13 October, 2011

Repeat After Me...

I do solemnly swear
That while Bill's over there

The interns will turn in that missing questionnaire
Jack will return a multimillionaire
The director's office will be cleaned with care
The Paris hostel will say "Laissez faire!"
The Irish Lit class won't read Jane Eyre (or Voltaire)
Cris will look at a map and say, "I've been there!"
Tori and Grace will know how to pay bus fare
The tech and design students will engineer a Kangaroo-Bear
City As Text won't just sit in front of Sakai and stare
No one will pull Sara G's hair
Someone will catch the Hammersmith mouse in a snare
Sarah will sneak off on a flight by Icelandair
And the rest of the ICLC won't be in Rio de Janeir.........


11 October, 2011

Different Atmosphere at Coffee Talk

As many people on this side and that side of the pond know, Bill is in Ithaca this week.  His reasons are two-fold.  1. He is leading orientation for next spring's students.  2. He is there for Fall Splash to start celebrating the ICLC's 40th anniversary ("Elsie, you're 40?  I never would have guessed! You don't look your age." "Thanks, my trick for looking young is staying out of the sun." "No, I meant you look like a century old building.  Sort yourself out.")

As tradition dictates, as well as going to meetings and working and that kind of thing, Bill's also going to a special Coffee Talk in Ithaca to visit with alums and eat imported Hobnobs.  We in London don't begrudge Bill "extramural" Coffee Talks, but I'm just saying, it's not going unnoticed.

Here's the reaction I got when I told the current ICLC students that Bill wouldn't be having Coffee Talk here this week:
Dismay? Shock? Horror? Fear?  All of the above.

Sara and Mandy were close to tears.  They held it together in the end, though.  ICLC students are made of tough stuff.

"What?  Bill's not at Coffee Talk? Then I won't go either."

06 October, 2011

Mr Muscle and Ms Marketing

It is rare that the ICLC staff draws attention to the endeavour, initiative and commitment of its working students, the ones without whom we could not operate the programme and keep the building open.

But the week beginning September 26th brought two students to the fore, Cris Ramirez, Mr Muscle, and Melissa Frisco, Ms Marketing, who, I am convinced, could sell anything to anyone, including membership in the Democratic Party to the now non-presidential candidate in 2012, Sarah Palin.

Cris set up the Common Room for the AASAP [American Association of Study Abroad Programmes] conference on Wednesday last.  This involved physical tasks like moving chairs [6 at a time] into the common room and the heavy wooden table from the corner of the room into the hall. He also fixed the newspaper rack and restored them to their original positions after the meeting without prompting! He merits at least three chocolate hobnobs at the next Coffee Talk.

Meanwhile, Melissa volunteered to partner the Director for 8.5 hours at the Fulbright Commission’s annual ‘London College Day’ on Saturday October 1st at Kensington Town Hall. Merely being with the Director for that length of time merits a distinction. College Day involved her in wooing High School and Sixth Form students [and their parents] to choose Ithaca College as their university destination. She excelled in her role, out-Harvarding Harvard and out-Princetoning Princeton, and wiping the floor with Cornell who weren’t even there, possibly because they knew Melissa would be there, and east hill would never outshine south hill in her presence.

Claire, meanwhile, lost out when she spilled her yogurt on to her knitting needle which then nosedived into her printer, jamming it in the middle of a print job for Dr Kidd, whose students thereby missed the starting point of their Wednesday walk. On the Stratford trip, she further blotted her copy book by suggesting that her line manager was ‘prone to mischief’. Sarah betrayed the ICLC’s official sports neutrality policy by openly wearing her Welsh RFU scarf during the hottest week of the year on the feeble excuse that she was cold; this flaunting of her Welshness was deeply offensive at a time when Canada still had a chance to progress if they beat the New Zealand All blacks by more than 30 points. Heather too displayed her irreverence for her adopted country by travelling to France, who just happen to be England’s quarter final opponents this Saturday, and for forgetting item two in the staff code of conduct, that is, birthdays must be celebrated with chocolate cake.  And for the 315th week running, Bill was disqualified for failing to keep his office tidy and leaving the digestives out for the mice to nibble on.

Three cheers for two of our six work study students, Mr Muscle & Ms Marketing.

Ms Marketing, looking for someone to sell the Roman Baths to

Mr Muscle (far right), back when he only merited 2 chocolate hobnobs at Coffee Talk

04 October, 2011

Knit 1, Purl 1- For A Good Cause

I know that London was surprisingly toasty this weekend, but that anomaly aside, autumn is upon us.  There's nothing like the feeling of walking around in flip-flops and getting fallen leaves in your toes.  Nothing like it at all.

But now it's actually getting colder.  I'm not saying that to be the party-pooper in the room, it's just the way of the world.  And while many of us go home to our warm flats, not everyone does.  We did this a couple years ago, and again the ICLC is making a blanket to donate to a local homeless shelter.  There's no particular pattern, all we ask is that you knit 8" squares.  We have yarn that can be picked up in the front office, in shades of brown and beige, or you're more than welcome to use yarn and needles of your own choosing to add variety to the blanket. 
This year's color selection!
Here are a few thoughts to keep you going:
  • Whose fall break is complete without a bit of knitting?
  • Guys, knitting can be worked into any pickup line.  Try it.
  • Last time the ICLC made a blanket Bill put Digestives out to eat while we sewed it all together.
  • It feels really good to do something nice for strangers.
And finally, here's what our last blanket looked like!
Our blanket started out looking like a lot of pot holders.

I don't know if we could have finished without Digestives for energy!

Trimming the last bits off the finished blanket!

We'll sew this year's blanket together in November, sometime after break week!


03 October, 2011

Who Knows What Today Is?

On March 1st Sarah and I make Welsh cakes (not a far cry from fried cookies) and scones.  On July 1st I gave Bill a cake with a moose and a maple leaf on it.  On July 4th Heather and I took the day off work. That's how the staff of the London Center celebrated our primary national holidays so far this year.  Secondary national holidays haven't fared quite so well.  April 23rd went by with little notice, as did April 30th.  I will not let October 3rd befall the same fate today.

I had a few ideas for celebrating German Reunification Day.  I thought about making an apple strudel and bringing it to work, but by 9pm last night I knew that wouldn't happen.  Then I thought I would take a more subtle approach, but Birkenstocks don't go with the rest of what I'm wearing today.  I've got people speaking German in the background of my office, but alas, that's because it's an Austrian radio station.

I did a bit of research yesterday.  I had sausage and chips for lunch, I heard some classic Bavarian music and of course saw some men wearing lederhosen.  Today I phoned a German friend of mine.  It was a last resort, but I figured he's from East Germany, he remembers the wall coming down, he remembers the old East German marks (that I think might have been made from tin, they were so debased and lightweight!) and his accent is exactly what you would expect from a native German.  And do you know what he said?  He said it's a bank holiday in Germany any you can do whatever you want. 

So here's how I'm celebrating German Reunification Day: I've spoken a little German and I've eaten a cupcake.  The banks may all be open in London today, but at least I remembered what day it is today. 

How are you celebrating?