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December 18, 2014 FEA Europe Update

Alex's Update

12/18/2014

1. Holiday Run-Up
2. Area Director's Travel
3. Wish for Santa #1
4. Wish for Santa #2
5. Orders
6. Update
7. Winter Solstice
8. Holiday Travels
9. Mark Your Calendars
10. VERA/VSIP/Transfers
11. Area JCC
12. Season's Greetings!
13. No Comment

1. Holiday Run-Up -- I ran what follows in my Update of December 4. Unfortunately, a few unpleasant issues still came up none the less. By the time you get this, we should be down to the last day before break. Heed these words even more than usual. ‘This week begins the 3 week run-up to the Winter Holidays. It is a time of the year to be much enjoyed, what with festive markets, great music, and delicious seasonal foods. However, you also need to look after yourself and your colleagues at this time. Students can be very active and a bit out of control as the big holiday approaches. Enjoy the season and everything that goes with it, but don't let your guard down.'

2. Area Directors' Travels --. I will be checking email periodically during the next two weeks should anything come up. My only travels however will consist of moving between the sofa, the refrigerator, and the TV! (My wife might have something to say about that unfortunately.) :)

3. Wish for Santa #1 -- As you should all be aware, Dr. Nancy Bresell will be retiring from her position as Director for DoDDS-Europe during the coming break. She will be missed. Most everyone that I come in contact with who has had dealings with Dr. Bresell have nothing but good things to say. I am hoping that Santa will let her have a smooth pack-out, a safe and uneventful flight back to the States, and a retirement that is everything that she could possibly hope for.

4. Wish for Santa #2 -- OK, Santa, take care of #3 first. But, then, please turn your attention to my second request. Take a good look in that sack of yours and find us a new Director who will follow in the footsteps of Dr. Bresell. Find us someone with knowledge of our organization, who understands the rules but also knows how to apply them with both fairness and compassion. Someone who works well with all of our stake holders and respects their thought and opinions. Make him/her an individual who puts students first, but always remembers that you can't put students first if you put teachers last. Santa, some will say that I am a little too old to be believing in you, but if you can pull of numbers 3 and 4, then I will believe no matter what they say !

5. Orders -- As a dose of holiday cheer word has come out of DC that the budget crisis has passed for the moment. That means that travel orders for those who have students attending school in the States and elsewhere are now being processed as I write this. They are processing first those that had been put on hold and then will handle each new request as it comes in. Set that extra place at your holiday dinner table!

6. Update- We will always let you know if something newsworthy comes up. In the meantime, check regularly with www.feaonline.org for your best source for breaking news. My next Update will be out on or around January 14, 2015. (2015!!! It feels like just last month that I was planning for the Millennium!)

7. Winter Solstice -- This year winter officially begins at 6:03 P.M. EST, on December 21. From that point on the days start getting longer so summer is on its way! (Yeh, right!) At the website that follows there is a wealth of classroom activities for the winter season. this page

8. Holiday Travels - For those of you traveling during the upcoming Winter Break, here are some travel tips. Make sure you have copies of all your passports and other important documents stored separately from the originals when you travel. Make sure you have up-to-date contact information in your wallet or purse in the event of an accident, etc. You may want to include local contact information as well as stateside contacts. It is also a good idea to let a colleague know your travel plans and contact numbers in case of emergency. (If you follow my itinerary, as noted in #2, you won't have to do any of this!)

9. Mark Your Calendars --
December 18 -- Hanukkah
December 21 -- Winter begins
December 22 -- January 5 -- Winter Recess
December 25 -- Christmas Day

10. VSIP/VERA/Transfers - As of today we have heard no further information on VERA,VSIP or the transfer round, beyond the fact that all three should be in operation. As soon as any news comes out we will immediately notify you. This information will likely appear first at FEA Online. www.feaonline.org

11. Area JCC -- As of this writing there is no Area JCC scheduled for January. However, once we know with whom we will be meeting we will quickly do so.

12. Season's Greetings! -- I will be the first to admit that the attachment is a year old, but will also say just as strongly that the sentiments expressed are still very applicable and heartfelt!

13. No Comment - click here

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Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director
Email