Ann Arbor Reunion 2.0

From October 26th to 30th I traveled to Ann Arbor for the ACADIA 2016 conference. BeniAtlas was accepted as a project and I was still able to register as a student. I even received one of the student scholarships so that the only expense was the cost of traveling there. Because ACADIA was held in Ann Arbor this year I felt like I had no excuse not to attend! It also meant that I could visit and stay with my good friend Lauren who I lived with when I was in Congo and visited in Ann Arbor last year. I also got to meet her husband Ben. Once again I stopped at my parents place to pick up the van. Once again I left my passport in Toronto and had to go back and get it (so mad at myself!!)! Once again I dropped in on Katelynn and Mike in Windsor before heading across the border. This time I had no trouble at the border! Hooray for having a more official reason for traveling! I arrived at Lauren’s quite late but we still chatted for an hour or so to catch up a bit on life. I knew already that this time with her would be too short.

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Feeling very at home on what used to be Jon and Kate’s couch!

I spent the next three days attending conference sessions and events. I will outline my favourite presentations/projects in my next post! On Friday evening Ben and Lauren took me out for dinner. After a long discussion (there are many good places to go in Ann Arbor), we ended up at Zimmermans, a classic deli that is famous for it’s incredible sandwiches. They were as good as advertised! We even stayed for dessert and I tried some delicious spiced hot chocolate. The next day I skipped the morning sessions so that I could spend a bit more time with Lauren and Ben. They took me for breakfast to Cultivate, a cafe/bar/community non-profit where Lauren used to work and where Ben sometimes offers free physics tutoring. Lauren went behind the counter and made me my first ever flat white (yes, please add another shot of espresso to my cappuccino)! I had such a wonderful time conversing with these two incredible people! Lauren was hoping to arrange a time to introduce me to Sush and Morgan, a couple who are friends from their church and have supported the work of the Congo Initiative. We didn’t hear from them and so started walking home, only to run into them on the way! So back we went to the cafe to meet and talk for a little longer! I learned about a small initiative called Neema (meaning Grace in Swahili) that they started along with Jon to provide start-up loans for small businesses in and around Beni, DRC. It goes to show how much you can love and serve a community even from the other side of the world!

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Zingerman’s: An Ann Arbor rite of passage

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Hanging out at Cultivate

I went back to conference events for that afternoon and evening. We had planned to maybe go to a halloween party with Ben’s physics friends (Ben suggested we could dress up as the two up and one down protons that make up an atom…so awesomely nerdy lol!), but the conference banquet went much later than I thought. Even though I didn’t arrive back at their home until close to 10pm, Lauren and Ben were still up for concluding the evening by watching an episode of Doctor Who! The following morning I joined them at Grace Church and then afterwards began the long solitary drive home. What a fantastic few days! The conference was inspiring and you will hear more about it shortly! From now on I am trying to separate my personal posts from posts relating to design or research.

 

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