The Big Day!

The Big Day!

So today was the big day – my first talk at an international research conference. I was excited, nervous, and sleepy all wrapped up into one! I’m thankful that my niece stayed up until after 12:30am (US time) to make sure that I was up by 6:30am (Berlin time) because I was having trouble getting out of the bed this morning! 🙂

The session began at 8am and my talk was scheduled for 9:30am. By the time the presenter right before me was up, I was giving myself my usual “you’re the expert…you’re the greatest….don’t panic….it’ll be over soon… you can do it….” speech. Lol. Then, the moment of truth – I heard them call my name followed by “Tanjala was awarded The Transplant Society Young Investigator Award/Travel Grant…” And then it was showtime.

Before I knew it I was up talking….things were going well – no fumbles, talking at an ok pace, no problems, halfway done…then my mouth got super dry!! Like super super dry! Lol. Part of my brain said “drink the water on the podium” but the OCD-part of my brain said “no you can’t drink the water…what if that is somebody else’s water…what if the lady forgot to change the glass!!?!?” So, I didn’t drink the water. But I finished up the talk with no fumbles, in spite of the dry mouth problem. Lol. Afterwards, people were congratulating me on the award and said that I did a great job. So yay! 🙂

I then attended another session where I recognized one of the experts from Harvard as a keynote speaker. I was sitting there listening and all of a sudden I heard the Harvard expert say “….these findings were similar to those presented in this morning’s 8am session by the Johns Hopkins study……” and I was thinking “dang I thought I was the only one presenting a study from Hopkins this morning…oh wait, THAT’S ME…HE’S QUOTING OUR STUDY…an Associate Professor at Harvard is quoting the talk I just gave 30 minutes ago!!!” After the session, I introduced myself to him and he responded “Oh, I know who you are…I enjoyed your talk this morning….you guys are doing some great work…..”

In my best Derwin Davis voice “Oh yeah, that’s what’s up!!” 🙂

Needless to say, my morning turned out to be a great one, and I’m glad the “business” part of my trip is over! Now I can relax and enjoy the remainder of my trip.

Tanjala’s First International Trip — Berlin!

Tanjala’s First International Trip — Berlin!

In honor of my first international trip to Berlin, I am writing my first real blog post!  Anyone who knows me knows that this is a huge accomplishment. 🙂 So here is a recap of Days 1-3 of my trip!

I left for Berlin on Saturday at 5:30pm EST and arrived here on Sunday around 5:30pm (Berlin time). Initially, I was slightly nervous about flying over the ocean for such an extended period of time but all of my flights (leaving Baltimore, Atlanta, and Paris) went smoothly. Of course I slept the ENTIRE TIME on ALL THREE FLIGHTS! I woke up on the flight from Atl to Paris in time for breakfast (egg-cheese-biscuit-thing, juice, banana) and went right back to sleep, and I didn’t wake up at all on the first and third flights.

My layover in Paris was interesting – the Charles de Gaulle airport has a weird layout but just knowing that I was in Paris was definitely cool. I also got a stamp in my passport book! While in Paris, I also had a couple of “interesting” conversations with people who thought I spoke French and some other stuff. Lol. I eventually learned to speak back to people in MY LANGUAGE when others greeted me in their languages in order to avoid any confusion (i.e. to avoid having to say “I don’t understand” once they got too deep into the convo).  After my final flight, a French guy started having a convo with me in French. He eventually translated into English (after realizing I didn’t understand a word of what he said) “Oh, I said that I am jealous of you. You looked like you were getting some really good sleep.” Me: (slightly embarrassed) “Oh yeah, I was tired…” Lol.

Random thought: the people in Berlin are TALL. Lol, of course everybody is taller than I am but still..they are tall.

Back to the story – My luggage didn’t arrive in Berlin with me. Oh no! 😦 Surprisingly, I didn’t panic. Filled out the lost luggage info card and headed to my hotel on the Tegel Express Bus. My trip to the hotel was also a nice experience – and I’m glad I chose this instead of a taxi. My hotel is also nice, and I have internet access so I’m good.

Today was the first day of the conference, and I needed to register and take a copy of the powerpoint for my speech tomorrow morning. Did I mention that my luggage did NOT arrive?!?! Lol. So, what’s a girl to do? I not-so-proudly walked over to the conference center and registered/took my presentation wearing jeans/tshirt!! It seemed that nobody really even noticed, or maybe they just didn’t react to it. Lol. I was trying to hurry up and leave when I was stopped by a man attending the conference. I thought he was about to kick me out or something but he just wanted to have a convo with me. He thought I was someone he met in North Carolina, and he continued talking even after he figured out that I wasn’t the right person…

I was eventually able to get outta there and I located some local shops/clothing stores to avoid wearing these same funky jeans for my speech tomorrow. BUT my luggage finally arrived this afternoon! So, now (at 7:41pm) I just need to focus on preparing for my speech, etc.

In summary: a)I arrived safely in Berlin, b) I won’t be presenting in funky clothes tomorrow, and c) hopefully, the talk will be excellent! So, wish me luck!!

I’ll be back later to let you know how things go with the talk and to update you after I really start my sightseeing adventures!