Riding the train home the other night, I watched a man get on the subway with a huge bird cage (bird included) and was struck by what an odd city I live in.
A few weeks ago, I hopped a train to Lewistown, PA for the Penn State University Web Conference. I had sent in a proposal a few months ago with my old boss from RIT to speak at this conference and we were accepted. Somehow the 6 months or so flew by and before I knew it, it was the day before the presentation. Working leading up to the conference was so hectic that I hardly had a second to think about it so imagine my surprise when I hopped off the train in little Lewistown, PA only to be greeted by what seemed like the entire town. Quite a striking difference after leaving NY Penn Station.
The conference began on Thursday morning and went through Friday afternoon/evening. I’d go in depth about what I spoke about but I already did a wrap up post on the Carrot website (found here). An overall great experience. Good opportunity to get out of the office and learn from other people in the industry. Also a great experience to be forced to do some public speaking which I wouldn’t consider a strength at all. Met a lot of new people at the conference as well!
One of the things that I started doing at the conference was taking some sketch notes. In all honesty, it started in a boring session (note: none of the notes are of the boring session. it just gave me the time to write down my thoughts from previous ones). By the end of the conference, people were actually starting to request notes for their own sessions. Pretty fun way to summarize each session that I was sitting in on – good for remembering things later!
Side note: This courtyard below was the place that I remember running around with my volleyball team a bunch of years ago. So weird to finally go back to State College after all of these years and this time as a big kid!
On Friday after the conference had ended, Jon generously drove to State College to pick me up and take me to Hershey for the weekend. He had promised to clean out his room at his parents house and the timing happened to work perfectly to get me on the way.
We spent Friday night wandering around State College, getting ice cream from the Creamery (!) and getting a quick dinner on State Street. By the time we got to Hershey I was so exhausted – good thing I’ve met Jon’s parents plenty of times before or else they would have thought I was a lump. I’m pretty sure the combined sleep total for the conference was hovering around 6 hours total for 2 days so needless to say, I was rather exhausted and not forming complete sentences.
Saturday morning we had breakfast with Jon’s dad (his mom had to work for the weekend, unfortunately) before Jon cleaned his room. I was mostly just the director of cleaning (from his lofted bed) but did help some when I realized that meant I got to go through his High School yearbooks and random other things.
Saturday night Jon’s best friend and his wife and Jon’s parents all came with us to City Island near Harrisburg for some mini golf! Gorgeous views although slightly buggy. I’ve also decided that perhaps professional mini golf is not in my future.
Sunday morning we went to church with Jon’s dad before heading to meet up with his mom after she got done with work. The highlight of her work place is one of the doctor’s offices with these crazy taxidermy animals. So creepy! The entire room was filled with them. I can’t even imagine walking in there at night.
After lunch, a quick trip to Chocolate World was needed. There is a ride that tells you the history of their chocolate making so while they’ve riden it a million times each, it was only my 3rd! Of course, the free chocolate sample at the end is a huge draw. Not to forget the singing cows!
Overall, a very whirlwind tour of Central PA. Five days away from work and NYC felt like a very, very long time but was much needed.