31 January, 2010

Too much input

In the last 48 hours I've read over 600 pages in coursework. That's not meant as a boast but rather a warning that if you never hear from me again, I've likely read myself into a coma via an aneurysm.

It's fair to say I like a challenge, but more accurate to say I need a challenge. That's true in every facet of my life. I need to rumble. Not saying it's healthy, mind you, just that it's one of the things about myself I've come to understand. If something, somebody, isn't challenging, why bother. Boredom unleashes my Hulk. You won't like me when I'm bored.

This leads me to do things like sign up for five graduate classes, when I'm only required to be in three. On top of a 20-hour a week internship (luckily no teaching assistant position this semester). And then to schedule a three week trip to Egypt and Turkey in the middle of the semester. Why not? Oh, and I've taken up boxing of late, which I've found...soothing.

At the moment, in preparation for my departure, I am cramming about two to three months work for my five classes in to the next four weeks. My goal is to be wheels up with only my Development Economics exam serving as in-flight entertainment on the way to Egypt.

Yes, I did finally connect with E., a member of the Helwan Social Work faculty who worked with our department on an exchange before my time. I'll be attending the 23rd Helwan Social Work Conference and staying in Egypt for nearly two weeks. My department is graciously and generously supporting my trip, believing as I do that it fits well into their desire to internationalize the program. I may have my frustrations with the profession, but my department has always supported me and that's not just blowing smoke. E. has graciously offered to host me in her home, which I am thrilled about. My hope while in Egypt is to sort out some organizations that might be willing to have me intern/volunteer over the summer in some facet of development. With no classes to take at the uni, I would rather spend my time developing professional experience and continuing to work on my Arabic. And Austin just wasn't really quite oppressively hot enough for me last summer. From Cairo I'm stopping in Istanbul for a week on the way home to see old friends and try to connect with the NGO and development sector there, too.

For now, I am nose-to-books/laptop screen, sustained by my joy at returning to my favorite part of the world and finally making it to Egypt.
Uff ya! Back to work....