Posts Tagged ‘mail’
- In: Mid-Term Report
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These past two months have gone by rather quickly. My sabbatical is half over. Our Lady of the Lake University students have been taking their mid-term exams and are on a fall break today and tomorrow. So, this seems like a good time to review the goals of my sabbatical leave and assess my progress thus far.
As this is my first sabbatical, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Sabbatical experiences differ greatly and my sabbatical project is a unique one. The purpose of my sabbatical is to learn about counseling issues and strategies for working with the Hispanic/Latino population and to improve my speaking ability with the Spanish language. The primary manner in which I am doing this is by taking two graduate-level psychology courses that are part of OLLU’s Psychological Services for Spanish Speaking Populations (PSSSP) certificate program. A supplemental activity that I added one month into the semester is weekly Spanish lessons at SEFLA that I spoke about in a previous post.
My lecture class, Language and Psychosocial Variables in Interviews and Assessments with Latinos, is informative and engaging. Our two textbooks provide lots of data about Hispanics/Latinos and special concerns affecting this population (for example, immigration issues and cultural values) and how these issues affect the counseling process. Classroom Professor sparks interesting discussions and shares her related personal and professional experiences and encourages the class to share theirs. By doing the assigned journal entries (see #1, #2, and #3), I have been able to reflect on these issues and more clearly connect the readings to my own experiences. Furthermore, these journal entries have allowed me to practice my writing skills in Spanish. The class is currently working on case studies which we will role play in groups at our next class meeting on Monday. I expect that this activity will be very educational.
My practicum is a clinic placement at Community Counseling Service. I am a member of the Tuesday Spanish Team. This team consists of six therapists-in-training, two observers (including myself), and Clinic Team Supervisor. Therapy sessions are conducted primarily in Spanish (sometimes the younger family members — the children — prefer English, so there may be a switching of languages during the session as all of the therapists and Clinic Team Supervisor are bilingual). The cases are interesting and reflect a variety of common counseling issues. The live supervision format (reflecting team) is a great teaching tool. Although I don’t understand everything that is said, I get the main points and offer comments and support to the students on our “star team”. This is a name we have given ourselves. The team has bonded very well and the therapists-in-training have shown great clinical skill, a testament to their OLLU training. Clinic Team Supervisor has a relaxed and supportive style which makes the learning environment comfortable and enjoyable. At this week’s clinic meeting, prior to our client’s arrival we had our mid-semester reviews/check-ins (one-on-one meetings between each student and Clinic Team Supervisor followed by a sentimental group check-in with the entire team). Everyone seems very pleased with the way things are going. The team members complimented me on my participation and choice to spend my sabbatical leave at OLLU. I really like this Spanish Clinic Team and the clients whom we are serving.
Elvia, my private language teacher at SEFLA, is doing a great job of engaging me in Spanish conversation. We have had open discussions about a variety of topics, reviewed some grammar (preterite and imperfect verb tenses), reviewed exercises that I completed in the workbook, and played fun educational games (hangman and a guess-the-person-that-I-am-describing game). At my request, we spent half of one lesson working on the language for my role play for Classroom Professor’s class. I’m enjoying these extra lessons with Elvia. She’s knowledgeable and fun. Elvia likes working with me; she said that I am “a joy to teach”. We’ve already completed four of our ten scheduled meetings. She has invited me to her home so I’ll probably be visiting her soon.
One difficulty I’m having is doing my assignments without the aid of my Spanish reference books. My parcel post package of books (which I mailed two months ago) never arrived. The box was damaged in transit and its contents spilled out. I’ve been working with my postmaster to try to recover these missing mail items from the Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia and will probably file a claim for monetary reimbursement (the missing box was insured for $200). I miss having my Spanish dictionary (I’ve been using Yahoo’s Babel Fish to look up words), verb conjugation book, and medical Spanish guide for psychologists. Yesterday, I finally gave in and ordered duplicates of these books from Amazon.com so the remainder of the semester should go more smoothly once I have my trusted language tools.
I’m looking forward to attending my first National Latina/o Psychological Association conference next month in San Antonio. It will be wonderful to hear many of the Latino-themed sessions, learn about current research in the field, and meet my fellow colleagues (in fact, one of my fellow interns from our University of California – Santa Barbara days will be one of the presenters). OLLU, one of the NLPA conference co-sponsors, will be hosting special events – a reception, student poster session, and a reading — as well. This should be a very good experience.
Part of the reason for having this blog is to share some useful resources with my readers. Regarding issues of Hispanic/Latino culture, I have posted a few educational items. Check these out:
Overall, I’m making very good progress towards my sabbatical goals. I’m learning a lot and enjoying my time in San Antonio, Texas.
- In: Preparation
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The big move is less than two weeks away so things are really hectic right now. This has been a busy week. There are many details that need my attention. At the beginning of the summer my university office was readied for my temporary replacement. Earlier this week I put my car in the repair shop (it was rearended by a school bus while I was sitting in the toll lane at the Triboro Bridge in New York City), made a hair appointment, and purchased a plane ticket to San Antonio. I also began saying goodbye to friends and relatives. Next week I will begin packing.
Here are some things to consider when moving:
I have a good, but picky/restrictive, HMO plan that will only cover urgent and emergency care for the use of doctors and hospitals out of their network. So, I’m still trying to get approval from them in order to continue payments for my allergy shots while I’m in Texas. (Newsflash: As I was writing this blog post, one of the health plan nurses called to say that the Medical Director gave his approval. Yippee!) Fortunately, my vision and dental plans are more flexible so even though I am a little behind in my check-ups I can get eye and tooth care in Texas if needed. Earlier in the year I had my annual physical exam and associated tests and all is well. Despite some minor medical issues, I’m a relatively healthy middle-aged woman.
- Cell Phone
I’m not a gadget geek and did not get a cell phone until this past weekend. I have a land line phone here and will have one in my Texas apartment. So, what caused me to go to Walmart on Saturday and buy a prepaid TracFone? Well, three days prior when I was driving back home from New York in the afternoon, I got a flat tire on Interstate 80 West and my spare tire was not operational. I was 50 miles from home and didn’t have a cell phone so I needed to rely on the good nature of fellow drivers. Once I pulled over, put my hazard lights on, and put my “Call Police” banner in the window, I didn’t think it would take long to get help. I was wrong. It took two hours before a nice gentleman stopped and allowed me to call AAA from his cell phone in order to get towed home. (Note to self: Upgrade AAA coverage so that towing costs are covered for more than three miles). Lesson learned. So, I now have a cell phone for travel emergencies. My family and friends no longer have to worry about me out on the road.
I had planned to have the post office hold my mail during my absence. Since the “hold” lasts for only 30 days that would mean that I would need to return home periodically to collect my mail and issue a new “hold” request. The regular free forwarding of mail wouldn’t work for me since only first-class mail is forwarded and I get several magazines and bulk mail items that I don’t want to lose. (Given my short stay in Texas, a temporary “change of address” wouldn’t be very practical.) Neighbors have offered to collect my mail for me but I didn’t want to impose. However, thanks to an online writers’ forum to which I belong, I think I’ve found a solution to my problem. The United States Postal Service offers a Premium Forwarding Service for a fee ($15 enrollment fee plus $13.95 per week for re-shipping mail) whereby all mail is forwarded on a weekly basis via Priority Mail. They say, “It’s like taking your mailbox with you!” I hadn’t heard of this service before but the freelance writer who has used it for the past three years has found it to be wonderful. This service is convenient and would be cheaper for me than making multiple trips back to deal with my mail. So glad I learned of this USPS Premium Forwarding Service.
- Car Shipping
I certainly got an education in this area as I previously had no idea how the auto transport industry worked. Essentially, it’s a broker business where car pick-ups are made by referral based on prices posted on a national dispatch board. The truck drivers select the cars they wish to pick up based on dates, routes, and prices they will be paid. If you bid too low, your car may never get picked up so it’s better to offer a fair price that is consistent with industry standards. Broker competition for clients is keen — they want your business and their commission. On Tuesday, I read a couple of online articles about car shipping and then did a Google search for companies. I made inquiries via e-mail and requested quotes. For the next two days I was inundated with over 50 e-mails (I read all of them) and 10 telephone calls from brokers, a few of whom reminded me of car salesmen when pitching their service. I did my research and selected my top companies based on reputation, quality, and price. Of primary concern to me was their Better Business Bureau rating. Then I looked at customer reviews on www.transportreviews.com (be careful with this website as some of the customers were paid for their reviews; this would explain the great number of 5-star ratings). Ultimately, I chose a company that is Better Business Bureau member with an “A” rating and has excellent customer reviews. I placed my order yesterday and arranged for pick-up of my 1999 Toyota Corolla in 1-1/2 weeks. So relieved that this major headache of a task is nearly done.
I’ve been budgeting for this move for over a year. I had to determine my expenses and figure out how to do my banking in Texas (I prefer not to do online banking and bill paying). Bills will need to be paid, and extra money will be needed for food, gas, textbooks, and miscellaneous purchases. I made a couple of money transfers between my banks so that I can rely on one main bank account while in Texas; I’ll also have to open up a local bank account as well once I am there. In addition, I will have my two major credit cards with me. Access to money is important, and having more than one access route is smart.
As you can see, there are many things that need to be taken care of prior to your move. These will vary depending on your situation (e.g., job, location, family, length of time away, etc.). Two books that really helped me and that I highly recommend are:
- (1) Six Months Off: How to Plan, Negotiate, and Take the Break You Need Without Burning Bridges or Going Broke by Hope Dlugozima, James Scott, and David Sharp (Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1996)
- (2) Sabbaticals 101: A Practical Guide for Academics & Their Families by Nancy Matthews (New Forums Press, Inc., 2008)
Gotta go take care of more details now.