This has been a packed week! On Sunday, we drove to Camden Yards and met my cousins, my uncle and my sister’s family for an Orioles vs. Nationals baseball game – O’s won 2 – 1 on a late inning homerun. The next day we went to the national zoo with my sister and her family (and Blythe, my little cousin). The orangutans were awesome, especially the super hairy male ones.
The orientation started on Tuesday. I am so psyched about this now and just ready to get things rolling along. There were two surprises at the orientation. The first is that we can’t live in Neve Daniel as previously planned. To make a long story short, even though it’s been acknowledge unofficially for a long time that Neve Daniel and, more generally, Gush Etzion (the region were Neve Daniel is located) will be part of Israel in any final agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the US government still does not officially recognize Gush Etzion as being part of Israel. Since my Fulbright fellowship is to Israel, the commission overseeing the fellowship requires me to live within the official borders of Israel. (In hindsight, I suppose we should have thought of this.)
The second surprise was that as a Fulbright fellow I have LIFETIME online access to several journal databases such as EBSCO (which is worth several thousand dollars per year)! Other than that, the orientation was great because of all the amazing people we met. Everyone is just so friendly, bright and engaging and they all have fantastic project proposals.
One amusing thing I noticed was that I was the only mathematician going to the Middle East and North Africa. I’m not sure why this is, but all you mathematicians out there, Fulbright offers some great opportunities, so let’s get some more of us involved.