Back in Glasgow...
My conference was great, I spoke to more people I have spoken to in the past six months. I was there to record a podcast and to represent the charity that it is affiliated with. They were a sponsor and had a booth. Of course I also attended to learn from the combined expertise of 4000 attendees and apply my learning to develop and improve my teaching. I spent all breaks at the booth promoting the educational charity, which provides educational resources for students and teachers in limited resource settings. You can imagine how busy I was... Days were long but never boring. I liked spending time at the booth because people came to see us, making networking that much easier. Networking is not my strength. We didn't try to sell stuff at our booth, which helps. Instead we gave away 200 textbooks, mostly to students from limited resource settings. I enjoyed recording a podcast with a life audience. We recorded in the lobby of the conference centre, which was a bit weird with people milling about, stopping to listen for a bit then move on. It was also good to meet the two hosts I had not met in person before. Sadly, one was diagnosed with the Covid and was confined to his hotel room from the day of recording. We'd had a good few chats before, which of course meant I was exposed to the Covid. I am lucky to test negative consistently since so all good.
Turns out I needn't have worried about having enough smart casual clothes for the 5 day conference. My checked bag did not arrive until Wednesday evening, the day before departure. I could have kicked myself for checking in the stuff I took... Anyway, my bag did not actually arrive, I had to get it at the airport myself, a 90 minute roundtrip, and I only knew it was at the airport because a bell boy at the hotel took pity and found me a phone number that was answered by a real living being. This person insisted that the bag would not be delivered to the hotel but that I could just pick it up when I was checking in again to go home. The cheek! Go to the check-in desk he said, they'll have your bag there waiting for you and you can check it back in for your return journey. They did indeed have my bag, there were dozens in the underbelly of the check-in area. I could have taken any piece of luggage I wanted, no ID check, no tracking number check, nothing. As of today (Sunday), my bag is still being reported as missing by the system.
It was wonderful to put on bra and undies that were not damp from the evening sink wash.
Rest assured I didn't walk around in my scummy air travel outfit for four days. I spent the first couple of hours in Seattle shopping. I had the impression that Downtown Seattle is not where people shop much. But Anthropologie came to the rescue. I felt like royalty in this shop, it was a most pleasing experience to be helped by not one but two assistants who scurried around the shop gathering clothes I might like. I told them about my luggage and explained that I had no clue what to look for because I had not been clothes shopping in years. In the end, I got a pair of black trousers that look fabulous on me, a simple white blouse and a bright yellow bell sleeve top and one pair of knickers. Expensive business, shopping is. I got three random compliments by strangers for my bright yellow bell sleeve top. I couldn't face shoe shopping so wore my trainers the whole time. These were fresh out of the box so didn't look as bad as you might think. Funny thing, I went back on Tuesday during a short break because I still didn't have my luggage and I wanted to look fresh and smart for the recording on Wednesday (the podcast is videoed as well). One assistant exclaimed upon seeing me "Christina, you are back. Did you get your luggage?" My "friendship" with the assistants was of course skin deep but I did enjoy being remembered and helped so competently.
I didn't have much time for sightseeing but I did wander around the Downtown area when I had a moment or two. I wish I had had more time to explore other neighbourhoods and get to know the city a little. I was shocked and saddened by the number of homeless persons I passed, some very unwell indeed. People just stepped around them as if they didn't exist. On a more positive note, traffic was mostly electric. It was a bit weird standing by the roadside, watching cars go by and not hear much engine noise. I liked that. I ate delicious Vietnamese food on two occasions and of course I had the obligatory Starbucks coffee. I couldn't find any coffee shops that were not Starbucks.
On the final day, the conference ended at 1 pm. I treated myself to a late checkout at the hotel, which by the way was overpriced, served no breakfast, didn't service my room and charged $19.85 per day for WiFi (I didn't buy that of course). There was no free TV either. But I was glad not to have to walk the streets for several hours before a late evening flight to Dublin.
On the note of internet when travelling - When we were in Turkey, I discovered Holafly, which sells e-sim cards with unlimited data. This was fabulous and far cheaper than the hotel WiFi rate. I watched Great British Bake-Off on demand on my phone when the jet-lag kept me awake at night.
So back in Glasgow... I am pleased to report that I don't seem to suffer from a return jet-lag. The journey back was uneventful, luggage arrived and all flights were on time. Richard had prepared a delicious lasagne and washed the bedding and did most of the laundry. He is a keeper! Jack was over the moon to see me and even the boys seemed pleased to have their chief nagger back.
Back to normal work tomorrow. I have a pile of marking to look forward to, and a busy busy six weeks.
Thanks for visiting 😊