As noted earlier, I was in impossibly quaint Burlington, Vermont at the UVM (Universitas Viridis Montis, in case you're curious) for the weekend to hang out with scientists from other countries. The main point of the meeting was for everyone to say "hey, this is what we're doing" and "promote exchanges" which had the feel of an academic key party. I think that the people from Seattle breathed a sigh of relief when the focus was revealed to be transatlantic, negating fears of being shipped off to a mouse lab in Oklahoma.
This took the form of groups giving short overviews of their research and individuals giving longer talks, aiming to be educational. Some were less thrilling than others, but since the meeting was small everyone attended every session. So, seeing the faculty dozing off sort of implied permission for frequent public napping when the basic science lectures were too much. I swear that sleepiness is contagious.
The two and a half days were heavily scheduled, so the non-listening to talks parts were filled with opportunities to make small and/or scientific talk with people from Leuven, Leiden, Amsterdam, Paris, Oklahoma, and Burlington over lunches, dinners, or in "breakout" or poster sessions. Having not gotten enough of each other during the days, we even ventured into downtown one night and the hotel bar another. To many people's relief, it even snowed, allowing for a brief snowball fight before dinner at an art museum during which I hit one of my advisors in the face (The absence of any animosity for this freak occurrence of good aim can be attributed on the lightly packed snowball and the target's face being protected by her eyeglasses).
Though I'm probably not communicating it properly, it was a pretty neat meeting.
We had a few hours on Sunday between the close of the meeting, everyone making fun of my choice of attire, and the scheduled departure of our flight; so we walked from our hotel to the (not "Great") Lake Champlain waterfront where we saw insane people kayaking. We also had time for lunch in a crowded bistro that served glüg.
All of my flights were slightly late and most of the cab drivers in Burlington seemed mildly insane.