’t hurt to call to ask for an extension if you miss the application deadline.  Your first steps are deciding why, which one, and where.

Examine your motives.  Why do you want to be an exchange student?  What do you hope to get out of your year abroad?  Are you running away from a bad situation at home or school?  Do you want a ‘gap year’ before college?   There isn’t a right or wrong answer, but you will be asked.  I don’t care why you want to go out, but I want to know why.  Your reasons will help us understand you.  

I wrote last year about choosing an exchange program.  Choose the program that’s right for you.  Facebook has many exchange student groups.  Ask current and former students if they liked their program.  Go to Cultures Shocked for information from exchange students.  My program is a true exchange program-a student comes here for each student we send there.  Some programs aren’t set up to be one-for-one exchanges, they’re typically more expensive.   We’re all volunteers, some programs pay or offer incentives to their adult volunteers.

I also wrote about country selections.  About half of potential students tell us they want to go to Australia, New Zealand, England, or Ireland.  To us, it means you’re scared to learn a new language.  Be fearless!  You can learn a new language.  We have a tough time finding exchanges with English speaking countries.   I hope that changes with a new president.  Don’t go to a country because “they have lots of culture,” “my teacher says it’s the best country,” or “it looked cool in a movie.”  Every country has pros and cons.

Watch What You Ask For
10-18-08, 11:29 pm
Filed under: Exchange Program, Outbounds Outbounds | Tags: ,

 I complained earlier this week about my exchange program.   Many of our concerns were answered with “Oh,” “uh-huh,” and “I’ll look into it.”  Yikes.  Um, I thought you wrote the report.  I’m not certain now.

We do have a new outbound student coordinator.  Me.  Anyone surprised?   I think it killed a bit of our Chairman’s soul to appoint me to the position.  I wasn’t going to ask for it.  Again.  

I set up outgoing student interviews the next day.  I’m gathering interviewers, and trying to squish three months of preparation into four weeks.   It’s a bit of a challenge because the Chairman won’t help me by giving me contact information on our current students abroad, or our volunteer counselors.  He’ll quietly screw me as much as possible.   This program has always put the students first, so I don’t understand why someone with different goals is part of student exchange.   I like a challenge.  I know I can pull it off despite the faux obstacles.

Granpa Munster
10-16-08, 6:03 pm
Filed under: Home | Tags: ,

 Reuters photo by Jim Bourg.

I will never vote for someone who puts “women’s health” in air quotes.  Bite me, old man.

We’re Imploding
10-15-08, 12:29 am
Filed under: Exchange Program | Tags: ,

 We will have a meeting this week for the first time in six months.  Six months.  In a program that deals with teenagers coming and going overseas.  This program is held together with duct tape and dental floss.  I think we’ve used up all residual good will from people in the last 2 years. 

  • We dropped out of CSIET without discussion or a vote.  
  • We’ve lost the members who take care of Fesgium, Fessia, Feserlands, Fence, and Fitaly.  We have students to and from all of those countries.
  • We don’t have anyone in charge of our students abroad.  What’s worse, no one told the students the previous person resigned.  I try to keep up with as many of them as possible to help.
  • We don’t have an 08-09 budget yet.
  • The members don’t have the 07-08 final treasurer’s report yet.
  • A few people tried to terminate a student secretly.  Thank dog we were able to stop it.
  • Interviews for the new outbound students should be next month.  No one has done any recruiting.  We don’t have an interview date, time, or location.   We don’t have an Outbound Student Chairman.
  • We have missing money, probably not with evil intentions, more like lazy and clueless.
  • We don’t communicate.  Everything used to be transparent, and everyone was up-to-date.  Now, it’s all ‘need to know’ and only 3 or 4 people know.
  • We have a person who doesn’t understand the “appearance of impropriety” is to be avoided.

Doesn’t this seem like it’s going to involve a foodfight?  I better get something fun out of this damn meeting.  The last Outbound person announced his resignation in January.  I asked for the position then. (I’ve done it before.)  Nope.  The prez doesn’t like me.  10 months later, and he still can’t find someone else to do it.  Ninny.  Give me free rein, and I’ll whip this back into shape quickly.  It’s appalling, sad, and embarassing how they’ve turned this jewel of an exchange program into a piece of mud.

The program is salvageable, we just have to last until the end of this fiscal year.   The kids are fine, most of them don’t know we’re in a completely unnecessary mess.  The kids just know the adults aren’t very friendly with each other.

I’m feeling better.  I know it’s not a smooth climb, but I blame myself when I go downhill.  Meh.

Depression, Lower Doses, & the Economy
10-12-08, 3:35 pm
Filed under: Depression, Home | Tags:
I’m not doing as well as I had been in the Summer.  I always do better with my depression in Summertime.  My Psychiatrist and I gradually lowered my Effexor from 150mg to 75mg.  Zoloft has stayed the same, 100mg.  Effexor daily dosages go from 75-375mg.  Well, somewhere the plan went wrong. 
In the last 2 weeks, I’ve gradually noticed I have problems.  That probably means it’s been about a month. 
I haven’t been eating breakfast, and just grab a piece of fruit or cheese for lunch.  I take my meds with food in the morning.  So some days I forget to take them, or don’t take them until evening.  You can’t do that with Effexor, it gives me noticable physical differences, so imagine what it’s doing to my head.    I’ve also been skipping doses trying to make the prescriptions last longer, because they’re expensive.  (Stupid, because $30.00 isn’t that expensive, but it shows my rationalizations.)
I admitted to myself yesterday something has to change.  I’ve been trying to hide it from Husband.  Unsuccessfully, I imagine.   He chided me (gently) about something today.  It was the final shove I needed.
 I didn’t brush my teeth until Husband came home from work yesterday.  (It’s like I get a shower, but brushing my teeth is just too much.)  Earlier in the week, I shaved one underarm because it was too hard to shave both the same day.  I’ve washed the same load of clothes every day for the last week.  I start the washing machine, but it’s too much to go down and switch the clothes to the dryer.  I’ve been sleeping most of the day.  It’s really hard to stay awake.  I’ve been working on Halloween decorating for over a week.  I love kids telling us we have the best decorations in the neighborhood.  I never did go back to Curves after signing up almost 3 weeks ago.  The dishes have been piling up. 
Now I’ve admitted to myself I haven’t been taking care of myself.  I did all the dishes.  I washed BadLab.  I finally got the clothes in the dryer.  I’m calling the Psych in the morning about going back to my previous dosage.  I’ll quit skipping my meds.  It’s going to take a few weeks to get back up there, but I’m going to start trying now.
I mean really, shaving one armpit?
EDIT: It started after our week at brainwashing school.  My self esteem plummeted, and that’s when I started playing with my meds.