So today was the first real day of the programme. Everyone has arrived now, and we had the first session of the opening seminar this afternoon. To catch up, after I’d written about the shopping and so on from Saturday, a number of us got in a bus and headed to South Jersey for dinner at the home of a US Fellow from 2002, Lisa Specca. Beforehand her husband David showed us round his work – an eco-innovation research facility at Rutgers. More information coming on the other blog. We had a lovely night there, getting to know Lisa and David and each other – it was basically all the people that hadn’t gone to Fallingwater, so was a really nice way to get to know a new group of our “year”. Sunday I had a late morning, and a bit of a walk around then met Jackie, Christian, Somkiat, David and Chak Hee for lunch, before all of us except Christian went to the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Museum of Art (up the Rocky steps again…). Absolutely brilliant. She was such a complicated, damaged person and the exhibition was a bit like reading someone’s diary. Deeply personal and uncomfortable. I found some of it moving and some of it was too close for comfort, to be honest. But totally worth going. Then when we got back there was a message from Omar, the Malaysian Fellow, inviting us to go for a Malaysian meal, so I went along – there was 6 or 7 of us. really nice. Headed home about 9.30 and I got a bit of OU in before heading to bed.
I have actually been body-snatched and replaced with someone else and you’ll know why I say this when I write that I got up at 7am this morning to go to the gym. To go to the GYM. Which just shows how much food they are feeding us here, if I feel that is necessary!! We had an early meeting (me, Iyad and Omar), but I got the location totally wrong, so we were really late, which was a bit embarassing. Good morning, which will be reported in The Other Place. Then a brief stop before heading back to the hotel for the introductory session of the opening seminar. We all had to give a presentation about ourselves with a photo. I had chosen one from the trip to Svalbard, highlighting for me the problems we have created on the earth, the importance of science in solving them and the inspiration that working together can give us to get there. I was first (it was in first-name alphabetical order), so a bit nerve-wracking, but also good to get it over with! Off to a reception now at the President’s home.
I hope you all had a great Easter break, and thanks to those that have sent messages. Let me know how you are getting on, and what’s happening with you – I miss you all loads and loads!