Archive for June 2010

First Dates

June 22, 2010

It’s nearly 50 degrees C (that’s almost 120 F for the Americans) at KAUST today and yet the hairs on my arms are standing up with the cold – the miracle of air conditioning.¬† When you step outside the door, you are greeted with a blast of warmth almost like opening an oven door. Thankfully, I am only outside when I choose to be. We bought a car about six weeks ago – a cute little Mazda 3 with all the bells and whistles. (Talk about coming full circle – our very first new car was a Mazda 323, the forerunner of the Mazda 3. ) Although I, as a woman, cannot drive the car when we leave the campus, I am permitted to drive here at KAUST. It had been almost 6 months since I had driven a car and I was nervous getting behind the wheel – took about 30 seconds to get used to it again. It’s great to have the convenience and independence to get around quickly and comfortably – it’s no fun waiting for a bus in the blazing sun! It also makes getting to the gym, the beach, and the golf club that much easier. Tough life I have, huh?

I have  become a yoga devotee. One of the many advantages of living here is the availability and accessibility of exercise classes. The yoga teacher is fantastic Рpatient, kind, and endlessly helpful. One evening, I realized that fifty percent of the class were from Ireland Рwe get around!

The first crop of KAUST dates is hanging from the palm trees that line the streets of the campus. The first group of KAUST students have completed their first academic year. Most have left now for the summer. Some will return in the fall to complete master’s degrees or to continue further study and research for PhD’s. Their absence on campus is noticeable – it’s nice to be around eager and enthusiastic young people. They took a risk, that first cohort of students and I suspect that those young people will go far, whatever they decide to do in the future. The road less traveled will make all the difference. New students, faculty, staff, and their families are expected in August. Those of us who are already here await their arrival with anticipation. We are looking forward to introducing them to KAUST and what it has to offer and to sharing what we have learned over the last year. That first crop, though, will always be special.