Last week, the family headed to Philadelphia on Wednesday until Saturday so I could attend the national conference for NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English). I was meeting up with a colleague (and first cousin!) from rural Georgia to present on the penpals our students experienced last year (billed as "country mouse meets city mouse"). We were part of a panel on engaging students with authenticity.
Briefly, the conference was great-- this is my 3rd time attending, and every year, it seems I learn new tricks. It always seems I'm just getting in the groove when it's time to go. The presentation was a success. We were a little nervous to count 312 seats in the room, but realistically expected about 20, which is what we ended up with (the free book giveaway was at the same time, so we knew our crowd would be diminished if only because of that). Of course, there are things I would improve next time, but for the first time, we were all proud to have accomplished it on a national level and are excited to do it again! The new colleagues I met were great and it will be nice to see them each year at the conference. Next year, Orlando; 2011=Chicago!
It was Elliot's first flight, and he did fine. The packing for a flying trip to a hotel is quite different than packing for a road trip to our parents. The prep was a little tiring and daunting, but I only overpacked a little. Pat spent the days tooling around Philly with Elliot in the carrier or stroller while I hit the sessions at the conference. We'd meet to feed Elliot and ourselves, and part ways again. I was apprehensive as to whether the timing would click, but it did and there were no crises. Elliot loves walks, so he tended to take in the scenery and then promptly conk out. (Which left us with a little grumpy boy on Sunday once back, as he was not out for a walk all day!)
We both think the trip was really enjoyable. Philly is a great city, very doable on foot, and lots to see historically of course. Personally, I am not too into historical documents or sites, but when you are there, there is something powerful that you cannot deny when you see where our forefathers developed the ideas that run this country to this day. It was impressive. I only got one afternoon of touristy stuff in, but Pat hit most of the major spots and neighborhoods.
It was also great to spend some quality time with Ann, the cousin I presented with (she's the one with Jenna in the earlier posts). She was kind enough to share her hotel room with us and tolerated the awakenings at night in stride.
As good as the trip was, we were exhausted once we got home. We really needed Sunday to get through the zombie phase and become normal humans by this morning.
Now, it's laundry, packing, and off to Ohio on Wednesday for Thanksgiving! So crazy to think that the holidays are upon us.