Texas was great. The people were nice - a lot more eye contact than here which was interesting. I was fascinated that there were plants that would be right at home here -monstera, lantana, papayas (in the Alamo!), but there were also oaks and maples and mainland-y things like that.
Checking out craigslist for "farm and garden" was interesting, too - horses were MUCH cheaper, but sheep were MUCH more expensive.
We were stuck pretty much in tourist land, but it was still quite a lovely city. The convention center was just across a couple of streets from our hotel, but one day we headed out to a National Park and the San Jose mission and through an area settled by Germans - nice houses.
The conference, ISTE 2013, was overwhelming, as usual - 18,000 participants, 500 vendors, bunches of kids and teachers and "edtech gurus" presenting 100s of sessions. I kept sitting in sessions and watching twitter and feeling like I wished I could be in 8 places at once. Just too much to do, and it is all at the same time. There were probably 100 of us from all three campuses and lots of other teachers from other Hawaii schools - even some from my alma mater. The last night we were there, we had a dinner for the teachers from the three campuses at a lively and large Mexican restaurant. We sang our grace which is the Doxology in Hawaiian and then some of the folks sang along with the mariachi singers. It was fun and far too much food. A platter for "four" came with about 4-5 lbs of chuck steak, most of a chicken, and a piled high bed of peppers, onions, and a large chile relleno and two containers of fresh homemade tortilla. Very yummy.
I would like to go back there, except getting there was painful. Flying isn't as much fun as it was when I was a kid. We took a red-eye there, which was awful, and we spent 15 hours (from the time we got into the airport shuttle to landing in Hilo) traveling to get home. One the way there, I was lucky that I got seated next to my son. It's easier to sleep if you can kind of not worry about leaning on the person next to you - well, it was easier for him. I didn't sleep at all. On the way back, I was surrounded by teachers - my son had bonded with the group of kids who came and he wanted to sit with them - plus they had iPads to play games and watch movies.
Speaking of iPads, I was so hoping to win one! I didn't, though someone from our school did. I did trudge around the Expo and put in all the slips for the drawings, but with 18,000 folks there - chances are pretty small. I only really need one for conferences like that - although we're supposed to get new projectors which work well with iPads which lets you walk around the classroom and not be stuck up at the cart so I guess it would be good to have one.
I would have loved to take some of the farm tours near San Antonio and to take a lesson from a dressage judge in the area that my friend just scribed for in a local show. I would have loved to see a few museums, too. I'd like to take my own group of students next year and do some of those things with them - I am hoping to do a project with some Australian and New Zealand teachers and it would be cool to do something around that.
Oh well, that's next year. Now I need to focus on the projects around here - cleaning, gardening, canning.