I planned to make this post immediately after returning home. However, I became rather ill, so it got a little delayed. The first ever Clojure Conj is over, and now is the time for recovery. We’re back to our normal every day lives, but things will never be exactly the same for any of us. We’ve learned new things, met new people, discussed ideas with our teammates face to face, and had the time of our lives. I for one enjoyed every second of the conference. Every talk taught me something I didn’t know. I met people who I never imagined I would get to meet. I was greeted by an overwhelming number of friendly faces. I felt at home. The Conj brought a lot of firsts for me. My first plane ride. The whole process was generally smooth. I nearly missed my connection in Atlanta, but it all worked out in the end. No more than 4 hours of travel time in total to get there. About the same on the way back. The whole trip there and back came with excellent weather. The conditions on the east coast were everything one could ask for for a conference. The Hilton was awesome as well. Amazing staff, excellent rooms, a right-at-home feel that made being stuck in single building for the majority of two days not bother me at all. Choosing the Hilton for the conference venue is one of the smartest choices made for the Conj in my opinion. When I walked into the Hilton for the first time, the first person I saw was Chas Emerick (quite appropriately). I didn’t recognize him at first, but he recognized me. Just moments after I arrived, even more appropriately, Lance and Justin walked through the doors. Of course, I didn’t recognize either of them, but they recognized me. When we walked up to the counter to check in, the woman said “It’s about time! Everybody coming in here today has been asking if you’ve arrived yet.” A little later, Justin, Lance, and myself walked to Mez, a Mexican restaurant within reasonable walking distance of the Hilton. There we met Devin Walters, Alexy, and a whole group of people who I didn’t recognize but whom recognized me. The conference days were stunning, but exhausting. When the first conference day ended, it was pretty late. We spent some time at Tir Na Nog, and ultimately, I didn’t get to sleep until nearly 1AM. I woke up at 6AM the next morning to prepare. When I woke up, I could already tell I was beginning to get sick. My sinuses were a little achy. Luckily, the cold/sinus infection didn’t really set in until that night after the conference. It certainly made the trip home a serious bitch though. Aaron Bedra’s talk was on the second day. At one point during his talk, he had me stand up, handed me the mic, and asked me to explain to the conj-goers the circumstances leading to my being able to attend. Mind you, he didn’t tell me he was going to do that beforehand, so it’s sufficient to say that it took all of my willpower to not shit myself and keep myself steady. My legs were vibrating so hard, I’m surprised I didn’t knock over the table in front of me. However, several people have told me that they couldn’t tell I was nervous and that I did great, and I appreciate the lies. :) In the end of it all, I met almost everybody I could have hoped to meet. There were only around 4 speakers that I never got around to meeting face to face, including David Liebke and Phil Hagelburg. Maybe next year! I even met Mister Hickey himself on the first night at Tir Na Nog. Luckily, the light was dim and being in close proximity to his hair didn’t make my head explode. That would have been embarrassing. Everything that went into the trip was well worth it. Thanks again to everybody who donated, and to Relevance for waiving the admission fee, paying for my stay at the Hilton, and making me feel like family. I’d do it all over again 10 thousand times if I could. I loved every minute of it, and I can only hope that I can find a way to attend next year’s conference. I’m already addicted.