I left Roma full of excitement and anticipation for the weeks ahead…surely this would finally be the place where I would find someone to help me take over the world?
(I would be a benevolent dictator of course…cats for everyone!)
After a pleasant train ride I arrived at my hotel in Bologna and was given my info pack including the readings for the first day…
“what!” I hear you say…”readings?”
Yes, technically, this ‘Symposium’ was NOT meant to be a ‘holiday’…but more of a ‘learning’ and ‘networking’ experience (future posts will reveal how us IPSI folk negotiated these elements during our stay).
Needless to say all my first impressions were good. Although as I read through the information pack and met the other participants my anxiety started to climb. All my expectations had already been exceeded (this is rare for someone who tries to always expect the worse)…
Firstly, this ‘International Peace and Security Institute’ (IPSI) seemed to actually be a legit organisation…they weren’t just planning to take my money and run, forcing me to have an embarrassing return to Australia.
Secondly, everyone attending seemed so experienced and intelligent. I was assuming because they had let me in that all other participants must have been pity invites too…I was very wrong.
So I started to worry…what would happen when it was revealed that I was really just a bar wench, a fraud? one of those chicks with the poser degree but no real street cred! What would happen when I had to explain that I was not actually form Sydney, but a coal mining town…or worse yet…what would happen when the cat is let out of the bag and it is revealed that I have a slightly abnormal appreciation for felines?????
I handled this in my classic rational and mature style…I unleashed verbal diarrhoea upon my new friend and roomate Claire:
Turns out I did a little too much verbalising of my thoughts..to the extent that I kept Claire awake most nights… sleep talking, sleep giggling and snoring. Major Oooops. But I think we got through it, in fact I think you could even say that we were friends by the end of the Symposium! Right Claire?
NB. She has to say yes…after all this was a Symposium on Conflict Prevention, Resolution and Reconciliation and we all know that Friendship is the one type of ship that you can’t sink…easily…most of time…well, you get the point!