I made sure to store the pink, yellow and blue colored notes containing the wise words of Embrella Cat in my backpack. After weeks of anxiety and outright fear, I forced myself to get on the plane to my first professional conference...
The conference went much better than I expected! First off, no one threw rotten fruits or insults at me upon giving my paper- a very good start if I do say so myself! Secondly, I got some positive and useful feedback about my paper and, I also got a taste of how the profession works outside my own little department. Additionally, there is a chance my paper might be published in a series that comes out of the conference every year. (In the world of academia, publication is considered important, and it makes getting hired potentially easier).
Whew! I did it! And what's more, I think I can do it again:)
When I arrived at the Philadelphia airport, it was midnight, but بلدي رجل was there to pick me up anyhow! He brought me a single white rose, followed by many kisses and hugs.
This whole conference debacle just highlighted to me how very lucky I am to have authentically supportive and loving people in my life.
PS, I've since learned that بلدي رجل translates literally into something like "my man a state" and is completely non-sequitur...best keep using it then:)