Sunday, June 25, 2006

How we will spend our summer vacation …



We are on our way to Innsbruck, Austria for the annual UNO summer school there. We will be there for about seven weeks. Susan is the academic director and I will be teaching two courses. My courses are Entrepreneurship, which I have taught many times, and Personal Finance, which I have taught once before.

Innsbruck is Idyllic. Here is how a travel web site describes it:

“Innsbruck’s popularity has surged since it hosted the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976; it now attracts more North American visitors than any other European ski destination. Claiming the best mountain runs in the Tyrol region, Innsbruck makes an ideal base for visiting smaller Alpine towns. In warmer months, stroll along Maria-Theresien-Strasse in the medieval Old Town, hike past those famous mountain runs, or waltz to the strains of an outdoor concert in the Hofgarten public park.”

Meanwhile, back home, the New York Times ran an article about the New Orleans recovery entitled: “A Legacy of the Storm: Depression and Suicide” (By Susan Saulny, June 21, 2006). Here is a brief excerpt:

New Orleans “is a city where thousands of people are living amid ruins that stretch for miles on end, where the vibrancy of life can be found only along the slivers of land next to the Mississippi. Garbage is piled up, the crime rate has soared, and as of Tuesday the National Guard and the state police were back in the city, patrolling streets that the Police Department has admitted it cannot handle on its own. The reminders of death are everywhere, and the emotional toll is now becoming clear.”

We were rendered essentially homeless by Hurricane Katrina, currently staying with my mother for an indefinite period. This period is useful while we wait to see “how things go.” This is the phrase used by many area residents; my guess is that it means seeing what happens this hurricane season.

Still, it is not about how many hurricanes hit, or how many times we have to evacuate. It is just waiting until about September 30, then measuring a collective reaction. Only then can we make decisions about staying, about whether or not to rebuild, and about where to live. Or, we may just leave the area, retire our hurricane supplies, and live someplace inland. Unfortunately, any other place will seem bland by comparison.

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