Below you will walk through an adventure through five countries in four days , avoiding bomb scares, dodging hurricanes, and eating pastries 🙂
This June I received an email informing me that my research paper had been accepted for the 25th Annual International Case-Based Reasoning Conference in Norway!
I previously submitted a research paper that was rejected and did not think about attending the conference again. Naturally one week before the deadline I decided to submit a revised version of my paper for one of the workshops at the conference. So in just one week I managed to plan a trip half way around the world, rewrite a research paper, and learn the basics of three languages.
Before I left, one of my buddies here at home was kind enough to introduce me to a Couchsurfing host in Lyon. He used some magic to have us talk to each other in a group texting session on our phones. We hammered out the introductions, my buddy handed me the baton, and my host and I kind of ran with the coordination task.
Things were going relatively smoothly until I discovered I mistyped a time in my itinerary. I caught the “error” and set my host a revised itinerary. This was a bad move. From that minute everything fell apart logistically. The trip began the next day with foretelling signs: a hurricane scare in New Orleans, a delayed flight in Germany, a bomb scare and evacuation in the Lyon Metro, a dead cell phone…not good.
Each mishap was amended, but took a tremendous amount of effort. I had a dead phone so I had to ask around in French for a phone at Gare Part Dieu (gahr-pahr-d’yew), my metro station was evacuated so I had to walk one mile with a piece of luggage that turned out to be a medicine ball; I arrived for dinner and there were two women in the restroom for some reason, so I had to wait on them for ten minutes; I managed to get something to eat at Boulangerie Paul but the tartelette normand, small apple tart, was burnt, etc..
Things calmed and the drama subsided the next day. And two days after, the only odd happening was having to run 50 meters on the tarmac for shelter while it was 48 degrees (Fahrenheit, ~9-10 Celsius) and raining in Copenhagen.
From Copenhagen, I flew to Oslo and hurried to the city to talk a walk around. Afterward, I flew to Trondheim and on my way I saw the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. Rolling hills whose fields all looked as though they were freshly cut. Farm houses that looked as they they were freshly painted. Everything was in place. Stunning!
On the morning of the 26th, I walked to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Gløshaugen – I knew where it was because I asked a Norwegian guy where it was the previous day in Norwegian ya’ll! – the location of the 25th Annual International Case-Based Reasoning Conference and most importantly the Computer Cooking Contest.
I attended the opening session and then decided to go to town for lunch in town and all of a sudden the mythical Norsk Gods had a change in mood.
But as you would guess it, this SNAFU was amended by the natural wonders of wool – that was not a paid advert. My wool got wet but not damp.; highly recommended.
Back at the contest I listened to the presenters for the Computer Cooking Contest, then I delivered my condensed speech – which I do not think did my project justice. I did not win first place, but I alone won third place competing against academic research teams.
The entire trip happened too fast. I love the conversations I had with people from all over the Europe. Conversations with Danish people, Americans abroad, a few French people. Just the change of New Orleans to Frankfurt to Lyon to Paris to Copenhagen to Oslo to Trondheim all within 3 days was astounding. I actually had to speak five languages within that time. All that to share some ideas about baking and cookies 🙂 What a world!