A lot can happen in a week…

Synthesis.  Synergy.  Individuality.  Tears.  Righteousness.  Pain.  Gratitude.  Fun.  Pride.  Nostalgic.

I traveled to Anaheim, California, to attend the OpenEduation2017 conference there, where I also had the honor of being a presenter.  As I was able to share the experience with my husband and daughter who had the time of their lives wandering around Disneyland as I participated in the conference, we took some roads less traveled to get there.  We took a connecting flight via Seattle to get to Los Angeles.  It was no surprise to me that I felt an immense sort of homecoming there.  Although he and I have only been to Seattle one time prior for an overnight well before our daughter was even a thought, I felt connected to the vibe there and remembered the brief time that we lived in the neighboring state of Oregon.  I remembered the beginnings of our nomadic existence, where we lived for food and embraced ourselves as “down to earth.”  Our lunch was expensive but delish and we told our daughter of the brief previous time we’d spent there.  Despite all of the years in between, there was a joy that didn’t feel any different.

After landing in Los Angeles, we drove down to San Diego and spent the following day eating In-N-Out Burger and Santana’s Mexican seemingly on a loop.  We visited the old neighborhood where we used to live, remembered stories and told them to our daughter and generally laughed a whole lot.  Our bellies were full, so our laughter was explosive and our bellies begged us for mercy.  We sighed a lot, as we got stuck in a fair bit of traffic no matter where we went; but when we arrived at the San Diego Zoo and spent a day in awe of what we saw, it reminded us of the time we’d spent there before knowing that one day we’d be parents and have to bring our child there at least one in a lifetime, no matter what.  Well this was that day and there were so many new exhibits to see – just when you thought that zoo couldn’t get any better, it did!  And, to see that the entire area was a tribute to Africa made me a bit emotional inside.  I daresay their tribute couldn’t be much better than what it was, yet they were still doing construction as we walked through.  Maybe one day we’ll see the end result.  In the meantime, we’ll have this bucket of memories to carry us.

Immediately, I felt a connection when we arrived in Anaheim for the convention.  I was proud of not only being bold enough to ask to attend the conference, but for creating a presentation worthy of an audience.  And I knew, once I stepped into the first keynote’s session, that the people in the room were for me and for each other.  Our attendees were beautifully diverse, educated, dedicated, and personable without going overboard.  It was like going on a first date that you quickly determined you wanted to be a second one.  I felt at home.  I felt inspired.  I felt emotional – I shed a precious few tears. I felt both righteous and humble.  This group, this conference, this vibe is a coin that I didn’t feel the need to flip.  I knew I was down.  I had spur of the moment conversations with folks from all over and if we didn’t actually hug or shake hands face-to-face, we did silently and graciously at a distance without hesitation.  Our keynotes were thoughtful.  Our session presenters were fearless.  The food was fantastic.  The venue was beautiful.  And…Disneyland was right down the street!  Work was good.  Life was good.  Gratitude is but a word for how I felt enjoying such precious time creating memories with my husband and little girl as well as with a professional family.  #privilege

I can only hope that going to Madrid (one day, maybe) in real life would be as overwhelmingly positive as my time spent presenting in the Hyatt’s Madrid conference room would be.  At 3pm on Friday the 13th, the last day of the conference, I gave a 25 minute presentation entitled Creative Career Readiness: OER that teach the Intangible to 17 conference attendees.  I engaged them and got their creative minds going, which are the two things I was really hoping to do.  My presentation was based largely on a hypothetical and they could see why I would pose such thoughts.  I walked out of that room fulfilled and ever hopeful that my time as an educator, writer, and creative thinker will continue reflect my capacity as a leader and commanding skills as a public speaker.  This is where I’m good, really good.

Synthesis.  Synergy.  Individuality.  Tears.  Righteousness.  Pain.  Gratitude.  Fun.  Pride.  Nostalgic.

I’m forever grateful that a lot can happen in a week.

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