Blogging From Bulgaria
WVU Parkersburg Psychology Professor Dr. Phil McClung is currently in Rousse, Bulgaria meeting with faculty, students and administrators at the University of Rousse to explore development of exchange program possibilities. He offered to blog from Bulgaria as well as try all of the country's cuisine.
Oct. 3, 2008 2:28 a.m.
This is my last entry since I'm headed home tomorrow. After being featured in the newspapers, on local TV, cable TV and national TV, I'm beginning to feel a little feisty (is this the right word, Connie?) so I have a list of demands ... errrr ... expectations ... errr ... requests ... It's clear to me we should have cookies, bread, coffee, tea or soft drinks at every meeting. We should all get picked up every morning before work and then taken home at the end of the day. As we lecture or speak, there should be someone beside us translating every word so if we make a mistake, it's corrected. And there's more we will talk about when I get home. I just noticed beginning with and, and ending with a preposition as well as other errors, and I know this is something the English Department will not put up with; sorry again, Maggie et al.
You will be happy to know I finalized the trades yesterday while meeting with the Rector. The other professors to be included in the multi-player deal are Denise McClung, Rebecca Phillips (by Bulgarian request) and Cindy (she's inactive for a year with her fellowship so I thought this would be a smart move) and you will also be happy to know I struck a very good deal. Additional details will be posted somewhere I'm sure.
I keep being asked about the differences between Bulgaria and WV. Here's what I have NOT told them. (1) Women aren't allowed in the men's bathroom back home. I was visiting the bathroom and a woman walked by ... good thing I didn't turn to face her in my surprise.... (2) We don't kiss each other when we meet, when we get up from the table and when we separate but I have to say I'm beginning to enjoy this one (sorry Denise). (3) We try to stay between the street boundaries and off the sidewalks when we drive and when we park although I'm beginning to like this one too. Traffic rules here are just suggested guidelines. We don't get fabulous fruit, produce and breads on every street corner, I'm liking this one too. Maybe this isn't my final email, Ive just included myself in this trade.
I do have one or two final thoughts. The days were long and the meetings were hard work, everything was signed and approved and I have a number of ideas to share as well as potential programs. There is much to be learned from laughing, crying, sharing stories and experiences and working with people who seem at first glance to have differences. We are sooooooo much more alike than we are different. And we are soooooo lucky in the United States. I think the world needs to settle disputes talking over a meal. This experience is really is eye opening. See you all soon!!!!! I miss Parkersburg.
-- Dr. Phil
Thursday, Oct. , 2008 12:46 AM
Wednesday was another great day. I had meetings with two separate divisions of the Natural Sciences and Education Department and answered questions about our Education division and institution in general. They were very interested in our program including our selection process. I explained our rubric and portfolio. The department head was very interested and wants examples. I did make a good trade for David Lancaster (mentioned yesterday) so perhaps he can detail a similar plan for them when he begins work here. We reviewed the program year by year and class by class to find areas their students can focus on ... whoops, I ended with on ... sorry Maggie. I also collected a number of great ideas in the afternoon as we brainstormed our cooperative venture. I was impressed with all the ideas we developed.
Guess what else we talked about? Faculty load and promotion/evaluation procedures!!! I'll stop right there. Of course we had all kinds of cookies at the meeting I couldn't resist ... and then the evening meal was out of this world. Sevda and Milena took me to a cafe and the food never stopped. We all shared plates of different kinds of incredible tastes as we listened to entertainment from a local but professional band. Have to go, Milena has prepared food.....
-- Dr. Phil
Wednesday - October 1, 2008 1:19 AM
I can't seem to use GroupWise here since Monday. I can read but not send. The first few days have been great. Sunday I met with a number of representatives over lunch and we reviewed past visits and the schedule this week. And we ate great, healthy food.
We were up bright and early Monday morning, ate more great food and made two presentations to student groups. It was the first day of classes for this group and they went to the wrong building/classrooms ... does that sound familiar. Just shows students are students no matter what country.
We then ate some more great food (really good!!) and made another presentation to department heads and administrators. Milena (Popova) gave me a tour of Ruse and its now 7 PM ... guess what we did next? More great food. I'm hoping they don't weigh people and charge for additional baggage ... I can't resist the different tastes and they aren't about to let me.
Yesterday was great again. Two more presentations, one to students and one formal speech to the college community and area. The reaction was overwhelming. I received gifts and a certificate of appreciation. I'm so glad you gave me the materials; I would have been at a great disadvantage without the information from you, Violet and Cindy. I never know what I'm going to be talking about ... but I like it.
Today I meet with the education group to negotiate ... I've already decided to trade David Lancaster and another professor to be named later for one of their professors and food recipes... The kindness and appreciation here are overwhelming ... but I have to go ... it's time for a great breakfast!!!!!!!
Hope all is as it should be at WVUP. Tell Dennis I have more interesting stories when I return.
- Dr. Phil