Well, I'm officially on "leave" as of July 1. And I've been working a lot of "half days" during the past two weeks, so I definitely feel like something's different in my work life. A big part of my summer work now that my summer one teaching is done is working with a team of faculty putting together our bid to gain the Carnegie "Community Engaged Campus" Classification. Quite a process--data gathering, narrative writing, etc. Today several members of the team and I attended a workshop in Lansing to get tips on putting the bid together. Useful. I'm also spending a few days here and there grading placement essays. And of course trying to put two writing projects to bed before the departure (early September). So the work goes on.
I've spent a few weekends in Youngstown. Good to spend time with the family since I'll be missing them next year. My mom and dad are on "vacation" from their pizza-making duties at their church and, to their credit, they've got the wanderlust and are making the drive to Michigan more frequently than they've done in years. Good job guys! Only two weeks until their big 50th anniversary camping trip. My siblings and I, our families, and my folks are all going to a cabin in West Virginia, which pretty much is the kind of thing we've NEVER done, which makes the trip all the more exciting. Should be lots of hiking, swimming, and of course (since we're talking about the DeGenaros here) cooking. Can't wait. Right before that, my nephew Tony's coming up to Detroit for a few days of fun, the centerpiece of which is our second annual Dead Weather show.
And of course the bulk of my time and energy seems to be devoted to Lebanon prep. I read a really good history of the country (The Making of Modern Lebanon) and re-read The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, along with a couple tour books about travel in the region. I have a few more books (mostly history, and some stuff about the nation's place in Middle East politics) checked out of the library and hope to continue on my crash course in all things Lebanon. And I'm listening to a little 'Arabic in 60 Minutes' while at the gym too, hoping to avoid completely embarassing myself when I try to ask for a shawarma sandwich. I have a good lead on a rental in a residential Shi'ite neighborhood about 2 kilometers from the University. Cheaper than Hamra (the built up area along the sea, where AUB is), and we're thinking it might be more interesting not to live on top of the hustle and bustle (and Starbucks!) of the college. I'm told you can walk to campus in fifteen minutes or take a "service" car for less than two bucks. Sounds do-able.