ptk international convention

so on wednesday i drove with Dr. Pivak and Ellen to Kansas City to the airport. We then flew to Vegas and then to San Jose for the Phi Theta Kappa International Convention. The flights were (for once!) uneventful and vomit free. Ellen and I did crossword puzzles on her computer on the first flight and i read during the second one. we landed around 7:30 pm and then waited for our luggage before taking a taxi to our hotel. The San Jose airport is amazing! It’s super modern and has awesome architecture and as soon as we stepped outside, I inhaled once and everything that was stressing me out and holding me back was gone. The sweet, wonderful smell of the ocean air dived into my lungs. When we got to our hotel, we checked in and I had an awkward moment with some guy who was trying to get by when I was trying to pull both Ellen and I’s suitcases and we had a 3 way crash. After discussing the next day, we did some work and then we to bed.

Thursday we got up around 9, I showered and we went down to breakfast. Eating amazing oranges and watching the world news on the tv while the work crew worked on an addition to the hotel reminded me of 3 things all at the same time–1) i miss the warm weather and the fruit that comes with it and the clothes that i can wear and the sun. i need to move to somewhere where the weather is more like….well this. 2) i get SO into the cottey bubble, it’s crazy. i need to stay in touch with the world more while at cottey. 3) i miss the latino population and even more so, i miss Panama. i miss the diversity that is Madison when i’m at cottey but all the time, even at home in Wisconsin, i miss the latino culture and being more surrounded by it like i would be in San Jose. I just–it’s something that i have always felt welcome in, i’m not sure why, and i miss it. i need to find somewhere when i can have these 3 backs but at the same time, i never want to leave Cottey.

After breakfest, we went upstairs to the room again and then shortly left to switch hotels to the one closer to the convention center. Our taxi driver was hysterical! He kept calling us pretty ladies and making jokes about the city and where we were going. We got to our hotel–it was SO fancy! The lobby was incredible and when we went up to our rooms, the view was incredible too. Ellen and I shared a room and then Dr. Pivak had her own. We went over to the convention center shortly and registered for the convention. AFter that, we sat down and discussed the schedule and which forums Ellen and I would both attend. After struggling through the mess that was the schedule, we parted ways and after asking 4 different people for directions, I finally made it to my first forum, which was about this scholarship site called collegefish.org that PTK runs and the site also can help you find transfer schools that fit your criteria so that’s good. Then I went to a mini session in the marketplace and then to another educational forum, this time about PTK scholarships. Then I met up with Ellen to go to the college fair in the marketplace for a while and I gathered some information about some transfer schools and then we found Mills College. Dr. Pivak had been talking about Mills earlier to us since she was meeting them on Friday to gather information for Cottey and to see a Cottey graduate from the class of 2012 who also happens to currently attend Mills and work in admissions. So when we saw the table we went up and started to talk to the admission rep and as soon as she found out that we were from Cottey she started freaking out. She loves Cottey and always comes to the college fair and to visit the California suites and she’s also a PEO so that quickly developed into a long conversation with her which after a few more stops at different college’s tables, turned into a 20 minutes conversation with our grandsenior at the other Mills table. I loved it. Every single minute of it. Talking to her made me scared because she was talking about how impossible leaving Cottey has been but it also made me excited because Mills sounds like an amazing school and because anywhere, anytime I run into a Cottey grad, that’s it. That’s all we need.

After that, we met up with Dr. Pivak and went to a local burger place which was super good. Then Ellen and I headed back for our regional meeting and we got free Missouri t-shirts and other gear to wear for the first general session. People had been warning us that it was crazy during the general sessions but what happened next was….well, it was like Convo on steroids. All of the states were running around with signs and screaming and then they did a procession of the flags and people were going crazy each time their state came out and it was somewhat cult like at the same time….I don’t know. It’s impossible to explain. Most of the first session was speeches and handing out awards and random symbolic stuff. After that we went to talk to some of the people running for International offices sine Ellen got to vote, which was interesting. Around 10, we left and went back to the hotel before going out to a market that we had passed earlier when walking around with Dr. Pivak after lunch to find a fro-yo place. We got to the store a a few minutes later they made an announcement that the store was closing in 3 minutes so we ran around grabbing stuff and ended up buying a 32 ounce loaf of soda bread. And they charge for using bags there! Such a good idea! After that, we made our way back to the hotel and went to bed.

Friday we got up early, went to an educational forum, then to the second general session which was some speaker dude and awards and we went and had lunch in our room and sat out by the pool for a total of 10 minutes. Then we had the 3rd general session–my favorite. There was more awards and such but Billie Jean King gave an amazing speech. I had never heard of her before–I mean I had heard of her before but I had no idea everything that she’s done for women’s sports and women–except as she said, you shouldn’t say that people do things for women or for men because that in and of itself is discriminatory. You should just thank people for what they’ve done period. She was so funny! And at the end, she hit a whole basket full of tennis balls into the audience. After that was the last educational forum and then we rushed back to the hotel to change into warmer clothes before meeting Dr. Pivak, the Mills admission rep and Brittney, our grandsenior for dinner.

What unfolded is something I will never forget. Conversation came easily. We laughed over nothing and discussed so many different things and all that took, all it took to have such a great dinner with complete strangers I may add, was our connection to Cottey. It was magic in a sense and it made my heart sing.

Then Dr. Pivak, Ellen and I went to get fro-yo and then Dr. Pivak went back to the hotel and Ellen and I went to Ross, Dress for Less since I’d never been there before. We got back to the hotel around 10:30 and spent the rest of the night hanging out.

Saturday, we got up early again and went to the airport. The two flights back (and not throwing up!) went well, as did the rest of our travels back. There was no getting yelled at and threatened by a airport police when we stopped to take photos at the slot machines in the Vegas airport this time like there had been on the way there (SO funny!). The trip was a lot in 3 days but so amazing at the same time. I was honored to represent Cottey (the oldest PTK chapter!!) and to be able to learn so much more about Phi Theta Kappa and although the convention and all the free stuff was amazing, my favorite part of it all was exploring a new city and meeting Vala and Brittney and see how many connections just being a Cottey women has made for me.

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