1. I miss colder weather. Yes, I know that my perspective towards living environments has been skewed after living in Miami for almost three years, but I forgot how good it feels to walk outside in the morning and not break a sweat due to the humidity.
2. Yes, I would walk eight blocks to find a Whole Foods to get food for Kai.
3. The Placement Exchange looked more like a mortician's convention than a mass gathering of people in Student Affairs. Seriously - I know that we were all there to interview for jobs or interview on the behalf of a college/university, but I have never seen such a dour gathering of people in my life. I'm not going to suggest that people go all coo-coo and - I don't know - wear something with a color other than dark blue or black, but I would like to see the radical idea of people smiling be implemented.
Here's a hint: if you can't show the least bit of excitement or joy over what you do or want to do, maybe that should tell you something. I don't turn cartwheels every day when I think about all I have to do with Kai, but I still get excited when I see him.
Let your professional competencies speak for themselves. If you've got the talent and skills, that will be evident. The passion you have for that job should be what shines through. Again: I use Kai as my framework.
4. Speaking of The Placement Exchange...man. I totally skewed the median age by hanging out in the candidate area. It was like sitting in a Chuck-E-Cheese for professionals. These...kids, all fresh-faced and with their whole careers in front of them...it made me wonder where they might be when they hit my geriatric age, and if they would still be in the field, or if they would find themselves called elsewhere...and what that means for the future of student affairs.
And then I realized I was thinking too much, so I started humming the theme from Dr. Who, trying to use it as a clarion call to see if any of these kids were fellow nerds.
5. Chicago has some good microbrews. And I am now spoiled on pizza for the rest of my life. I want to just run into Papa John's and tell them they're all liars for selling what they do.
6. I loved reconnecting with some old friends (DRS. Rush and Akers), and making new ones (you never know who you'll run into while sitting in the lobby of your hotel. You might wind up sharing a drink or two with a former president of NASPA). And then there were some people that...well...
When I ran into a professional acquaintance I'd known for over ten years, she introduced me to a colleague of hers this way: "I've known Sonny for a number of years. He's been very involved in the field, has had some excellent presentations and articles, and has held some excellent positions. Now he's just a stay at home dad." And with that comment, she said we'd catch up later, and then she turned her back to me.
Chicago got a lot colder at that moment.
And I'm not sure which I felt more of: sorrow and pity for her, or a tinge of anger at her dismissing of me. Whichever it was, I got over it rather quickly.
Especially when I got my next performance review from my supervisor: a hug and a smile from Kai.