Time to say goodbye

Today a friend came to see me one more time before leaving Ireland to return to Romania. I was a bit sad thinking that during the last two years she’s been in Dublin we only met a few times. But we are such close online friends that distance won’t really make much difference…

I met Diana in 2004, when she left a comment on one of my blogposts on Prinsea, a blog I was co-writing with Gabriel Radic, a Romanian living in Paris, about the tips and tricks of blogging. To our knowledge, it was the first source of information about blogging in Romanian. I took Diana’s comment as offensive, so I fired back. Gabriel asked us to stay calm and take it offline. E-mails followed, then IM. Misunderstanding clarified, we sent each other virtual hugs and became friends.

Later in 2005, the fact that a Romanian candidate for a PhD position on my project was turned down (she had two degrees and a master’s, but no publications)  made me think of a possible solution to this problem.  In the west, very few people realise how things work back in Romania, and that it is almost impossible as a student to attend any relevant international conference in your field, or even a workshop. The access to prestigious publications in one’s field is also limited – the universities can’t afford subscribing.  And nobody could ever dream publishing straight into a journal without being familiar with the latest progress in your field and without a supervisor’s support.   At the time, I was an observer on elgg, a social networking platform developed around the idea of eportfolio. I decided to encourage a group of graduate students from Romania to start building an online portfolio in English, writing about their research interests, their readings and future plans. My idea was that adding the url to their CVs could make a difference and give their potential international supervisors an idea about their abilities.  I have no idea how much the blog/portfolio idea helped to get a position – they were brilliant students anyhow, but all the 5 people in that group got the chance to study abroad. Diana was among them, and she came to NCI in Dublin to do a master’s in Learning Technologies 2 years ago.

And now she’s getting ready to return to Romania. She was invited to continue with a PhD, but she’s too keen to move back home and apply what she learnt. Time to say goodbye… no more dinners in Dublin together between the Damastown bus and the 9pm Limerick train!

Diana with Akoha card

Two weeks ago at Barcamp Cork II, Emma Persky made me smile and gave me an Akoha card:). “Akoha is a new type of “social reality game” inspired by the idea of pay it forward where players play real-world missions that can be tracked online” – their website says.

I played my card with Diana today, as I knew she will enjoy playing it forward. Farewell, and may the road rise up to you, dear friend!

November 16 2008 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment »