Iowa Martins in Albania

Saturday, November 03, 2012

absentee ballot saga

I'll begin with a message from the Polk County Auditor's office.  I heard somewhere that the absentee ballots are not counted unless it is close.  After I explained that to some friends here, they asked if I thought the elections were fair.  I said they were absolutely fair.  Probably.

From: Polk County Election Office

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Sunday, October 07, 2012

free buses!!!!

When I studied in Moscow in 1992, the cheapest and easiest way to travel around town was the ‘Edini Billet’ or Unified Ticket.  It was something that a person could use to travel on all modes of transportation from Metro, to bus, to tramway, to trolleybus—and it was not expensive.  I thought it was still that way so a couple days after I arrived, I bought a Edini for October.
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When I first arrived in New Zealand in 1989, I noticed that everyone said Loo when they were talking about the place I called the ‘bathroom.’  I wrote home that I didn’t know how to spell it, so I chose Lou because I thought it was simply a quick and easy man’s name—similar to how Americans used the word john.  It wasn't for several years until I saw ‘loo’ in print somewhere.
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Saturday, September 22, 2012

stay in Moscow?

Now the decision about staying in Moscow only one year:  I made that since my heart is being pulled every time I see a young kid out on the street.  Yesterday, there was a three-year-old talking a blue streak as he sat on the metro with a book in his hands.
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Train to Moscow

I had an upper bunk in the train.  This is both a blessing and a curse.  For one thing, it demands of course that I climb when I want to get up there.  But the good thing is that when I’m up there, this space is totally mine.  I just keep my knees and elbows in.
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012


So the passport came to the school in the morning on Tuesday; just as I hoped it would.  I had invited people to come to the chicken shack for a little send off meeting.  A bit of trouble about the excursion was a message I received at 3 in the afternoon—6 hours before the bus would leave.  My host in Moscow sent a message that she was sick with the flu, as her sister had been some days earlier.  She was afraid to bring me into a den of sickness.  Her alternative was an acquaintance nearby who rented rooms for $600/month.
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Sunday, September 02, 2012

waiting for visa

On the drive back Porto Palermo, I call my French friend who works at the European Commission.  He allowed me to give his address to Prime School, my employer in Moscow, so they could send the invitation to Albania.  He says they are not working the next day because of the holiday—the final day of Ramadan.  Bad thing.  But he can probably get the envelope. Good thing. 
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

trip to Albania August 2012

August 16  storms in Chicago.  Standby for alternate flight leaving 30 minutes B4 our scheduled flight.  Good thing.
We successfully got seats on the earlier flight.  Good thing.
Flight actually leaves 10 minutes AFTER our scheduled flight was supposed to leave.  Bad thing.
During the wait on the tarmac, I hear the person behind me talking on her phone.  She is going to Philadelphia at exactly the same time we are supposed to leave for DC.
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