Friday, September 29, 2006

Conveniently enough, the European Association of Centres for Medical Ethics (EACME) has their international conference in Leuven this weekend ... thrilling sessions such as "On theological anthropology and biological life limits" and "Enhancement, cosmetic pyschopharmacology and identity." Most sessions seem to be struggling with developing a sort of "ethical empiricism" despite not really having a firm grasp of measurement methodological issues. A popular framework seems to be a notion of pragmatic hermeneutics, which while making the entire process more iterative, risks falling victim to the critiques of moral relativism. -- just to prove that there is actual thought going on in between the festivities here.

An amusing sidenote is that the conference is being held at the Begignhof campus of KU Leuven, a UNESCO world heritage site that used to be pestilence houses and is now used for special events and student housing ... the plenary sessions are being held in a church built in 1305 ... it's nice to finally be at a school not fanatically engaged in building construction.

Last night was the WelkomStudenten concert in the Oude Markt ... thousands of students, a historic square dating back to the 1400s, and one mediocre DJ with a gratuitous light and lazer display ...

the astute observer will notice two things (1) without a memory card -- hopefully arriving from Singapore soon -- my camera can only hold four pictures and (2) I've been wearing that grey hooded sweatshirt too much and need to diversify my wardrobe ... I invite any other thoughtful insight ...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

First day of classes ... our courses are spread throughout three different faculties (Philosophy, Theology and Medicine) and two different hospitals ... 29 classmates from 16 different countries -- should make for an interesting mix once we all get over the disorientation and all arrive in the correct location at the proper time (which, incidently, changes weekly) ... makes me feel a little bit like a freshman again

Sept. 26, 2006

What I did on my wonderfuly international 27th birthday:

      • ushered in the early morning in a city park with some Italians

      • played a pick-up game of soccer with random Belgians

      • sat at a cafe and read for a few hours from Harrison's Manual of Medicine (not too sure why, but I've been doing that recently)

      • received a birthday cake on the steps of city hall from my Turkish friends

      • ended the night at some fakbars (student bars) with some Spaniards

      I can't help but wonder how my 28th birthday might turn out (any guesses?)

      Monday, September 25, 2006

      Brugge and Beyond

      A weekend "dis"orientation trip to Brugge -- the rather disappointing "Venice of the North" that has been transformed from a quiet medieval village into a colonial Williamsburg-esque playground for elder tourists that specializes in the lace and tapestries ...

      Understandably, a few of us didn't last long in that city, and took a train to the beach town of Oostende for a rare beautiful day on the North Sea ...

      Any town that is constucting a ferris wheel in front of the church is alright by me ... and then the beach ...

      Wednesday, September 20, 2006

      First day of orientation for the internationals ... all of the circumstance without the pomp ... fun with friends (Italian, Argentinean and Turkish ... I'll let you guess who's who) at a carnival set up a few blocks from my house and at the saedes sapientis statue that university students adorn on their whims with different attire ...

      Tuesday, September 19, 2006

      I know why Columbus left Genoa ...

      recovering from the second overnight bus in three nights, and am now square with logistics ... presentation performance went well, and the pitchblack french countryside at 80 km/hr is more inspiring than one might think ... genoa is strangly reminiscent of baltimore, with thankfully limited tributes to its native son christopher columbus {the man who pioneered and innovated slavery on a large scale in the west, argueably ushering in some of the worst of colonialism -- for more on this, read historian Howard Zinn} ... glad to be back in Leuven

      my first pic-o-the-day ... a small park by my new residence

      Saturday, September 16, 2006

      On my way to make a presentation at the AMEE international conference in Genoa, Italy on Monday ... we will see what inspiration I can find on an overnight bus trip to Milan ...

      Wednesday, September 13, 2006

      sept 11 flight a success

      in belgium now ... temporarily living in a monastery, and looking for less sanctified accomodations ... also hope to make my computer more internet friendly soon as i hate punching along on european keyboards ... until then,