Monday, December 20, 2010

Where The Heart Is

Those of you who know anything about me know that I am completely and utterly in LOVE with the city of La Crosse, WI. Seeing as it was my home away from home for six amazing years of my life, it's where my heart is. That being said, you can probably imagine my excitement when I found out that I was going to be reunited with my old stomping grounds for a work conference at the beginning of December! People outside of the higher education world probably have no clue what these conferences consist of, so I'll briefly explain the one I attended. It's called WI-ACE (Wisconsin Association of Colleges and Employers), and the purpose of it is to bring career services professionals (like myself) as well as employers together in one organization in hopes of developing ways that we can work together to help students succeed in their internship and employment searches. Sounds exciting, right?! Well, this is the third time I've attended this conference, and let me tell you, it IS exciting! Call me a geek, but I love this stuff! I have met so many wonderful people, and these are professionals from schools all over the state. By getting involved and keeping myself visible, I'm not only creating some awesome working relationships, but I'm also ensuring that my name will be a familiar one if and when I ever start looking for a new job. Mind you, that's a long time down the road (if ever), but it's great to have this opportunity to network with people who have a passion for the same things I do. Anyway, enough geek talk and onto the rest of my trip. I was originally only supposed to be in La Crosse from Tuesday, 12/7 to Thursday, 12/9. Well, good 'ol Mother Nature decided to rear her head that Thursday, so instead of going back that day, I ended up stranded in La Crosse until Sunday. Thank goodness for my friend and former co-worker who allowed me to bunk with him for 3 more nights than originally planned. Betcha he didn't expect that. ;) And notice how I used the word stranded like it was a bad thing. Quite the contrary, my friends! Being "stuck" there gave me the opportunity to spend even more quality time with some of the best friends I've ever had, and I loved every minute of it! Not only that, but I got to eat at some of my favorite restaurants (i.e. Tequilas), drink at some of my favorite bars (i.e. Bennetts), and shop at some of my favorite stores (i.e. Dale's). What more can a person ask for on a "work" trip?! Gotta say, being in La Crosse for nearly 6 days felt pretty surreal. It kinda felt like I never left, and I'm already thinking about my next opportunity (or excuse) to go visit! The only downfall of being stranded there? Not being able to get home to meet my beautiful new niece Drew Elise Smith. She is the first of my 6 nieces and nephews that I didn't get to meet in the hospital, so that was a little tough for me. But thankfully, the holidays are upon us and I get to meet her in just a few short days. I seriously can't wait! Add it all up and we have an awesome conference, an extended stay in La Crosse, a new addition to the family, and a highly anticipated holiday vacation on the horizon. Sounds like a pretty stellar two weeks if you ask me. :)

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