Bonjour from International Space University!

Elizabeth's journal about her experience at International Space University in Strasbourg, France. Read on to find out what she did...

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Another week has gone by since I've found time to write. It's been a roller coaster ride of a week. We presented the letter of intent for our project to some folks from industry last Saturday. The people giving the presentation did a great job. People have been encouraged to take on roles that they don't normally do. A couple of our presenters are not native English speakers and do not give presentations often (much less in a foreign language). I was impressed with their willingness to do it to begin with, but I think they surprised even themselves with how well they did.

That afternoon we were given feedback from our co-chair, teaching assistants, and the members of industry that attended. Overall the feedback was positive. They felt like we had decided on a very ambitious scope for our project, but they are looking forward to seeing the results. There were also some suggestions for improvement in a few areas, but all seemed fairly minor.

There was another culture night after all of this on Saturday. Some of my good friends presented that night. They are from Germany and Australia. Both presentations were funny and entertaining. However, the country that won that night was Portugal. Rather than giving a presentation, Andre sent us all on a team scavenger hunt throughout the dorm. We were given 4 questions about Portugal. The correct answers gave you a room number. If you got the room number right, you got the next set of questions, which went through the same process. The 4th room was the end of the scavenger hunt, and the prize for reaching the end was a sample of a local beverage. It was a blast. There were 10 teams (the people on the teams were required to hang on to a rope the entire time) running through the dorm trying to finish first. The first team to finish received a bottle of port from Portugal...our group came in 2nd. It was a fun night.

Monday and Tuesday were a little shaky for our team project. We definitely hit the chaos stage of the team forming process. We are broken up into sub-teams by chapters for the report, and one of the sub-teams had a lot of trouble early in the week, which impacted the rest of the team greatly because their contribution was what the rest of the paper would be based on. There were a few meetings with people loosing their tempers. However, by Tuesday morning an agreement had been reached, and progress was being made least until that evening when our co-chair sent an email to the team that brought everything to a grinding halt. I'll just say that the email was not the appropriate means of communication for the content included. It was also a little late for the type of comments he had to make. It basically boiled down to a lack of communication on both parts (the team and the co-chair), which caused half a days worth of work to be lost. There was a meeting that went into the wee hours of the morning to clear up the mis- (or lack of) communication. The one positive thing that came of this email was that the team got past the chaos stage and started bonding. Everyone joked that a common enemy will bring people together. ;-)

Wednesday morning our co-chair made a presentation to the team to clarify and help get things back on track. Since then the team has been working hard, and we got a very rough first draft put together by Wednesday night for a preliminary review. Today was spent editing and writing and conceptualizing additional ideas. We have what ISU calls a "final review" tomorrow, which is really a review of the first draft with feedback. The final report is due on the 26th, so we have done a lot of work in the last week and have more to do over the next week. People are sleep deprived, stressed out, and on edge, but overall everyone has gotten to the point that it will be hard to leave this new group of friends...we only have two weeks left!

Today is mine and Ross' 4 year anniversary! He was very sweet and sent me a playlist of songs that make him think of me. It was perfect! Although, it also made me sad. While I'm having a good time and making new friends, I'm ready to come home and see everyone! I miss you all!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You and Ross have a full and loving 4 years to celebrate. Both of you are an inspiration and a blessing.

Sounds like your team was able to shape conflict into a positive. I look forward to hearing more as the project develops.

The culture night sounds like fun. The final 2 weeks will pass quickly. ISU is a wonderful experience but we are ready for a visit and your safe return.


7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Sweetie!
I know each person at ISU must be feeling the ache of being away from home by now. Everyone responds to that in different ways and at different intervals. Hopefully that dip in spirits will in the long run be a boost for everyone to get back on track and get the most enjoyment they can from these last two weeks!

Happy Anniversary to you and Ross. You'll have 4 years and 2+ weeks to celebrate when you get home! We will all be anxious to see you. I found the neatest hymn recently that was written the year you were born, so I'll share the words with you:
"God will raise you up on eagles' wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of His hand." It makes a beautiful prayer of thanks for God's guidance and sustaining love when things are feeling off-kelter. I picture you with Him just like that!

Perseverence is something you're really good at! LOVE YOU! PFY...Mom

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can't believe its your 4th anniversary! Congratulations! Its sounds as if things are going really well, but we'll be glad when you're home. We love you very much.

Grandmother & Grandaddy

9:21 PM  

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