What does a BlogHer look like? When I arrived at the airport this morning I looked excitedly around for my fellow BlogHers. Maybe I would be on the same flight as Jessica, or seated next to MNAC. Maybe I’d meet someone new — and we’d know each other by our laptops.
Armed with this open and seeking spirit, I did something uncharacteristic of a veteran DC metro rider — I looked around, and I talked to my seatmates. I didn’t meet anyone headed to BlogHer, but I met some great people along the way: here are a few of their stories.
William and his wife, grandparents on their way to surprise their daughter on her 40th birthday. For the price of a smile, I heard his stories and was privy to a family secret — he and his wife were on their way to San Fransisco to meet their son, daughter, and son-in-law for a very special surprise party. This fun-loving family is planning to surprise the daughter and son-in-law at a San Francisco restaurant — dressed as chickens — sing Happy Birthday, and do the chicken dance, and then — and only then — take off the masks and join the couple for dinner. When I complimented him on his family, he replied, “We just want her to know that we love her, we’re thinking about her, and to go forth into the world and do good things.”
Carol (not her real name) sat beside me at the gate and told me all about her three children, including her 20 year old daughter who is headed to Tokyo next month. She’ll be traveling by herself, and her mom is worried about her, wondering if she should get her an escort to the gate (Um, no.) or a special hanging badge holder for her ID and airplane ticket like the teenagers waiting at our gate had. She’ll be — get this — going to Tokyo for a week to teach 5-year-olds to bake American treats. A week of baking brownies, apple pie, cookies, and cakes of all sorts — without being able to speak the language. Oh, if only she knew Japanese like the rest of her family….
M., a middle school teacher, and I broke the ice over a simple shrug and comment about boarding, and our quick friendship took an interesting turn as we walked onto the plane together. In the span of four minutes, we discussed the English comma, her children, and the somewhat random fact that her daughter is an Electrical Engineer who’s finally found her passion … in astrophysics. She’s thinking about going back to graduate school but is unsure of the quickest and best route. Since she had mentioned their hometown, I was able to recommend a woman on the faculty there who is insipiring and may be willing to talk to the daughter for 20 minutes one day about graduate school, astrophysics, and careers. There’s also a new post coming up on the Women in Planetary Science Blog called, “So you think you want a Ph.D.” that might be helpful to her … I caught up with her afterwards to mention that.
If these lovely folks are half as nice as the women and men I’ll meet at BlogHer, I’m in for a great weekend.
Edited to add — it’s already wonderful. And take a look at this great head shot that professional photographer Sherry Heck took of me at the SV Moms party tonight — as it turns out, she does all kinds of pro bono photography for people who are very sick, with some great organizations in the Bay Area. We talked about it afterwards. I don’t think she knew I had cancer before. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. More about the conference — and my upcoming talk — tomorrow.