currently listening to: nausea -x
oh man. i think i am finally caught up on every thing that i put on hold to go to the conference with the least amount of anxiety as i could possibly possess. i am here & present!
so the trip was everything i hoped it would be. it was funded, well planned, and successful.
the drive took a little less than 3 hours. we had to go up north, just beneath lake michigan & around the corner from chicago. about halfway there we were surfing thru turbine nation. it was so fucking cool and creepy to see those things up close and personal for the next half hour worth of driving. rows and rows of mechanical monsters stretching across empty land for miles. the kids loved every second of it.
i had no idea what the city of valparaiso was going to be like, but i didn't really care tbh. i figured either way, the opportunity is what is knocking, right? we get about 10 minutes from our destination according to our gps, & the landscape takes a very unexpected rural turn, with a very ghost town kind of feel that had me gulping as the minutes passed. signs of civilization abruptly begin popping up and the next thing you know we're in a commercial wonderland of supertargets, kohl's, home depots, and shoe carnivals. i'm like, seriously? these are a few of my favourite things? the chili's restaurant is what finally did it for me. we pull around a wooded corner beyond all this and there is our beloved hampton inn.
i'm still trying to comprehend where in the heck an ivy tech would be amongst all this but it still does not compute. the hotel is brand new looking and the staff is friendlier than i am to my own children. we take the elevator up to the third floor where we find our cozy little 2 bed room and get our things settled in before we head out for a late lunch.
red robins is what we all decide on after driving around for 10 minutes. i never ate there before this, so it was nice to finally try it out. i got battered fish and fries and am thinking i would have enjoyed it more if i would have just went with the flow and ordered a dang burger like everyone else does when they go there. it was okay i guess. the free refills on fries was pretty cool tho ...
once we were done there we elected to find ivy tech and at least drive past it to get an idea of how far away it was from our hotel. it was only like 2 minutes from red robins, and red robins is only 5 minutes from the hotel.
my initial take on the campus was that it was really creepy. there were no students walking around the campus, and the parking lot comprised mostly of, other parking lots? it looked more like an industry typed setting than anything else. it was all very new and clean and shiny, but NOBODY was walking around, and it was only around 5 pm on a thursday.
the kids were anxious to get back to the hotel and relax, so i asked snookms if he could take me back once we dropped them off so i could walk around inside the campus to get a better feel for what i was up against in the morning.
after we dropped the kids off, david (fezziwig) decided he wanted to tag along at the last minute so we left mike jr. & shespawn behind to their own devices and drove back. the building was very cathedral-esque looking. all white, with some pointy temples features jutting out on the roof. the inside was very impressive, but still, not really any students hanging around. i look for the room i'm to be presenting in with two other professors and find it easy enough. was super glad to have snookms & co. with me though, because i was feeling this really weird sense of isolation that would have creeped me out pretty bad if i was alone. you could definitely tell that everything about this city was brand spanking new. it was nice, but in that sort of 'a wrinkle in time' kind of way that isn't so great at all, initially. that all went away after time tho, i think it was just getting used to being in a new place since we haven't gone out of town in foreverrrrrr and a day.
once we made it back to the hotel the kids were ready to go swimming, so we got on our bathing suits and had fun going from the pool to the hot tub once we got there. there was even a little workout room with flatscreens and yoga balls. an old man with a zombie apocalypse shirt and perhaps his grandchild accompanied us while we where there, and an elderly couple replaced their presence once they were gone. i shoved the hotel room's key card in my bikini bottom thinking it would be safe and had to apologize for my hasty thinking when i had to go diving for it at the bottom of the hot tub they were in. luckily i found it and they didn't seem annoyed or anything considering that i had to come eye level with their jonx just to grab a hold of my lost key card.
after that we headed back to our room upstairs and took turns taking showers. by then it was dark and had just started raining, so we decided to head up to supertarget to get snacks for the night plus some eyeliner since i forgot to pack mine. again, everything is all brand new here, all of it squeaky clean and organized. at this point i was starting to get used to it, and also starting to experience delirium from lack of sleep i had gotten the past few nights. when i get to this point, i am pretty damn obnoxious. it's fun, you should see me sometime!
now we are back at the hotel, cozy in our beds and chomping away on midnight snacks. i have my laptop open, rehearsing my powerpoint presentation & just exactly how i want to say what i want to say. adventure time is on and i slowly dose off for the evening.
6:00 am is when the alarm goes off, and i am up with no problem. so glad to not have drowsiness slowing me down that morning. get myself all prettied up, rehearse the powerpoint yet again, and then start packing up stuff to put in the van since we decided at the last minute that we are going home once i'm done at the conference.
downstairs breakfast is totally happening in the lounge and i am starting to see folks come out of the woodwork thank fucking god. i wonder how many of them are fellow presenters at the conference (which i later find out are most of them!) and worry that i am under dressed for the event considering most of them are fancily suited up. i mean, yes, i dressed up too, but more of a pantsy-black-goth sort of dress up. i even painted my nails black, which i hesitated on at the last minute just because, but decided to go ahead for authenticity's sake. but whatever, i couldn't be bothered with self doubt at this point. no choice but to soldier on.
the kids were delighted at the opportunity to make their own waffles, which i thought was hella cute that they were so delighted about it. i didn't have time for all of that, but i was able to grab an omelet, fresh fruit, yogurt, and some coffee. i loved that the hotel had free coffee available 24-7, as well as fresh cookies.
once snookms woke up enough, we were ready to go.
i arrived an hour early, which gave me plenty of time to scope the place out some more and get acclimated with everyone & everything. right away i got to meet nancy, the editor of the atrium where my paper was accepted. she is the host of the whole icea ordeal, and she is way more friendly in person than i thought she was going to be. she seemed genuinely pleased to meet me, gave me my folder with my name tag, program and other such goodies in it and told me if i needed technology assistance to head up there to get it set up since i was to be presenting in the first session.
like i said, there were two other presenters in the panel with me, but we were in the first session for the day. the remainder of the day would consist of other professors and graduate students pitching their best-teaching methods for classroom environments.
i took a few minutes in the lounge area to rehearse my shit for the last time, and then headed up to the room for the welcome portion of the event.
there were probably only 3 or 4 other students, all of them graduate students, and then all the rest were professors. i was the only person presenting there that hadn't yet earned a degree or an official teaching title. little fish swimming with big sharks alert!
it was a super humbling experience. all along i kept wondering what the hell i was doing being invited amid all these experienced individuals. but i was there and whatever, no time to worry about all that.
the first two professors to present before me had multicultural insights about how to best reach a diverse classroom. i liked what they had to say about allowing code-switching in the writing process in order to encourage students to talk about things that are difficult to express. and also some of the reading material and the positive feedback the students provided as a result of reading 'the house on mango street' and other titles that i can't remember at the moment.
once it got to be my turn i didn't even bother looking up at the audience before i introduced myself. i glanced up quickly after i began speaking about my presentation and only stuttered over my words a few times. once i was done, the first question from the q & a session was directed toward me, asking what my professional experience was, and if i had any personal experience with the situation. the moderator of the panel had quickly read off a bio of info about each of us presenters, but it didn't really include in detail what my intentions were in being there at the conference. so it was a nice opportunity to share where i wanted to go with my degree, and during the luncheon, i had several professors come up to me and tell me how meaningful my presentation was to them, with one of them being personally affected by autism since his 6 year old son had it. i was really relieved to hear that because i was starting to feel really humbled by all the great ideas that were being thrown around by the other professors and graduate students during the conference.
my favourite panel that i attended was the one i chose to go to directly after i was done presenting, which was a modernized take on feminism, by Tolu Idowu, titled, "Not Just Semantics: Understanding Patriarchy, Unpacking Feminism, and Promoting Womanism". She did an impressive job of conveying the importance of including the male perspective in feminism, since more and more men are embracing feminism. Womanism is the new term she wanted to introduce in terms of eradicating the stigma of misandry that many are of the assumption of existing in feminism.
everyone there was extremely enthusiastic to be there, and excited to bring their new ideas to other individuals that cared just as much as they did about best-teaching methods of instruction.
i loved that i somehow got to be a part of all this, and was even invited to attend the next annual conference, which i am seriously considering going to.
and so now i am super exhausted from posting this elaborately long and boring post and will retire for the evening, glad that i got to document this experience for future reading and recollection.