CIEE Conference – Minneapolis

Last week the CIEE International Education Conference took place in my hometown. I went to the CIEE conference in Philly a few years ago, and I found it enjoyable enough. At first I thought it was going to be great to have a conference at home– an opportunity for further education in my field, a chance to see some people I don’t often see (yes, I do enjoy seeing colleagues I don’t often get to see), and the ability to come home to my spouse and dogs and sleep in my own bed? Sounded great! And in many ways, it has been. But it’s difficult too. While I am happy to be able to see my family in the evenings, I’ve definitely felt an inner tension between obligations to my family– to spend time with them– and conference social events in the evenings. It’s almost easier to be in a different city– at least then one can be entirely in the “work” world and not try to live in two worlds at once.

Despite that tension, it was a pretty good conference. I went to a few interesting sessions– my favorite one was about creating community amongst study abroad students on a certain program before departure, which I’ve been trying to do via Facebook for my France students. It seems to be working pretty well anyway, but I picked up some good tips at that session that I think will help even more. I also got to see some colleagues that I don’t often see, most notably a colleague from the University of Limerick in Ireland. I like her a lot, so it was fun to be able to hang out a little bit!

Even though I find conferences exhausting, and the evening social engagements even more so, I did pretty well last about attending the many evening receptions. In addition to our office’s open house Wednesday afternoon, and a (very) brief stop at the conference opening reception, I went to a reception/dinner on Wednesday night that kept me out until 10pm. I went to the one our office hosted on Thursday night (because it was required!), but skipped the second one– after a late night the night before, I just didn’t feel up to doing two receptions in one night. (And I was in bed by 9pm!) Friday night I went to two receptions. A bonus was that all these receptions allowed me to visit some great places that I rarely (or never) get to in my own city– ours was at Brit’s, which is a place I do get to fairly frequently and like a lot. Another was at Solera, a really good Spanish restaurant, one was at Prohibition at the top of the Foshay Tower (I’d never been to the Foshay at all, let alone Prohibition, so that was cool), and one was at the lovely Guthrie theater, which I’ve been to many times but always enjoy. The one I skipped was at the Mill City Museum, also a really nice venue. But that night especially, there was no nicer venue than my home and my bed!

Foshay Tower

Brit’s Pub

Guthrie Theater

Trip on my bed 🙂

Now things are back to normal in the office, which feels weird. It’s also a short week, of course, due to Thanksgiving, so everyone seems pretty quiet and mellow. A lot of people are out of the office. A big change from the hustle and bustle of last week! The conference was exhausting, chaotic and yes, pretty fun for the most part. But I am ready for some quiet time.

I Can Leap Tall Buildings in a Single Bound

Everyone has a preconceived notion of who you are. They’re never right. No one knows you. You are your own mystery. Tell them. Scream it. Make them believe you could leap tall buildings in a single bound if the thought occurred to you.
-Reid Peifer

This quote is from an essay entitled “Passion” that was printed in Violent Gusts of Wind, a kind of journal published in my high school as a sort of alternative to our official school paper, Breezes. When I first read this essay, it really spoke to me, and I’ve thought about it a lot ever since.

As I got older and learned a little bit about the MBTI/typology, I realized that this quote is especially relevant for introverts, and even more so for me and my fellow INFJs, as one attribute of that type is that we are often enigmatic and hard to get to know. Just the other day a friend posted a link to this Buzzfeed article, in which the author assigns a sort of spirit animal to each personality type. The animal she chose for INFJs was the wolf, with the following description:

INFJs are value-driven individuals who tend to remain mysterious and complex even after you’ve become close to one. They are often creative and inspired individuals. They are good at perceiving emotions and are sensitive to the feelings of others, but they are not very prone to revealing much of themselves until they trust someone completely. That said, they are intensely interested in the well-being of others and are often seen as protectors as well as natural leaders.

This is a pretty simple explanation of an INFJ, but it really resonates with me, at least with the first part. I’ve had many people tell me that I’m a complex individual, that just when they think they’ve got me “figured out,” I do something that doesn’t fit with their perception of who I am. Usually, I think of this as a great compliment. Everyone has their own preconceived notion of who I am. They’re never right.
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