graduate · travel

Brownie points for conference location

I think I may be getting over the jet lag but I’m not sure. I don’t feel extremely tire, despite spending hours in a dim room listening to talks, but I don’t feel like I’ve actually been asleep. I think I may have been sleeping in hour long stretches throughout the night or something.

Conference accommodation. Makes me miss my family holidays

The conference that is near a hole-of-a-town is actually located on a beautiful mountain. And is cold. As cold as Melbourne is right now. I can’t imagine how all the conference attendees from the northern hemisphere are feeling right now but I quite like it. It would be nicer if I had my scarf and gloves but the nights are feeling just like home. The nights before the conference felt too warm. While I did plan for warm weather, I didn’t take warm nights into account when I packed.

I was pleasantly surprised by the tea on offer. The more I drink loose leaf, the less tolerant I am to tea bags (particularly green tea and the American Tea Party). But the tea bags on offer here are actually really nice. The food is pretty good too (though nothing for morning/afternoon tea). Three days into my American Adventures and I was already sick of fast food. But this conference has three course dinners! Pitty one course is salad…
I’m actually a little worried that it only took me three days to get sick of fast food. I tried Taco Bell for the first time and it did taste nice (and was super cheap!) but it left me feeling gross. At home my idea of fast food is sushi or an asian soup bowl. Maybe I should have had some KFC in the previous months to help prepare my stomach for all the heavy/greasy/salty/sugrary food. With any luck, my other accomodations will not be in holes and I will be able to find sushi and good restrurants that aren’t expensive. If not then I may have to resort to the lesser of evils, Subway, and pile in the veggies.

I had very low expectations for this conference. I am one of two genetics presenters (and of course, we are the last two talks on the last day). I thought I’d be falling asleep at all of the talks out of boredom. But most of the talks have been really interesting, despite them not having any relevance to my work. Of course, this does tend to make me paranoid about my talk. I want to practice now but my roommate is in my room and I’m too shy to practice with her around. Last year I couldn’t even practice when someone was in the room next to me (to be fair, the walls were thin enough that I could hear his phone conversation. So it wasn’t exactly private).
My main problem with the conference has been the social side. I have a lot of trouble introducing myself to groups of people, particularly when they all know each other and have their own in things. I have managed to approach a few people on their own and strike conversations but I can’t seem to enter groups. I hate it when you manage to sit on a table with two different groups of people and don’t manage to get included in either one. So I have done a bit of social avoidance and hid the moment my meals were finished. I think I am getting a bit less socially awkward but it’s still not good.

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