Well life here has been stressful to say the least. I was having major
problems with the computer. It would shut off on its own and do other
bizarre things. Our friend Fernando, who works for IBM, convinced me I
needed to get a new one. He offered to go shopping with me and get all of
the components and then put it together for me. I had just bought a new hard
drive for the old one, a CD R/W, and a DVD R/W within 4 months of his
proclaiming my computer on the death watch list. We decided to make the leap
of that expense, but when I asked him when we could shop, he said he was
sorry he ever mentioned since I want everything yesterday. I told him to
forget it and I would handle it on my own.
With this, I asked around among my students and one of my T.A.’s has a
brother who works in Information Systems for a company. His brother bought
the parts for me and then assembled the computer. This took about three
weeks longer than estimated and I was fighting with the old computer the
entire time. When he finally finished it and I received it, I needed someone
to put in the Operating System, as well as move my second hard drive, and
the two burners. The guy who put the computer together did not have time to
In the meanwhile, I had ADSL, but decided to switch to cable since everyone
was raving about it. They offered a super fast speed, faster than ADSL along
with a 10 MB website and 5 e-mail addresses. They also have a package where
they can be your phone provider as well as the television cable company.
This inclusive package with a two year contract would be less than my ADSL
alone. It took six weeks for them to show up after the application, but they
did right before the new computer came.
When the guys came out to install the cable for the Internet, they said the
wiring in the building was too old for the computer line, so they would have
to hook it up differently. They saw I had a router and took it. This was
fine, we now have wireless Internet throughout the apt. The problem was that
the new computer did not have a WiFi card. I then had to ask my student to
get his brother to get me a WiFi card for the computer, an additional
My co-teacher has a private student who also works for an Info Sys company
and he came over to move all of the components to the new computer. It took
five hours with all of the problems getting hooked up to the Internet again
to download updates, patches, etc. When he finally finished, the computer
went BLUE screen with an error message. He corrected some program and then
an hour later, it did it again. He worked on something different; the
message was different. All seemed to work well until the next day when the
Blue screen returned with yet another message. The guy came back and spent
three hours changing parameters and making sure it would work. It has since.
But after he left, I realized the two USB ports in the front and the sound
card were not working. I had to get my student’s brother over to fix it or
replace it. He did, they just needed to be turned on with the motherboard.
Then the guy came to change the wiring for the phone to the cable system. He
looked at the Internet wiring and said they did a lousy job. He called the
company and told them they needed to send someone else to redo the whole
thing. The next day, I was at school and another guy from the cable company
came. Ron said he looked at the wiring, said “Jo” (good) and left. He did
not do a thing. When Ron went down to the cable company, they said that
their monitors show our connections are fine and there is nothing wrong.
While all of this is going on, I am trying to correct student papers. They
turn them in over e-mail as attachments. I figured out last semester that I
read and correct 3,940 pages of student writing a semester. This is not
including the four thesis students I have or the other thesis committees I
am on. Amongst all of this, I have six presentations to prepare for Bulgaria
for the first week in May.
In the meanwhile, I have to go to the university’s financial office to tell
them that we now own the flat and they should not be paying the 56,000 Huf
to our former landlady any longer, but it should be coming to us. They said
that this is not part of my salary, so now that I own the flat, they will no
longer pay it. I had to go through a song and a dance through the student I
dragged down there with me to say the business bought it and not me
personally. They still did not want to pay it, but eventually they relented.
However, we now need a special code on our business documents that shows the
business has the right to rent the apt. They also gave me a pile of papers
to fill out and return and I had to bring in the official paper from the
Land Management office showing the business is now the owner.
I called our attorney and asked about this code. It is not on our business
papers, but it can be added for 40,000 Huf. My TA came over and helped me
fill in the papers, I got the paper from the Land Man. office and went back.
They then decided they did not need the paperwork anymore, but now I have to
get a letter of support from the Director of the university stating that she
supports their continuing to pay a portion of my rent even if my business
owns the flat. My department head is in San Diego on a Fulbright, so I have
to find this woman and plead my case myself.
As all of this is going on, Thursday night, a friend calls on my mobile, but
we were watching a movie and I did not answer it. Finally, I called her back
and she was hysterical worried about us. She had tried calling us on the
land phone, but got a message that the phone was disconnected. She was going
to take a taxi here to check on us. The phone was dead and so was the
Ron called the cable company and again they said there was nothing showing
wrong at their end. When he insisted, they said they would come on Monday to
look at it. When he mentioned the router, the guy at the cable company got
furious and said they would never use a router for installing the Internet.
Fortunately, my TA was here when they did use the router and he was here
again when Ron called on Friday. The TA called the cable company, went up to
the router box, unplugged it and plugged in again and everythng worked again
He showed us the wiring they did. Two exposed wires wrapped around each
While all of this is going on these last weeks, Ron had to renew his Visa.
Due to a screw up with mine last year, I do not have to renew until June. He
has had to make mulitiple trips to various agencies collecting papers for
the agency that is charging us 250 Euro each for our Work Permits and 320
Euro each for our Visa. At the same time, we have had B and B guests for the
entire month of April with the exception of five days.
I leave for Bulgaria on May 4th and will be there for six days. I was
supposed to do 5 presentations in Plodviv and one in Sofia at the Bulgarian
IATEFL conference. The woman in Plodviv sent the announcement last night.
She has me booked for 6 in Plodviv. I am doing this whole thing gratis with
only expenses covered by the RELO’s office since he could not afford to pay
With all of this, I am trying to keep up with my Spanish class at the
Spanish Institute, but I may not be able to continue. The teacher is great,
but she is treating us like we have nothing better to do than study. She has
been assigning 6-7 pages of homework on Tuesdays for Thursday class. This is
not simple fill in the blanks, but many times writing a short essay. It is
too much to keep up with when I have to teach and grade papers. She then
lectures me about my motivation. I went from loving it to dreading it. I
will most likely take this course again next semester and hope for the best.
This is my second class there and the last one was much more relaxed.