best. conference. ever.

It was really an amazing trip. Last night I didn't get home until 8:30 or so -- spent about half an hour playing with the dogs, an hour eating dinner and hanging out with my honey, and then I totally crashed. Today's been teaching, and meetings, and more meetings. But now I can finally take 15 minutes to reflect a bit.

Some of the great things:
  • I had my first blogger meet-up! Jason and I successfully negotiated the social events of the conference, made a trip to Kinko's, and even talked about professional & intellectual Topics of Serious Import. And considering how socially awkward academic events can be, I was greatly relieved to find a new buddy who I really liked!
  • My paper went pretty well I think -- I got some good discussion questions, and made some good contacts through the panel.
  • I heard some good papers (and only one really terrible one where I wished I hadn't gone).
  • I met a few Semi-Famous People. I saw a lot of FPs who I didn't meet.
  • I got a nibble of interest for a potential publication...
  • I reconnected with my On-and-Off-Mentor Figure, who was incredibly charming, supportive, and inspiring.
  • I reconnected with my academic surrogate parents, an older couple who befriended me some years ago and who I hadn't seen in a long time.
  • I did some research in a serious academic library and was reminded how much I like research, which I'd kind of forgotten because I'm living in the academic hinterlands.
  • I floated ideas for some new projects and got great feedback and advice.
  • I visited with an old friend who was super sweet and hospitable.
  • The weather was perfect and my travel plans went smoothly.
  • I came back from the trip feeling enthusiastic and energized, rather than worn out. (Though today my throat's been feeling scratchy and my head feverish -- I'm nervous that I caught a bug on the plane home.)
It was a great conference. Not without its less pleasant moments, since I'm prone to social anxiety and low blood sugar (which often go together). This was a large conference with a lot of Famous People, which really increases the badge-staring game. These were hung on long strings around your neck, so people would walk past you and stare at your belly. A little better than when you have to pin the badge to your chest, but it's always cutting, the glance-'n-glide of experienced conference eyes, checking to see who you are and quickly pretending you're not there at all. But there were a few people who did want to talk to me, and next time around I'll know more people. And some of us on the institutional margins of academic High Society bonded together and had good useful conversations about those dynamics, and how to change them for the future...