working (out)

Today was supposed to be a work day, because I’m starting to panic a bit about being ready for classes on Monday. I’m teaching two classes that I haven’t taught before, and while the topic areas are things I’m knowledgeable about, I’m having the experience I always have when trying to teach from someone else’s materials–it doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel like my voice. So I have to take a step back, try to get the 10,000-foot view of the material so that I “grok” the class and where I want it to go, and then pull together the various readings and activities that will support that vision.

Today I had a brilliant idea that I wish I’d had a week ago–I posted on Facebook, pinging alumni-turned-friends who took the class in the past. “What did you learn that you remember and value,” I asked them. And they’ve given me a wealth of useful material to work with. If only I had more than 40 hours before I walk into the classroom! 🙂

Since I know I seldom get significant work done in the morning, I decided today to go down to the Hilton Imperial, where colleagues of mine had told me I could get a 3-month fitness club membership for 1000kn (about $170). I’ve been missing my regular weight room workouts, and the thought of not just a weight room but also hot showers (you may recall that we only have a bath in the apartment), a sauna and steam room, an indoor pool, and–the kicker–a 50% discount on massages and spa treatments was just too great to resist. (There’s cardio equipment, too, but with my daily 400+ stair climb, that seems unnecessary). I got in a full upper-body workout, and a loooong hot shower before heading home.

busviewJust as I settled in to work on my syllabi, however, I realized with mild panic that I hadn’t yet shopped for tomorrow night’s dinner party fixings–and the stores are all closed on Sundays! Only the largest grocery stores are open past 1pm on Saturday, so I walked the 20 minutes to the big Tommy “Hipermarket” to get the things I needed (ground meat and cheese for meatballs, jarred sauce for the pasta, and, of course, some wine). I didn’t really want to carry all that weight back up the hill with me, but happily the #3 bus was outside the market when I came out, so I hopped on and took it home. The added benefit of taking the bus is that current construction forces the bus to take a 4km detour south of Dubrovnik in order to turn around–and the views along that coastal road are spectacular!

By the time I got home, however, it was already 3:30pm. And when I walked into the apartment, I found not just Alex, but also Lane! So I spent some time hanging out with my boys, hearing about Lane’s Paris trip (less awesome than he’d hoped, but still worth going), and helping with figuring out how to cut down the full-size SIM that Lane had accidentally purchased so that it would be micro-SIM sized for his Nexus 4. Then he and Alex went off to have dinner with the study abroad students, and I finally settled down to work.

I’ve managed to make a decent amount of progress in thinking about both classes tonight, aided by both a bottle of Plavac Mali wine (the local “table wine” varietal), and Etta James serenading me via Spotify. Tomorrow I’m hoping to get an earlier start and make sustained progress before my new Dubrovnik “village” of ex-pats arrives for dinner around 5. (There will be a G+ hangout open if you want to visit with us–it will start at 11am EST and go for a couple of hours, I suspect.)

On Monday my plan is to wake early, and head to the Hilton for a morning workout and shower before going to ACMT. I don’t have class until 2pm, so that will give me a few hours in the office to get all my ducks in a row before I walk into class for the first time.

Oh! And an update from last night. Our plan to get educated on Croatian wine at D’Vino Wine Bar was foiled by the fact that they had closed at 6pm. Many local restaurants seem to not be opening for dinner until this Monday. So instead we headed to Taj Mahal, and feasted on ćevapčići, kebabs, and wine. We got caught up in conversation and missed the symphony concert. Will have to try again next week!

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