I did not sleep well last night. The windows have to be left open here, since they don’t put on the air conditioning in the summer – too much power consumption – and first it was thunder and lightning, then the barking of the dogs (this university has an interesting dog situation, whereby its owner does not like to see stray dogs so he takes them in and there are many dogs on the campus), and then I finally slept until about 5 AM when the call to prayer for Muslims echoed eerily over the hills. Even in my exhausted state I had to think, “what if I had to hear that every morning?” And after that Manveer, my roomate, snored too much for me to return to sleep. I guess it’s just him bringing the karma back on me for all my snoring violations in the past.
The opening plenary was pretty good, with Ajda, the CCP, giving us an overview of the history of the road to IC 2007 in Turkey. We were introduced to the team leaders, including a very perky Canadian who will be the HR/Agenda Team Leader and therefore will be speaking to us in a perky Canadian way for 60% of our plenaries. After plenary we broke into teams – Marketing took the two Communications teamsters under its wing and Svetlana, our awesome Team Leader, went over our tasks and duties leading up to IC and during IC, which begins August 21 (and is completely logically labelled “Day 0” of the conference by AIESEC International). There are many difficult tasks ahead, especially for me who chose to be the ER Database manager, which means I’m accountable for getting the externals all checked into their hotels, making sure the payment happens, and making sure they get checked out too. This is made no simpler by AI’s contract with them, which states that they can sign up for the conference up to the day it begins. We’ll see how good of a crisis manager I am.
Most of the day was spent training for these duties and finishing our team presentation. For lunch the main campus eatery was full so some of us went upstairs to the “fast food” line and I had my first in-Turkey doner kebap. It was good, but I doubt it was strictly authentic. At dinner I got into one of those great conversations that only happens at international conferences with two Turks, a person from the PRC, someone from Taiwan, and someone from South Korea. We ranged from the Turkish elections to Turkey and the EU to PRC vs. Taiwan to the educational systems to the place of religion in our countries. It lasted at least an hour and a half. I came back up to the room at nine and fell asleep accidentally, and now while everyone else is in the chill-out area I am having jetlag whipping at my heels. There was probably more I wished to write about but it’s lost in the haze of half-sleep. Tomorrow will be a fuller day. We go into Istanbul on Saturday just for hanging out and doing whatever, and on Sunday we tour the venues at which IC will take place. So we’re working for the weekend, if you will.