This past weekend I went to the NJEA convention in Atlantic City. I've never gone before, so I decided this was the year to initiate myself. What an overwhelming experience!
Got to the convention on Thursday morning after too few hours of sleep. Went to three workshops that day, which meant that I was not going to have time for lunch. Bah. Luckily, I had a "special helper" who was kind enough to bring me food, considering the union doesn't like the convention food vendors and therefore there was no food at the convention - nor time to get some, with only a half-hour between sessions and a handful of places within walking distance.
After the sessions were over that day, some downtime was needed (so many people, so much noise, so much confusion!) and then food. Dinner was finally acquired at Johnny Rockets (yay for vanilla cokes and apple pie!) and we visited a few casinos - the Sands was about to close that weekend, so we stopped in for a look. I then blew a whopping $10 on the penny and nickel slots (woo hoo - big spender!) and then went to bed.
Friday I ended up doing only two sessions - at that point, I'd had enough of sitting for two hour segments! It was a good thing I did that, though- when back in the exhibits again, I visited the booth of the people who publish the textbooks I use. The guy started up a conversation, and then, since the exhibit floor was soon getting ready to close, he gave me five teacher edition textbooks for my series! Now I have almost a complete set of them to keep at home! :) Yay!
Saturday we went to Point Pleasant and played skeeball and arcade games before heading home. It was a good weekend, but hectic and tiring and involving a lot of stuff. But I am glad I went, saw, and conquered. And experienced.
Next time I go, I know I really need to plan ahead. I ended up only being able to acquire a room at a chain hotel that is normally fine for just sleeping, but in this case was not quite so nice. I know now to plan enough in advance and stay at one of the many casino hotels, aiming for the ones closest to the convention center. I know it means more planning and more money, but it will be worth it. Atlantic City, on the whole, is not the greatest place to be, so it is best to be in an environment where there are lots of lights and security people. Also, I will know that it might be a good idea to have dinner reservations made in advance if you want to eat anywhere nice, and also know the phone numbers of local take-out places in terms of getting lunch at the convention. I wonder if places would deliver if you asked them to? Hmmm....