This past week I went to work (yes, to work) in Mo’Bay, Jamaica. We know it as Montego Bay, but the locals call it Mo’Bay, so I will, too.
Before I left it seemed as if I wasn’t excited about it, and I apologize for that. The thought of travelling in the middle of my semester wasn’t enthralling, though the location and purpose were. Once there those doubtful feeling dissipated and I was only excited about it.
I left Charlotte at 6am on Wednesday morning, meaning Justin took me to the airport at 4:30 am (can you say best best friend award ever?) After waiting to break through the clouds (I never miss that moment), I slept the entire way to Miami.
My flight in Miami landed in the terminal under construction and the only food available was Nathan’s Hot Dogs and Nescafe coffee. In addition, they require eight dollars per device for wifi, so I had to spend time figuring out which devices I wanted to pay for in the two hours I had to sit in the Miami airport. The rest of Miami isn’t so bad (the workers are hit and miss in how nice they are, but I’ve gotten more misses than hits in my times there), but the under construction part is the worst.
Anyway, soon after I was on my way to Jamaica and on the same flight as another member of the Collaborative.
I literally never tire of clouds.
Once there, we stood through a (no lie) 3 hour customs line, where everyone was wearing plastic gloves and they had a “health desk” that you could tell had been rapidly constructed. We waited in another line to get our shuttle to our resort, and then once in the resort I headed off to get ready for the welcome event that night.
Though the location had been changed at the last minute, I think it was a good change. We were situated in villas where random people had to live together as a family, with a butler and cook for our breakfast. Because of that I met five amazing people that I will have relationships with forever- Minelson, Salim, Paul, Fran, and Dawn.
That night we had a welcome dinner, where my hair was reminded of the humidity of the Caribbean and I saw some awesome watermelon art. I spent my time taking pictures and tweeting, the former of which I’ll share with you when I finish editing them.
The next morning I was up and ready for work at 7:30 am after a wonderful breakfast with my family, prepared by our villa cook.
I spent the day commuting between conference centers taking pictures of every session. This is me with two of my villa-mates at their poster presentation:
After which we went home to prepare for the keynote address that night. There, I met Pedro Noguera, professor at NYU and educated at Brown University. He has written several books and is called in as a consultant for many programs, and was just a really nice person.
This was my closet for the trip:
And this amused me to no end. It’s a “LadyBin” in the bathroom, but it’s produced by a company called “Super D.”
The next morning I was up again for conference, and on this day I met the famed Gloria Ladson-Billings (of the culturally relevant pedagogy) of University of Wisconsin-Madison, and watched ten CMS high schoolers present their research as part of their senior project. I became friends with them- I well remember presenting at my first large conference as a high schooler.
That night we had a wonderful barbecue on the beach with local dancers and musicians, and that was probably one of the best parts. I have few pictures on my phone of that because I was still on social media duty, but this kid’s face is why Snapchat exists.
The next day we were in sessions the entire time until 3:00, when I was finally free to eat lunch with Fran and Minelson and then explore on my own- which I did with Paul and Minelson later in the evening. For dinner we went as a family (Minus Dawn) to a place on the resort, and went home to play card and board games together with some of the high schoolers.
The next morning I had to head home, and as expected, the customs line was so long I barely made it to my flight (but I did make it). After a short hop in Miami, I came home where Justin and Steven were waiting to pick me up, after which I had a wonderful dinner and reunited with a friend named Tina I hadn’t seen in a while.
More tomorrow about my thoughts on the conference and on clouds. Until then and much love,