Last week, I took off from work and school to present a paper at the National Sigma Tau Delta 2016 Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The trip could be summed up in a single word: perfect. Though, true to the English major spirit, I’ll share a few more words about my latest adventure…..
In all my years of travel (basically my entire life), I’ve never had a three AM flight until this weekend. In summary, they are brutal and unnecessary. However, the drive to the airport was full of laughter and the sunrise in Dallas was stunning.
When I first walked through the doors of the Hyatt, I was enveloped in a warm hug of familiarity. I had obviously never been to Minneapolis before, but there’s something about the calm, yet elated, chatter of English majors that is universal. Imagine a hotel full of literature lovers and wayfaring writers…. even if I was surrounded by strangers, it was obvious that I had found my home away from home.
After a long first day of traveling and participating in panels, I was not necessarily looking forward to the early morning of the second day. Still, panels over Jane Eyre and the Victorian novel were calling my name, and I awoke to be greeted by a hazy snow that made the indoor sessions seem much more inviting.
Speaking of cold weather, I might have used the snow as an excuse to buy my new favorite scarf. What better way to keep warm than with your honor society’s colors, letters, and emblem. The fact that these scarves look rather similar to Hogwarts’s scarves was also a major selling point…
As an adventurous person, I truly love exploring; so, instead of staying in my room and doing homework like a good student, I joined my university’s chapter as we explored the nighttime city. It was rather strange to have such a luminescent fog when things should have been completely dark.
If it’s one thing that I love, it’s misty fog and rain. I love the way it clings to your hair and makes the sidewalk a watercolor-like canvas of lights….
After experiencing the local, public transport and exploring the Mall of America, we took off toward the more quite side of down town to find somewhere to eat at our ungodly hour of the morning. The freezing walk was definitely worth the stunning view of the city’s skyline. Though, it was apparently too cold to stop and talk a decent picture. Oooops.
On our first day of convention, my chapter and I found a lovely little bistro called The French Corner, and when my pre-presentation panic started to settle in, I headed straight to the bistro to grab a comforting cuppa. Since it was only a block from our hotel, it quickly became our go-to stop for coffee, tea, and pastries. The food was amazing, the service was wonderful, and the prices were certainly the best we had found in our overpriced district.
While I’m very much the country girl, I’m always reminded of how much I can adapt to city life. It’s comforting to know that you’re just an anonymous person who can blend into the fast-paced crowds, and this realization made our walks to a from the bistro much more enjoyable.
After grabbing my comfort tea, it was time to present my paper. The panel I was placed on was Identity and Nation, which was wonderful and phenomenal. Somehow, despite my previous panic and fears, I managed to fall in love with standing behind a podium and speaking over something you had spend weeks, even months, studying and researching. Call me a nerd–it’s certainly who I am.
Since I was the last person in my chapter to present, we headed out on the town to celebrate. AKA exploring the skywalks and visiting a local Irish pub called The Local. Again, if you’re ever in Minneapolis, this is another place to stop at. While it was much more expensive than The French Corner, the traditional fish and chips were the best I’ve had in quite some time–certainly worth dropping the extra dollar or two.
The adventures certainly didn’t stop, even if we were all done giving our presentations. One of my chapter’s members lost his wallet, so we spent another two or three hours scouring the busy streets while admiring the surrounding architecture. Thankfully, the wallet was found and we were ready to head home….
Actually, I lied. We weren’t ready to head home at all. As English majors, convention truly is a home away from home and we would have been a-okay if the presentations, roundtables, workshops, and guest speakers had continued on for another day or two.
Still, I guess there’s always next year…. let the countdown begin!