Friday, April 8, 2011

Trave(b)logue, Part II

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

4:46pm: Whew! Presentation 1 (of 2) is over! There's an odd mix of sweet relief and that taste of adrenaline in your mouth right after speaking in front of an audience for an hour. I can't imagine what my co-presenter and boss, Rachael, must have felt--she had just done two presentations back-to-back! Thank you to everybody to attending our staff's sessions, When High Achieving Students Don't Succeed and How to Write an Effective Assessment (I get a quarter in royalties every time these are mentioned, right?). Please e-mail me at jbirou at if you want copies of our presentation or to share some ideas (you can turn that "at" into an "@", I just separated it out so that my inbox doesn't get flooded by spambot-created adoring fanmail.)

As a side note, the hotel should really advertise those saunas they have downstairs near the pool. I think having a spa is a great draw! Oh, wait...the air conditioning just wasn't working? At least now we know how they keep those cookies warm.

5:00pm: Okay, so my supervisor and I had this weird plan to try to get back to Philly as close to 5:00pm Friday as possible, involving rental cars and Amtrak trains via a transfer on the Knight Bus. To get our car, we scheduled the rental car company to drop off the car at the hotel around 5:00pm. I see the car waiting near the front of the hotel, so I knock on the window to get the rep's attention. He waves at me, so I open the door.

"Are you with ____?" [Name of company removed to protect the innocent.]


"So...we don't fill out any paperwork here? We have to go back to your office?"

"Yep. Hop in."

"Uh, okay."

At this point, any understanding of how I continue to survive living in a city goes right out the window. Didn't I learn not to get in cars with strangers when I was like, four years old? I would've been really excited if he had some Kit Kats or Jujubes with him. Unfortunately, the realization that I had totally lead that conversation and I could've just thrown myself into the trap of a deadly axe murderer (as if there are any other kinds of axe murderers) didn't come to me until we were already down the road. I passed along my Famous Last Words to my boss via text message just in case they were.

6:00pm: Imminent death averted! Huzzah! I'm happy to report that my city-dweller cynicism and constant suspicion of others proved no match for down-home Southern hospitality. To celebrate, my staff heads to the super-cute downtown Charlottesville, to a restaurant called Rapture, which has some pretty delectable food, though I was a little disappointed by the lack of fried and butter combos on the menu. I guess Paula Deen's omnipresence doesn't extend this far north.

10:45pm: Aw, crud. Here begins the nervousness about my second presentation tomorrow. It wouldn't be too pathetic to break open one of those Virginia wines I won earlier, right?


Friday, April 8th, 2011

7:00am: Success! An honest-to-goodness hot water shower! If there is a better way to start of the day, I don't know what it--waitaminute! Is that a big vat of bacon they're serving for breakfast? And are they using pieces of toast in those vats to soak up the bacon grease, which I will then describe as "the prize at the bottom" to all those whose who seem repulsed as I eat them? The answer to all of those questions is YES.

[As an aside, I would just like to mention that the hotel was quite lovely and, aside from some minor snags, I had a wonderful time as a guest. Plus, I get a bunch of Hilton HHonors points toward a free night! I'm easy to please--see The Bacon Incidient above for further proof.]

8:55am: My second presentation is about to begin with my colleagues Jenn and Erin. We're admittedly a little nervous, since there is no actually audience yet. It begs the question, "If a presentation happens and nobody's around to see it, did it really happen at all?" Mercifully, we eventually get a great number of people in attendance, who understandably were late due to filling up their NACADA Canvas Bags of Yore with bacon for the trip home. Don't worry, everyone, the bacon meme is here to stay. No one's judging.

To all those that did attend attend our session about Peer Mentorship, please feel free to contact us so we can continue our discussion on establishing academic-based peer advising programs--collaboration is key as we get these programs off the ground!

1:05pm: After racing up 29 and 66, we make it to D.C.'s Union Station approximately 38 sections before our train leaves for Philly. Thanks for the memories, NACADA Region 2! I will remember you...!

Will you remember me...?

Don't let your life...pass you byyyyyy....

...Aaand I think that's all I can share before Sarah McLachlan's lawyers send me a sweet little Cease-and-Desist. Did I learn nothing from those Academic Honesty lessons I give my students? For shame!

Peace out, NACADA Region 2! H.A.G.S. (Have A Great Summer)

Your pal, Jeff

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