Friday, July 30, 2010

YLS Country by Country Guide for foreign legal research

For some reason, my weblink did not work. I am trying again:

Yale Law School

I was pleased to be able to participate in the Institute for Constitutional History's faculty workshop at Yale Law School earlier this month. I appreciated the interdisciplinary nature of the workshop -- participants included history, political science, and law professors -- which led to robust debates/discussions (due to differing methodological approaches to the same questions).

The topic was "Processes of Legal and Constitutional Change." How does law change? How does law change the world? The leaders of the workshop were Professors Steve Teles (political scientist from Johns Hopkins) and David Fontana (law professor from GW).

More than 43 books/articles/chapters were assigned (I was having grad school flashbacks!), and, thanks to the contributions of the workshop participants and the Yale Law School faculty who joined us each day (Bruce Ackerman, Robert Gordon, Jack Balkin, and Reva Siegel) - I have even more scholarship added to my "To Read" list.

I was very grateful for the opportunity to be able to conduct research at the law school library which also gave me access to the vast resources -- 10 million volumes! -- available at Sterling Library. The international and foreign law librarian was most helpful in leading me to appropriate sources about the Moldovan legal system. Check out this amazing "Country-by-Country Guide to Foreign Law Research" that she compiled:

I also posted a photo of the "bookeye" -- an amazing scanning machine that allowed me to scan *quickly!* relevant chapters and bring them home with me. I am in awe of the bookeye!

It was quite a busy and exhausting week, but the topic/readings/seminars were of great help to me as I prepare to head overseas to work on my project related to law and politics in Moldova.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

T Minus 5 Weeks

Since my last post . . . .

I received my Medical Clearance paperwork from the State Department. Both Peggy and I have received medical clearance for the trip. Now that the clearance paperwork has been approved, CIES is working on my paperwork. I head to DC next week for a Fulbright Orientation. Soon everything will be official.

I went for my 2nd Hep A & B vaccine -- and brought Peggy with me and we both got the typhoid vaccine. I did so much better with this 2nd round of vaccines. Was tired that night, but by the next day I felt fine. (Just a little sore in the arms.) Peggy was fine.

I ordered the textbooks for my classes thru Not sure if I will try to use the Diplomatic Pouch or whether I will bring them with me in a suitcase. Fulbright will be giving me an allowance for materials for my courses, and we will leave those at ULIM for future use in their courses and in their Library.

I have been in touch with a contact provided by the Embassy who will help us find an apartment in Chisinau. We were advised to find an apartment near the Embassy for a few days as a home base as we search for a long-term apartment. Here are some websites so you can get an idea of what the apartments are like. We are looking for a 2 bedroom (which I think is called a 3 room apartment) that is within walking distance to Peggy's school (the International School) and my school (ULIM) -- with internet access -- that is close to a market/grocery.

I am in Lesson 2 of the conversational Russian CDs. I should be able to get through the Russian 1 (and then I want to review the Romanian 1 again before we leave. . . )

I am posting this from Connecticut. I am heading to a meeting, but will post again about this trip when I get back

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Peace Corps video about Moldova

One of my students (thank you Mr. Flores!) found this video about Moldova put together by members of the Peace Corps. It was just what I was looking for! If you have 30 minutes, you'll learn a lot about Moldova:

Otherwise, keep checking my blog posts, and I will be posting short videos and photos of our adventures!


I will be teaching at Universitatea Libera Internationala din Moldova (ULIM, the Free University of Moldova). Here is their website:

I will be teaching Intro to Law and Politics with the Political Science faculty and U.S. Constitutional Law with the Law faculty.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Nelly Ciobanu - Hora Din Moldova (Moldova)

test video

I am learning how to use the video camera I got for Christmas of 2008 (!), and I decided I should try to download and then upload videos to blogger before I leave for the trip.

I was not able to upload the videos directly from my laptop to blogger because of the formatting. And I was unable to figure out how to "save as" a different (acceptable) format.

In the end, I created a YouTube account, uploaded the video to YouTube and then "shared" it to blogger. That seems like an extra step, but, I supppose it's not too cumbersome. At least I have figured out how to share videos with you!

I am looking forward to sharing videos from Moldova. The one posted is Peggy showing where Moldova is on the map.

Moldova on the Map.MOD

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Gulf Beaches Public Library

Major find at the Gulf Beaches Public Library yesterday! Usually our trips consist of playing with the puzzles and the puppet stage and finding age appropriate books and videos. However, yesterday, when I was putting a puzzle away, I discovered several shelves of books about various countries. Lo and behold, there was a book about Moldova!! We also checked out a book about the Ukraine and two about Romania.

Romania in Pictures: Visual Geography Series
Countries of the World: Romania
Countries of the World: Ukraine
Moldova Then and Now (copyright 1993)

We have enjoyed looking at the pictures and learning more about the history and people of the region. Peggy loves the brightly colored costumes of the traditional folk dancers. I am so impressed that Peggy can find Moldova and the Black Sea on a map of Europe!

Today we went to the mall and each of us got another set of passport photos taken. When we arrive in Chisinau, we will present these photos to the Embassy. The staff will assist us in getting a Moldovan ID, a legitimatie, that will allow us to live and conduct activities related to the grant.

Tonight I am finally starting to feel better. I didn't think either of the vaccines I received on Friday was "live", so I wasn't expecting much in the way of a reaction. But both arms were quite sore, and I found myself to be achy and tired. I guess the strategy of scheduling the vaccines for Friday afternoons and giving myself the weekend to recover was a good one. I go back again on Friday for the next round.

I was able to spend a few more hours today reading about Moldovan politics and government.

Friday, July 2, 2010

T Minus 6.5 Weeks

The planning continues.

On the language front: I finished the Pimsleur Romanian 1 CDs. I highly recommend the methodology. I did each lesson several times, and the material that was covered has definitely sunk in. The only drawbacks: I was taught how to say 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 9 -- but not 6, 7, and 10, and the only food/drink I was taught to order was beer and wine. Other than that, it was a great program. Then I started another Romanian language program -- but this one was completely different (just rattling off phrases, without giving you time to practice or learn them) and it was for English English speakers. So I found myself double-translating the material in my mind as they were going through the vocab, e.g., chemist, flat, petrol station, paracetamol tablets. And they taught me how to say I was from England. A book came with the CDs, and I am hoping that will be of assistance. I need to go back to the Pimsleur set and use the brochure that came with it, so I can learn what letters make which sounds. (I was doing all of the lessons in the car. Needless to say, I did not use the book along with the lessons.)

While more work can be done to improve my Romanian, I decided to move on to Russian, as I am running out of time. I returned the 2 cassette programs (that were 30+ years old) to the library. I was able to find the Pimsleur Russian CDs at the Gulf Beaches Public Library, and I started Lesson 1 today. While I have already endorsed the methodology, I must say that there is one drawback. Lesson 1 starts with the same conversation and phrases, and when the teacher asked the questions I found myself responding in Romanian, not Russian. At least the Romanian has sunk in, but using the same lessons in Russian back-to-back with the Romanian lessons may make the Russian even more difficult to learn? I will soldier on, and give this the proverbial college try. Only 6 weeks left, however.

First visit to the Pinellas County Health Dept today. (It is located 2 blocks from the Junior League Headquarters. Who knew?) And I got the first of the shots I need for the trip. Hepatitis A and B is a series of 4 shots (3 to be taken in a 28-day period before I leave, the 4th a year after the 3rd shot). I got the first Hep A & B as well as a tetanus shot (those are needed every 10 years). Next Friday I will head back with Peggy for the 2nd hepatitis shot, and we'll both get the typhoid vaccine.

Was hoping we could save some expenses on the home front while I am abroad (e.g., car insurance, cell phone bill). Phone calls this week sadly reveal that savings will be negligible. For example, even though I won't be driving my car for 4+ months, we need to keep the liability. The only thing I can drop is collision, which the agent said would save $15 a month.

I pulled out 2 suitcases and actually started packing. I wanted to start pulling our clothes together so that I could identify our needs and shop over a period of weeks, rather than in a last-minute panic. Fortunately my favorite wool suits (which I have had no occasion to wear since moving to FL) still fit, so my work wardrobe is nearly complete. At the office I have begun to fill a copy paper box with books and materials I need for my courses. That will need much greater attention after summer session ends.
I have uploaded a map of Moldova. The first question I get when I say I am heading to Moldova is, "Where is Moldova??" As you can see, it is nestled between Romania and the Ukraine. I have much more to share with you about Moldova -- later.
La revedere for now
And Happy Independence Day!