In my previous post, I was telling you about how complicated it was to obtain funding for a conference in Belgium and how I nearly lost my mind (side note: if you ask my significant other, he will probably tell you that I did. Twice).
“Take a deep breath,” I thought, before taking the floor for the first time and delivering the welcome address speech. It was hesitant and clumsy, but it meant the conference had started. All sources of anxiety vanished the minute I gave the floor to the first keynote speaker.
I was in awe, most of the time — even perhaps a little starstruck. All papers, in their own original ways, were brilliant and challenging. All speakers were passionate about Alice. But what really struck in the course of those three days was how often I remembered what my supervisor had told me about the truly brillant always being kind. Once more, I was to admit he had been right all along (only, don’t tell him; we are feuding over football at the moment).
Except for some minor schedule reshuffles due to the unavailability of the interpreting hardware, I don’t think there were problems. Or if there were, then I suppose people chose to deal with them on their own, because no one told me. The food arrived on time, no one got lost, no one got hurt, and as I had promised the dean, no one died on my watch.
The two days and half went smoothly, but they also went very fast. In the blink of an eye, the conference was over. The four keynote speeches and the fifteen papers were done. There I stood once again, but this time, I was delivering the closing remarks.
I thought I would go home and sleep for twenty-four hours afterwards, but I didn’t. Instead, I was idle, walking around the house with no purpose at all. I was nostalgic of the atmosphere, the people and the place (mind you, the university won’t give me its best 250-seat multimedia auditorium on a permanent basis on the grounds that my “groups only count 20 students each;” I should write them a letter).
While I am really happy with the outcome, and proud, which does not happen very often, I also feel a sense of loss. It may be ridiculous, but I cannot wait to do it all over again.