Mon Aug 10 15:00:03 EDT 1998

5 weeks of packing and sorting and cleaning ends with 10 boxes, 2
bags, and a bird. I'm writing from the lounge at JFK airport. It
didn't always look possible, but consolidating our possessions and
packing for at least a year got easier over the last few days as we
winnowed out just what we were taking with us. Beyond the obvious
clothing, it's interesting to see what items become important
enough to ship 5,000 miles. Photographs, CDs, miscellaneous office
toys all made the cut.

Wed Aug 12 15:33:16 EDT 1998

First impressions:

	Flights were smooth and on-time, in-flight services were
	good. Customs was very easy, a token check of bags. You could
	say that our Turkish experience really began with the porter at
	the airport. After 5 or  6 men rapidly helped move our 10 boxes
	and 2 bags from the luggage carousel to the customs counter,
	then to the curb, about 75 feet, I wanted to tip them. I turned
	to the people from our school who were there to meet us and asked
	for advice. I settled on 1,000,000 (yes, you read that correctly)
	Lira. After much agitated discussion, one of the porters produced
	a sign stating the charge for moving cargo--300,000 per item. This
	resulted in more conversation between the porters and the school
	reps., culminating in about a 3,000,000 "tip".

Getting settled:
	It's a nice, quite spacious apartment. It's a fifth floor walkup,
	but the views from the two balconies--to the East across campus,
	and to the North, with the lights of Ankara glowing across the
	hillside every evening--almost compensate.  The furniture and
	fittings are Ikea-dorm style, and the apartment is minimally
	equipped. There are two of us, so there are four forks, four
	cups, etc.

	The physical terrain looks like Colorado high plains (Mesa Verde
	perhaps) during a very dry summer. The campus is hilly, with
	steep, narrow ravines separating different areas. Buildings within
	clear sight may be a mile walk (or a $2.00 cab ride).  I expect
	to see jack rabbits or small mule deer browsing through the trees
	at dusk.  There are many green patches around the campus, and
	they are carefully tended with almost round-the-clock watering,
	but the predominent color is an olive-drab/brown.  Evergreens
	dot the campus hills, and there's apparently an effort to turn
	what was bare sheep pasture two decades ago into a forested,
	world-class university.  There's no air conditioning in the
	apartment, but the breeze is wonderful, and even walking around
	is comfortable. It's in the upper 80s to low 90s, but very dry.
	Tonight we saw the Big Dipper more clearly than I've ever seen it
	anywhere else, I think. 

	The campus has a mini-mall about a 15-minute walk or $1.75
	cab ride from our apartment. It contains a completely overwhelming
	hypermarket and an equally huge Sears/Home Depot-style store. In
	addition, there are luxury stores (Izod, European fashions, stereo
	and electronics, cell phones), a French patisserie, and
	American-style fast food (Burger King, Chinese, and Schlotzky's
	Deli!). We bought much of what we needed for the apartment, but
	buying it in Turkish was somewhat daunting.

	I stopped by the prep school where I'll be the Computer
	Coordinator--managing their computer system and teaching
	upper level students in the International Baccalaureate
	program. Confusion is rampant, computers are misplaced,
	the newly-imposed budget is the source of much discussion,
	the building where they are preparing forms to pour concrete
	for some walls was scheduled to open on Aug. 1, and will be
	used for the elementary school in about two weeks. To top it
	off, I found that the central mail and web server had been
	broken into about a month ago. My first task, and that
	"first task" has been an ever-changing target all day, is
	now to find a new machine to completely replace the
	compromised server. There's plenty of moral support for
	making changes, but the fiscal muscle may be elusive.

	I went to my department to check out my office and look over
	the campus. The campus is designed in a mixture of what seems
	like Middle Eastern (low, long buildings in pale stone, lots of
	marble) and SUNY-Purchase (seemingly riot-proof buildings in dark
	brick, lots of stairs and no elevators anywhere) styles. It is
	landscaped very attractively, and flowers are blooming everywhere
	(sprinklers are going constantly). I found my office and was
	pleasantly surprised by its size and amenities, but to say
	there's a bit of bureaucracy is putting it generously. The
	Personnel Office had not been informed of my arrival, and I
	spent much of the afternoon dealing with paperwork and getting
	a required physical Happily, my blood pressure remained normal
	throughout. I'm looking forward to completing my dealings with
	the bureaucracy and getting prepared for the coming the semester.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]