Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I had a conference in Langkawi without my voice

I attended a conference yesterday in Langkawi. My application was in very late, but I was so surprised that the organising committee managed to put my name and the abstract of my presentation in the programme booklet. I thought I didn't have the time to prepare. It is actually organised by one local and one Indonesian uni, to work on more collaborations. Since. I'm now studying volcanic ash that is believed to be originated from Toba, thought I just could not skip this one. It is a two-day event but I tried to make the most out of it in a day. Still reluctant to spend the night without my loved ones.

The night before that, I sensed my voice got a little bit husky. Oh, I'm getting a sorethroat, I thought. It didn't really dawn to me the seriousness of that situation until I woke up at 3.30 am, having trouble to go back to sleep and realised that I had lost my voice.

Tried to brush the worry aside, I watched "interview with the vampire" on Astro, wallop a pack of Maggi and two eggs. And as an early remedy, gulped some juice from tamarind paste.

While getting ready to go to the KL Sentral, hubby asked with a wide grin "How are you going to present your paper with that voice?" I said, I would think of something.

The plan was he dropped me at the station, he drove with the girls to the babysitter and fetch them after work. My next flight back was at 9.35 pm.

10.15 am, I arrived at the hotel and I was starving. With the recent fare inrease by Malaysian Airlines, I was silly to expect a little more goodies, we got served a tiny pack of peanuts. Even a cheap airline in the UK served me a bun on my way from Bristol to Budapest.

Passenger besides me asked "Kacang aje?". The stewardess replied "Ada jus oren".

Luckily, teatime at 10.30. I ate and mingled as much as I could.

11:00 am, back in the conference room, I smsed a friend "How to get rid of sorethroat and get my voice back fast?, I got a presentation to make" The reply "Lemon+honey+warm water...good luck".

Why I never thought of that, I'd been doing that but I know the result was never fast enough.

Anyway, went down the coffee house, and I got what I wanted.

Met more people, new and familiar faces. Ideas exchanged, opportunities of collaboration was discussed. And I was like whispering all the time. Ladies went "Ohhh, and ahhh" upon learning that I'm pregnant again and still maidless.

After lunch, drank the second dose of lemon+honey.

No improvement, and I started to ask for help. Asked someone to present for me, but he had to be at a different session. There are two parallel session.

Had no choice, I passed a note to the chairperson, asking him to annouce the little problem that I have. But told him, I would still do it.

I just prayed I would not make a myself look like Charlie Chaplin in his silent movie.

I started with "I apologise for my voice, or the lack of it...". Of course people laughed, but I hope it was an entertainment after being attentive the whole day. I was grateful that I prepared my slides with huge wordings, I let them read and I explained only a few points.

All went pretty well, I was then approached by one of the participants to discuss more about my work. He suggested that he may be able to contribute in some ways.

Then, I had about 3 hours to kill. In the surau, I smsed hubby and the friend a pantun:

2 dose lemon+honey
suara macam itik serati
tapi present kalah menteri
mission accomplished, finally

Then both of them called me, and we talked and laughed.

I then, went down to walk around a bit. The makan place is just too far, and I didn't wear the right shoes. So, I went in a few duty free shops. Tried to look for something for the girls, only interested on the chocolates but think the girls have been getting too much sweets lately.

Finally, I settled for this. It is pathetic, I know.

Walking back to the hotel, I just missed the family so much. I always love Langkawi, I breathed in the air. Most participants come with families but we had to let go this one, hubby finished his leave days mostly on my fieldtrip.

There was a dinner with the Menteri Besar that night, I figured if they were on time, I would have some time to eat, knowing that I would be getting peanuts in the flight.

While waiting for the VIPs, I managed to talk to another lady from a different uni. We've known each other for many years, she is like a guru to me. We almost jumped like little girls when I told her about the new pregnancy and my research grant. And she is a Datin, a lady geologist with 10 kids. I would never believe it that a geologist could manage to have 10 kids. But she is a proof.

And as always, this sort of majlis starts late. I said goodbye to everyone and was off to the airport. Touched down at KLIA at almost 11 pm, and met the family at 11.30. I was worried more about Bea3, but hubby said she was ok. Bea2 seemed to be the one who missed me more, she hugged and kissed me, streacthed her arms wide in her carseat to do it over and over.

It's just good to be home, and it didn't look any messier from the time I left.

I was pooped but managed to entertain Bea1 with her Peter and Jane, and the new pencil for 1/2 hour before I was completely knocked out. And yes, they love the pencils.

Think I did well, and I deserve a reward. Too much sweets is bad for the kids, but never the mother. So, this what I'd been hiding from them:

And look at the whole hazelnuts in the white chocolate...yummmeh!

Another long rambling post again *sigh*

Added: I would never finished, hehe. People came to the ballroom for the dinner all nice in batik, Malaysian and Indonesian batik. And I was still in the same blouse and pants. Love looking at the ibu-ibu, and I was called ibu many times too.
I was not really excited, so didn't bring the camera, so no pics, now regret a bit. Anyway, there is a strong possibility for a trip to Sumatera next year. I'll bring my family, no matter what;). Ok, I'm finally done...ciao!


Anonymous butterflutter said...

Soo envy at the same time proud of you. Your passion for your job and family. All the best to you.

2:48 PM  
Blogger amira said...

i'm no geologist but i also feel very excited about your research. I saw this doc once on national geographic abt this researcher who found the ashes as far as .... mmm .. some country i cannot remember ... i think you should no better lah ...good good good ... I have always been fadcinated by Lake Toba ..... and it's people ...
BAtak karo .. makan orang ..

5:14 PM  
Blogger Mama22Beas said...

Butterflutter, I rarely leave comment in your blog but trust me I'm your regular reader. We do have a thing in common: maidless;).
Don't envy la...I'm just having fun with my work, to me what is important is we just do what we love, then we will be fine. that you mention that. Yes, recent studies find the distribution of the ash is wider than previously thought. It gave a huge impact on the climate. In Malaysia, it was found together with the paleolithic stone tools in Tampan. I hope you know about the discovery of 11,000 year-old Perak Man. But there is a conflict from previous and current findings about the age of the ash. The significance of this ash is related to human ancestors migration from Africa through Indian Coast to Malaysia, to Australia. We are trying to date all ash found in Malaysia, and figure out their sources as even from Toba, there were a few other huge eruptions, not only the famous 75k one. Comparison must be made from the ones near the source, that's why the plan to go to Sumatera.
From the Nat Geo prog, you know that the researcher said each eruption of volcano is like a fingerprint or DNA. No two same eruptions is interesting. The lady geologist pun asked me if I watched that show, and she suggested I should contact that guy.
Even a layman would get excited about this...haha, I just presented my paper again!
Anyway, Batak karo tu makan orang lagi ke *shiver*

11:12 AM  

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