My IATEFL Glasgow Diary Part 1

Saturday the 24th March. Just a week ago, I was just arriving in Glasgow for the annual IATEFL conference. And before you can say ‘Twitteratti’s tweetup’, the week was over.

Being one of the official IATEFL Glasgow bloggers (as evidenced by the lovely badge given to me), I must start by explaining why it has taken me this long to write my first IATEFL blog. The excuses are as follows: I had issues with getting on to wifi, especially with my laptop and the conference hotel certainly wasn’t very wifi-friendly; the sessions I went to were so impressive that I was busy tweeting the sessions (usually with my iPad, but when wifi failed, I had to resort to the 3G on my iPhone); the evenings were jam-packed with exciting social activities and often involved drinking with the wonderful TEFLers, going on till the wee hours of the morning. I am sure by now you fully sympathise with how hard life was this week and will generously accept a series of reflective blogposts in the style of a backdated journal entry instead.

As I said, I arrived last Saturday, and after a lovely dinner at Café Gandolfi (thanks Andy Cowle for suggesting it on the IATEFL Facebook page – who says social media is a waste of time?), we proceeded to attempt a St Patrick’s Day celebration at the nearby O’Neil’s. The pub was packed with punters dressed like sexy Leprechauns, but the bouncers weren’t quite so attractive. They wouldn’t let anyone else in and were downright rude, even going to the extent of not letting some of the TEFLers who had already been drinking there for a few hours back into the pub. But thanks to Adam Beale’s (@bealer81) friend, a Glaswegian local, Ben (Hi Gary!), the night was saved as he took us to a couple of other bars for lengthy chats till 3am.

Adam Beale and friend Ben, Mike Hogan and myself (not in pic) celebrating St Patrick's Day just before the conference kicks off.

The following day, a wasted trip was made to the Apple Store only to find out that they had sold out on the adaptor I needed for my presentation. A spate of panic on Twitter resulted in lots of lovely Samaritans coming to the rescue and offering solutions that ranged from lending me their adaptors to buying one for me from the Duty Free store at the airport on their way into Glasgow (Special Thanks to Marisa Constantinides, Anthony Gaughan, Martin Sketchley and especially Shaun Wilden). The problem was eventually solved by the wonderful Carl Dowse of the BESIG Online Team who managed to obtain a variety of adaptors for MacBooks to ensure that my laptop would definitely be connected to the projector (And thank you to Cornelia Kreis-Meyer for lending Carl and me your adaptor!)

Outside the Apple store, we bumped into Burçu Akyol (@burcuakyol) and Hakan Senturk (@hakan_sentrk) who were looking for the right Starbucks where an apparent tweetup was taking place. We ended having a mini-tweet up of our own over a couple of mochas, much to the disappointed of several Twitterers who couldn’t for the life of them understand why we were donating money to one of the biggest coffee conglomerates in the world instead of finding a traditional local café instead…

(Sorry @phil3wade and @kenwilsonlondon !)

That evening, while the IATEFL organizing committee enjoyed bagpipers and gourmet Scottish food at the welcome dinner, the BESIG gang was led through the Glaswegian underground system by Candy Van Olst and Akos back to Café Gandolfi (Note: this is my 2nd trip to Gandolfi in 2 days) for some Cullen Skink, haggis, neeps and tatties, while discussing the ins and outs of the Pre-Conference Event (PCE) that was to take place the following day.  The night ended with drinks at the hotel bar with Carl and Vicki Hollett as we readied ourselves for the start of IATEFL Glasgow’s Pre-Conference Event for BESIG…and my opening talk…

The BESIG PCE gang meeting for a Pre-Pre-Conference Event

To be continued…

Author: Chia Suan Chong

I am a writer, communication skills trainer and a teacher trainer based in York, UK. I have been English Teaching Professional's resident blogger since 2012 and have a regular feature in their bimonthly magazine. My book Successful International Communication was published in Dec 2018.

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