New Dog, Take II

After the debacle we had with our first second dog, I’m happy to report that things are going great with our second attempt at a second dog. Gilligan is a great boy. He’s about a year and a half old and came from a shelter in Alabama or Arkansas or somewhere in the South, and he hasn’t had a whole lot of training, so he does have a couple of bad habits. He’s still learning what he should and should not put his teeth on. (Should: food, dog toys, Trip– in play of course; Shouldn’t: shoes, furniture, people.) But luckily as far as chewing goes, he’s really only chewed up one of my shoes, and a corner of our ottoman, which was on its last leg anyway. He hasn’t chewed on any other furniture. And while he does still mouth at us in play sometimes, it is clearly in play and he never bites hard enough to break the skin, like Odo did. He also responds to us telling him “No bite!” unlike Odo, who was impossible to control once he started biting.

 Trip has also taken to Gilly a lot more than he ever did with Odo. We’ve had Gilly for about 3 weeks now, and they have been sleeping in a proper dog pile for at least a week– something Trip never did with Odo. By the end of his 3-week stint with us, Trip still only reluctantly got up on the couch if Odo was already there. But Trip seems to have accepted Gilly as part of the pack. 🙂 And how could he not, look at that face!

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Forum Conference in Chicago

Last week I attended the Forum for Education Abroad‘s conference in Chicago. It was good but INTENSE! It was a short conference (Wednesday night through Friday afternoon) so all the usual receptions, meetings, etc were condensed.

I don’t think most people love conferences, and in general I don’t think they are introverts’ favorite things. They’re definitely not my favorite things. But this conference was interesting– I was reading the blog I wrote when I attended the CIEE conference in Philadelphia, and a lot of things were very different this time around.

Some logistical things were different. First of all, since it was in Chicago, several of us roadtripped down there in a minivan. That definitely added to the “E”-time, but it was fine. We were a pretty quiet bunch in the van, actually. Not that I didn’t want to talk to them, but it was nice not to feel like I had to keep up with a conversation for 8 hours. The last time I roadtripped to a conference (in Fargo, ND, a couple of years ago), it was a pretty much an 8-hour conversation, which was fine but tiring.

I also had a roommate this time around. I enjoyed having my own room in Philly, but it was fun having a roomie, too. The few times I’ve roomed with coworkers at conferences or whatnot have been nice, because it does kind of allow me to get to know people on a more individual basis, and I’m more comfortable and apt to open up on those terms. So even though I’ve known the person I roomed with this time around for several years, and have always liked her, I enjoyed the chance to have some more in-depth, one-on-one conversation time.

Aside from those kind of logistical differences, this conference was different simply because I’ve been in the field longer, in a position that allows/necessitates more collaboration with people in other organizations in the field.  I am starting to feel like I know people in the field– I ran into the director of the international office of our partner university in Ireland and got to chatting with her for awhile. I met several people that I’ve worked with over email or phone, but had never met in person. I even lamented the fact that I didn’t run into someone– a colleague from Australia who I knew was going to be at the conference. (I saw her from afar once, but didn’t get a chance to say hello.) And randomly, I ran into a friend from high school! I knew she was in the field, but I didn’t know she was going to be at this conference, so that was really fun!

The conference, content-wise, was fine. A lot of the time at conferences, I feel like a lot of the topics are kind of common sense, but I suppose that comes from having the good fortune to work in an office where we have been able to be on the cutting edge of the field and implement a lot of innovations that are kind of just catching on elsewhere.

The conference was so busy that unfortunately I didn’t get out of the hotel hardly at all, and didn’t really get to enjoy Chicago. I did have a little outing to the Billy Goat Tavern with colleagues from my office, but beyond that I was pretty much in the hotel. I’d have liked to get down to the lake, but oh well. Another time!