Saturday, February 25, 2006

San Francisco

I've been remiss in writing lately because Jeff and I have been in San Francisco for most of the week! We left home on Tuesday morning and arrived here in the early evening. Our flights were uneventful, thank goodness.

I spent Wednesday, Thursday, and most of today at the conference (yes, the only way I can get any time out of town is by going to a conference! I hate the fact that I earn only two weeks of vacation per year!). I presented my talk yesterday. It went pretty well except for the fact that it was a little on the short side.

My former advisor was unfortunately unable to make it to the conference, so he asked me to collect as many people with Illinois connections together as possible, and take a picture of them. Unfortunately, I didn't get everyone together at once, but we were able to get one picture with ten people and another picture with two previously unpictured folks, so I think he will be pleased. Some of the people in the first picture I had never even met, but somebody else knew that they were Illinois people so they joined in the picture. I hope my advisor knows who they are because I sure don't!

One of the people in the picture was a young woman who got her undergraduate degree at Illinois and who worked for my advisor when she was there, but is now a graduate student at Berkeley. She spotted me on Wednesday morning and I think she was really happy to see a familiar face. I kind of took her under my wing for a time, because this was her first conference. Something I didn't realize until nearly halfway through my second conference was that everyone at the conference is as shy as I am, and they're not talking to me because they're shy, not because they're unfriendly. Once I understood that, I was able to make some connections by being more assertive. And since I did that, I now know a fair number of folks to whom I was able to introduce this young woman. I noticed that she also made a few connections of her own, with people whom she met in the conference sessions. I think it helped her to understand going into the conference that everyone is shy.

Our first night here, we saw on the map that we were very close to Chinatown, just a few blocks southwest, so we decided to walk there. Well, we plotted a course that, as it turned out, involved hiking up this huge hill and then back down again into Chinatown. That was kind of stupid. So we figured out that if we just went East first instead of North, we could avoid that huge hill entirely. So we went back to Chinatown last night for dinner and again this afternoon for some souvenir shopping, and didn't suffer from getting out of breath at all.

Tonight after dinner we took a trip on the cable cars. This is Jeff's first trip to San Francisco, so naturally it was his first time on the cable cars. We got a three-day pass for all the city public transportation.

We'll be here for the weekend, and we'll leave on Monday morning. I'm burning one vacation day for this but I think it will be worth it. Tomorrow we're going to go to Alcatraz. We don't have any other concrete plans but there is plenty to choose from.

1 comment:

rachie said...

Man! You just missed Chinese New Year by a few weeks! The last time I was in SF for a comic convention it was Chinese New Year -- year of the Ram. And that's how I remember which (Chinese) year Byron was born: I was six months pregnant, so I was posing next to all the fat happy Buddha statues.

Sounds like you're having a great time, even without lion dancers, though!