Monday, April 23, 2012

Spin like a Yo-yo

I know it is a bit challenging to imagine a hippo spinning like a Yo-yo, but that is exactly how I felt in the past 1.5 months.  Most of the time I managed to do it as elegant as a ballet dancer; occasionally, however, I found myself being a clumsy figure skater, losing my balance and cracking the ice at the same time...

 It was definitely a busy (and dizzy) period, so my sincere apology for those of you who has been eager to read my new posts ;).  I just realized the last one was dated March 7, although it felt like not long ago.

So what kept this hippo spinning?  Let's see, where should I start?

Aha, travel.  Somehow I managed to travel to Melbourne three times, Sydney once and New Zealand once during this period.  Even though most trips had multiple destinations, in total I spent about 3.5 weeks away from home... Surprisingly enough, I haven't picked up any flu virus yet (knock, knock...).  But I wouldn't have had time to be sick anyway :(

I spent the majority of the 1.5 months organizing a workshop, whether on the road or at home.  It was the final workshop for a research project I've been working on in the past two years, and 25 people from all over Australia attended it.  I pretty much organized everything logistic for the workshop, including things as minor as printing name displays and as major as setting the agenda for the two-day workshop.  I was also the contact for all the attendees, who had to come to me for their flights and accommodation.  This logistic side of the workshop turned out to be very time-consuming, and I finally understood why "event organizer" could be a full-time job.

The research side of the workshop was not as demanding time-wise, but it was definitely a lot more challenging and stressful.  50% of the stress came from the fact that as the facilitator of the workshop, I was the one who had to face and react to  participants' immediate responses.  The other half of the stress originated from the new tools and techniques we used, including an instant audience response system, a Structured Decision-Making model constructed with a new software, and a spatial-explicit bioeconomic model that produced some wrong numbers the day before the workshop.  

In the end, the workshop went fairly well, even though there was half an hour or so on day two, I lost most of the participants when trying to explain how to do swing weighting...oh well, something to work on in the future!

I am still recovering from the workshop and the spinning period, but I will try to blog (and back-logging) industriously at the mean time...

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