After three weeks traveling (and one week in bed spent coughing, sneezing, and recovering from said travel), today I felt well enough to venture out into the world and keep my hair appointment. (Sure, sitting in a chair for two hours isn't that challenging, but three days ago, my coughing and sneezing wouldn't have allowed it.)
And, I'm feeling well enough to reflect upon leg of my travels: my first MLA conference. It came at the end of pretty much three weeks of holiday travel: one week at my mother's in northern Georgia; home for Christmas eve; back on the road Christmas afternoon (because it's cheaper to fly out Christmas than to wait a day) to Cincinnati and Dayton to see my brother and his family and my friends and the many children who call me Aunt Monica; then on the road (literally) from Cincinnati to Boston with a dear friend (even dearer as he did the driving), stopping the night in Erie, Pennsylvania, to the MLA conference.
By that point, I was sniffly. The combination of kid germs and cold weather is debilitating. I wouldn't trade any of it, however--getting to sled with my nephews was totally worth it. And though the temperature was 15 (Fahrenheit!) when we got to Boston, I admit to really savoring all of the cold weather I experienced on this trip. Probably because 76 degrees on Christmas Day (what I left) does not feel right to me--I like wearing coats and jackets!
Not that there was much reason to go outside at MLA--the conference hotel was attached to a mall, which attached to many of the other hotels. I really only went outside once, on a much-too-long walk to get Indian food (not my favorite), which my friend Katie and I cut short by deciding to ditch the rest of the group for a lovely-looking French restaurant which appeared as the others were swearing it was just a few more blocks. It was a brilliant decision--we splurged on a lovely three-course meal with pate' and wine and fabulous dessert. And conversation which didn't involve either of us having to explain our projects.
Actually, one of the highlights of MLA for me was getting to see so many people I like in one place. It's one of many reasons I'm glad I chose to go to MLA before being on the market: I got to actually enjoy the conference--attend panels, even!--without the stress (or disappointment) of being on the market. I did have legitimate reasons for being there--the Women's Caucus for the Modern Languages had their business meeting and cash bar, and I had the opportunity to take part on a search committee for my university (that experience in itself was invaluable!). In general, though, I'm glad I got a chance to see it first-hand--while I don't have any true MLA horror stories--thank goodness--I did see one audience member interrupt a panel to tell them that they needed to keep it snappy, because they were running short on time, and I certainly saw more "this is less a question than it is three comments"-type Q&A remarks than at many other conferences.
And, I rescued a lost black beret which I found on the floor.