New Orleans Without My Peeps

March 30, 2011

Recently I was concerned with my responsibility for the cultural education of my children, only to discover that my children were equally capable of educating me. The use of the word ‘peeps’ in the title is another example of their influence. I was first introduced to the expression “peeps” or “peep-gang” as a modern alternative to the word ‘people’ through the lyrics of ‘Sammy The Salmon’, a song that we enjoy on long car rides, thanks to the technology of the ipod including it’s little connect-y cable that plugs into the supplied sound system of my people mover, my peep-gang mover, that allows my children to hook their own ipods up for the rest of the family’s enjoyment (or not).

The other part of the title, ‘New Orleans’, refers to the location of the conference that I will be attending in about a weeks time.

For the first time I’ll be heading off to the annual U.S. conference without my peep-gang from Melbourne.

Usually before even leaving Melbourne for an overseas conference, someone in the peep-gang takes care of restaurant bookings. I usually receive an email detailing the venues for dinner each night. Because of my peeps, I have fine dined in restaurants in Chicago, New York, Amsterdam and Helsinki. The other thing that someone in my peep-gang usually does is invite me to cocktail parties hosted by publishing houses and social events organised by academic faculties. Once I was even invited to a private party in Chicago in a roof-top condo, where I was educated on tequila varieties and listened to the host play harmonica in front of an open fire while it snowed outside. With my peeps, I’ve tasted some night life – blues clubs in Chicago, jazz clubs on Bleaker Street in New York, live music at the concert hall in Amsterdam and at a street festival in Helsinki.

But this time there will be no one to set up dinners before we go, and no one I can rely on for the impromptu things.

Its a little bit daunting, but also a little bit of an adventure.

I have put some measures in place for meeting new people. On the first night I will attend a dinner for international collaboration amongst a selection of participating universities and with the same group I have two breakfast engagements as well. I have signed up for a Mentor Luncheon with people interested in similar things to me. In addition, there are two receptions that I am eligible to attend and I have booked in for a walking tour of New Orleans’ French Quarter. This leaves still a couple of nights unaccounted for. My main aim in all of these opportunities for networking is to find some new peeps with whom I can experience some live music in New Orleans!

I have also bought a little travel pocket book about New Orleans that I intend to read some time during the 19 hours of travel. Any suggestions of must do and see things in New Orleans would also be greatly appreciated 🙂

(Of course, this is in addition to trying to do a good job presenting my paper and going to the sessions of interest to me. Work is the focus, yes sir!).

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