June 1, 2014

lets go to san diego, hey that's where all the kids go

This past week, I had the opportunity to travel to San Diego for a conference. This, to me, was the best case scenario. I'm getting to travel somewhere beautiful for a conference that also just happens to be the place I lived for twenty one years. My boss allowed me to book my ticket out a couple days early so that I could spend a little bit of time with my family before heading down south for our conference. 
I'm always grateful to go home. I don't think I appreciated how beautiful and special my hometown was until I was gone. I had lived there my entire life and was ready to spread my wings. I was ready to grow up, find a new place, and figure out who I was. I'm so blessed to be where I am now, I'm very content in Idaho, but man, the ocean? I can't believe that I saw that almost every single day. I just stared at it when I went to the beach with my sisters. I couldn't get over how vast and expansive it is. I surely was spoiled by that view and I'm glad to get to return to it several times a year.
One thing that's peculiar about returning "home" is that my real home, where I lay my head, is a different place than where I grew up. California definitely feels like home, but the type of home that you don't live in anymore. Maybe it's like seeing the house you grew up in, realizing it's not yours anymore, but cherishing the time that you spent in that place and being grateful to it for helping to raise you. I don't have a room in my parents house anymore. That's understandable. I haven't lived there for over five years, but it's weird to return to stay with them and be in the guest room. I am a guest within my own home. That's a strange place to be. 
None of what I've said so far is really what I intended to say in this post, I think I'm just processing through some things so bear with me. Let's get down to brass tactics, as my father would say. Can I just say that one thing I absolutely adore about my father is his ability to butcher the English language and colloquialisms? My mother is a logophile and it drives her absolutely bonkers that my father insists on saying things like "brass tactics" instead of brass tacks and "for all intensive purposes" instead of for all intents and purposes. It may drive her bonkers, but it absolutely tickles me. 
I'm just all over the board today, aren't I? I do really want to tell you all about my conference because it was absolutely fascinating, so I'm serious now, here we go. As most of you know, I'm a Resident Director at a private Christian liberal arts university in the Northwest. This past week, I had the opportunity to attend a conference specifically for the residential life professionals at our sister schools. Over 50 of us gathered at Point Loma to learn, worship, and grow together as continue to navigate our positions. 
The speaker that they brought in for the conference is an authority in the area of emerging adults (18-29 year olds). He lectured on that age group and their college experience, presence in the church, and what they are looking for in life. I think sometimes I feel so disconnected from that specific age group although I'm still in it. I am in a position of authority over 18-20 year olds, yet a lot of my struggles, questions, and growth is similar to theirs. 
After the lectures, we had the opportunity to gather in smaller family groups where we connected with the staff from other universities. I so appreciated the time to compare notes, verbally process the lectures, and exchange information. Our schools are all over the country, but so much of what we're doing is the same. We shared a lot of stories and it gave me a lot of peace to know that the issues I dealt with this year weren't entirely original. It's nice knowing that someone else out there can relate to your situation. 
I sometimes feel like people have a difficult time understanding what I do. My sister in law thinks I'm an RA and my grandmother is very concerned about me because I'm pretty sure she thinks that I'm unemployed. Sometimes when I try to explain that although I'm technically paid for 40 hours of work a week, my job is really 24/7, people can't grasp that. They have a difficult time understanding what that looks like. It was refreshing to be with a group of people who understand that entirely, who struggle with knowing when to shut their doors and turn their phones off, and who can identify with being a parent/older sibling/pastor/cop/counselor/etc to a 100+ students. 
I've heard that we might attend this conference every other year. I wish it was every year because I feel like I met so many wonderful people and it'd be a shame to not see them for a long time. I'm hopeful that the next university to hold is our sister school in Boston or Nashville. I could get behind a trip to either of those locations, for sure. 
Has anyone ever attended a conference for work or pleasure that they would absolutely recommend? 

1 comment :

  1. I've never been to San Diego, but I might be going this fall for a wedding. I might stay forever!

    I attended a conference for my job in Colorado last year and it was amazing. It was nice to be around people who actually understand what I do for work (I work for a non-profit and most people have never heard of us). That was my first time in Colorado, and I wish I extended my stay so I could explore more.


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