So as you may have noticed, I missed a day of blogging.
I HAVE A VALID EXCUSE.
The after party ended around 2am. And you don’t want me to blog while I’m borderline drunk.
So where should I start, lets start with the bad, because I like to end things on a high note.
I’m experiencing the post-conference withdrawal now.
It’s a combination of being alone and having no one to share all this *gestures at the air*, this being the whole lisbon conference experience, with, suddenly being denied (good) human contact after like an intensive socializing session and having spent all HP.
I want to leave but I don’t want to leave. Well I want to go home but I don’t want to return to a country that’s full of people whom I can”t really talk to. But to be honest staying won’t change anything either because it’s not LISBON people I miss, it’s the people at the conference, and they are from all over the world.
This leads to my mild bout of self-kicking because, yes I’m a venus Libra, but I can only manage Ms. Social-butterfly in flashes. Once my HP draws blank…well it’s back to being the socially awkward introvert. It honestly doesn’t help that my INFJ ‘I think I’ve shared too much’ anxiety is flaring up. Rationally I know that I probably did not embarrass myself in any way and left a pretty good impression, I’m just not a social person, I suck at keeping in contact with people and networking and all that. I’m a great conversationalist, I can talk to anyone and have a good time doing so, but actually establishing a relationship? That part is awkward as hell to me. So here I am, being upset at myself for this dimension of social awkwardness, though to be fair, I think I did very well already. And now the wise cactus in me is coming out to counsel the silly emo me.
If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be, granted maybe if I tried harder or did something else I might have established more networks and friendships, but LETS FACE IT, I am a moon bottle, these bonds are always loose on us. And the likelihood of finding some kind of actual friendship at an international conference that lasted a grand total of 1 day is slim to none. So really, all this lingering sadness is more of a sad resignation towards the fact that potential friendships have slipped away. (And the cynical chocomon would like to point out that chances are if you spent more time with all these people you’d start not liking them so much, cause, introvert corn.) So, focus on the good, you’ve had great conversations, met lots of people, had your eyes opened to more of the world, collected more stories…all that is above and beyond the objectives you set you achieve! (Not to mention priceless) If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be, you’ll meet all the right people again some day, some time. You’ve tried. Now it’s time to go back to your hermit cave and use all those inspiration you just got!
…That and, you already know you’re a weird person (case in point you’re talking to yourself in third person right now), anyone who doesn’t find that weirdness endearing are not meant to be friends, end of story.
Phew, I feel so much better after playing my own shrink.
So moving on, THE CONFERENCE.
It is money well-spent. Like, more than well-spent.
Where do I start? I don’t really want go into details of the content because I have separate notes and reflections for that. So I guess I’ll start with why the whole thing was so worth it.
First is definitely the people. I kind of feel like I got put into my place, but at the same time it’s so eye-opening. The world is so big. There are all sorts of people. Makes you want to aim higher, also makes you feel like the world is full of amazing stories and people. Coming from Asia, I’ve opened my eyes to so much more of European way of life now, whether or not it’s my cup of tea is another story. But that’s the point, step out of your comfort zone and see what’s out there. All these people, I would never have the chance to meet them normally, not putting myself down, I’m just not at a station where I would normally encounter these people, and a lot of them are better than me in many ways (not saying that I don’t have my own awesomeness), and decidedly more successful. So being given a chance to meet all these people, talk to them and be treated like an equal is amazing. A little intimidating, but amazing.
Second is the indirect things I’ve learnt. I have so many ideas for the TEDxSentosa Conference now and even more ideas for the company. More than that, I’m more certain about what I want to do now. At first I thought I would like to work for Monocle, but seeing them in person, I realize I don’t. They want to inspire doers, they won’t actually do anything despite all their bright ideas, they want someone to take those ideas and do it. And guess what, I’m a doer. I want to do things. Of course, they’re looking at more influential people, bigger figures than me. But hey, inspiration is free domain, even if what I can do is TINY, there are no rules saying I can’t do it. In my book, small change is better than no change. So yea, I’m going to take all the ideas I’ve learnt and come up with and slowly realize them!
The third thing isn’t really related to the conference, not directly. But this trip has allowed me to do so much soul searching. I’ve come to realize how insanely multi-dimensional I am. Like seriously, I am like a positive advocate/activist, gamer, foodie, otaku who speaks 5 languages, likes music, dance and singing, does photogrpahy and videography and is interested in health, urban planning and themed entertainment. Oh and is also a writer. Yea…talk about jack of all trades master of none. But yea, that’s not the main soul-searching. The main soul-searching is really just bonding with myself. Experiencing my human condition, of loneliness, fear, excitement etc. Finding out where the edges of me end and the rest of the world starts. I’ve come to accept more of my flaws, improved some of them and appreciate myself that much more. And that is priceless. I’d like to think that I have a very good relationship with myself, which is very important for hyper self-aware people such as myself.
I have also come to realize I don’t know what to do when faced with interest from the opposite sex. On one hand flirting is fun, on the other hand I don’t want to lead people on…I don”t quite know what to do when it’s not clear-cut. I get on fine if I know the exact intentions, but when the intentions are vague…I either over-read or under-read it and…either way it ends up awkward. I guess I’m confined to gender neutral interactions forever.
Moving on! SIGHTS AND SOUNDS!
I walked 10km today. Walked from Cafe Lisboa to the beach and walked all along the beach until the art museum and all the way up back to the hotel. I know it’s short, really short, just 3 hours, but I feel like I’ve seen more of Lisbon and felt more of it than people sightseeing, visiting attractions and eating the foods. Honestly, I don’t want to do those things because I want to share those experiences with someone and there is no one at the moment. So instead I chose to ‘sight-see’ in a way that only I can do when I’m alone. Walk. Getting lost in a foreign city, watching its stones disappear under your feet really helps you get a feel for the place. I see where all the neighbourhoods connect and transit into each other. From the tourist areas to the everyday residential district, to the more up-class residential areas and back to the tourist area. I see how their people live, the types of people that lives in the folds of this city, I’ve seen the city beyond its gloss, and it’s inspiring. So much of Lisbon isn’t perfect but it’s still so charming, so real. And so different. It’s refreshing. I won’t live here, but I wouldn’t mind visiting for a few days and experiencing the city and its people again. I feel like I understand Europe more now, after that 3 hours. I think this level of understanding and experiencing beats visiting ancient castles and eating tarts. I mean the attractions and food will always be there, the Lisbon that I saw today will not. The people will change, the city will change. It’s also a very fruitful day given how many photos I have taken. =D sadly Tweddy didn’t get to have a photoshoot because Lisbon isn’t very clean and I have my concerns putting Tweddy down at places where he’ll get dirty. But Tweddy experienced Lisbon with me, felt it with me, I’d like to think he grew with me as a seasoned traveler.
So what am I going to do when I go back? I don’t know. I feel like making film, taking photos, writing, singing, dancing, organizing event and starting projects all at the same time. Obviously I can’t do that. So i’ll need to sit on it.
The final note?
I had fun.
I genuinely had fun.
I can’t remember when’s the last time I actually truly enjoyed myself. I think that’s really why I’m a little sad. Because I had fun, I enjoyed and now that moment has ended, so of course it’ll be a bit sad. It’s kind of like leaving Disneyland. Except with Japan, I know I will miss it, so I manage my expectations in advance. I wasn’t expecting to really enjoy this experience so much, the unexpected joy and fun resulted in unmanaged expectations when the whole experience came to an end. Well hence I am hammering away on this keyboard to manage my newfound sadness.
But yea, it’s just been amazing.
My life from here on out will have been shaped considerably by this experience.
VERDICT ON MY UBER SHORT LISBON ADVENTURE: PRICELESS