Week 6: Jlag (Inebriated Networkers, Atomium’s Attic, and the Summer School in Spain)

Week 6: Jlag  (Inebriated Networkers, Atomium’s Attic, and the Summer School in Spain)

Play:  On Thursday, I met some friends at Place du Luxembourg, or Place Lux as the locals call it.  It is a square outside of the European Quarter that fills with young interns and professionals looking to network on Thursday evenings.  The business cards flow as freely as the drinks, and many dreams come true here!  (That’s the legend I’ve heard, anyway.)  I was not so lucky to be given a dream job, but I did have some very interesting conversations- I spoke with someone about what street performers add to a tourist destination, and spoke with others about what sustainability means to tourism, countries and the world as a whole.  The place was teeming with business suits and high heels, and a plethora of languages.  Standing in a group of 12 or so, I heard Italian, French, English, and Spanish, oftentimes being thrown around just for some conversational fun and practice.  It was a unique experience.  But best to get out before the sun does!

The entrance to the Atomium
The entrance to the Atomium
Underneath the Atomium
Underneath the Atomium

Saturday: It is the Year of Light, deemed so by UNESCO, and as my job at home is for a lighting company, I thought I would go and view the exhibition at the Atomium on Saturday.  It was alright, and consisted mainly of concepts I am familiar with.  I got the 360 view from the top of the Atomium, which was pretty cool- and the structure itself is very unique.

View from a middle cell in the Atomium
View from a middle cell in the Atomium
A lovely forest opened up into an expansive green park near the Atomium.
A lovely forest opened up into an expansive green park near the Atomium.

Afterwards, I walked the park nearby- a large forest and rolling wide open spaces, and I stumbled upon a musical festival (seeing a common theme yet?).  It was almost a protest, but expressed via loud electronic beats coming from at least a dozen different vehicles, speaker setups, and stands, with lots of dreadlocks, hand-rolled cigarettes, bare feet and endless swaying, jumping, dancing.  I bought myself a beer for 2 euros, and walked around the park, listening to all the different types of beats, and watched all the gentle activists protest through dance and bass.  They were protesting the fees required when personal groups want to have a gathering.  I suppose I should have asked if they paid the governing body in order to have this protest- when the thought crossed my mind, I finished my beer and moved on.

Basilique Nationale du Sacré-Cœur à Koekelberg.  (The Basilica of the Sacred heart in Koekelberg)
Basilique Nationale du Sacré-Cœur à Koekelberg. (The Basilica of the Sacred heart in Koekelberg)

Sunday, I went to the market again.  It’s so great, because I am very fatigued lately, (I think just because I have been so busy) but I don’t have to get too motivated to go out to the market, because it is right outside my door.  I feel very lucky!   I was able to pick up some new shirts, as I am going to Spain next week for a conference.  (The clothes washers here tends to leave my clothes looking quite drab, so I need a few presentable outfits for the conference).  In the evening I took my camera for a walk, and visited Park Elizabeth and the Basilique that is within a 10 minute walk from me.  I have not been there yet, and I can’t believe it!  It is another sprawling park, with lots of green grass and seems to be a popular place for kids to play soccer and lovers to sit quietly.  It was very impressive- I couldn’t believe how large the Basilica was!

Basilique Nationale du Sacré-Cœur à Koekelberg
Basilique Nationale du Sacré-Cœur à Koekelberg


I am finalizing my first case study, and beginning a second, and my discussion with the project manager was very fruitful.  We have been corresponding and fine-tuning the first case study, and I am happy to say that it is going well, especially for my first attempt.  I was given some good reference material from Dr. Dorsey for forming qualitative case studies, so that has proven useful.

This upcoming week, I go to Basque County, Spain.  I am very much looking forward to this trip for several reasons:

  • Wine.  That shouldn’t be first, but, come on… Spanish winery tour!
  • The “Summer School” Conference. This is going to be a very informative, fun, interesting and helpful conference for me.  The conference will be somewhat small; it is focused on sustainable tourism; I will recognize some people there and I will meet some people that are likely to help me with my research from this point forward.  There are lots of activities outside the conference planned (such as the winery tour) so there will be an opportunity to engage with people outside of the stiff indoor environment.  I very much look forward to that.
  • I get to see Spain! I hear this particular area is beautiful, and with the extra activities planned, I will have an opportunity to see outside the city of Bilbao, and into the country side, a wetlands reserve, vineyard location and also see some city sights, as there are several tourist sites within a brief walk.
  • I love food, and love trying new food, and this region is supposed to have some special traditional dishes.  We are also going to be exposed to these throughout the conference and social activities.  The great thing about this event is that it is not only just to exchange information through presentations and discussions, but also it is highlighting a tourist destination (Basque County), so the organizers thought it was important to combine the event with activities, food and experiences that really show the culture and heritage of the region.  I love this.  I love this field.
  • Meeting other certified PM4SD PMs. The Summer School is mainly set up for those that have taken the course, so I will get to meet and interact with people that are qualified PM4SD professionals, and see where their work is taking them.  I have so many questions on how they are utilizing the program in the field!

I am looking forward to reporting back on how the Summer School for PM4SD goes.

I love that life is an open-air classroom.  I imagine I will forever see it this way.  I know, and love, that I will always be a student, but hope that along the way if there is someone that can learn from me, I can play the role of a teacher as well.


  1. Holly, I laughed, or at least smiled, throughout your entire post. I love that you cover work and play separately, but can’t help having elements of each leak into the other section. Such is life. As a student who brought her kids along, I am in a constant struggle to separate my intern from my mom duties, but it is hard to separate our professional from our personal lives on this experience, don’t you think? You are doing it splendidly. Me? less so. But your post is inspiring to keep working hard AND enjoy along the way.

    1. Karina, Thanks so much for your comment! I know you are doing wonderful balancing duties, although it can’t be easy. And luckily for us, our studies are of the nature that they can inspire us throughout our daily lives- we are a few of the lucky ones. So you are absolutely right; our personal and professional and academic lives may and probably should, leak into each other. This experience, beyond classroom work or book studies is in fact, life, so it’s great that you have brought your kids and maybe can even share some experiences with them and let them teach you some things! Your balance of work, life, play, family is inspiring- I wish you all the luck on your continued journey of being SuperMom, or SuperIntern, or SuperStudent… whichever cape you don at the moment. I look forward to watching your superhero adventures!

      1. I usually use the metaphor of wearing different hats, but I like the one about donning different capes. Yes, I think I’ll adopt it. Thank you!

      2. This thread between you and Karina is inspiring! It’s so hard sometimes to have the balance. Last week, I had no balance and I was not happy here. This past weekend was totally awesome and so much fun! And now that I’ve had this balance, I feel that the upcoming week will be a piece of cake. (In reality, it really might not be. Such is life, as you said.)

  2. I love reading about your adventures! It sounds like you’re getting real hands-on experiences and great opportunities. How wonderful for you! So excited about your upcoming trip to Spain and looking forward to hearing more about the tourism.

  3. Fruitful!!! Love that word !!!

    You are an amazing student and a professional teacher!!!

    Like everything you did and introduced sustainability to others in tourism industry!!! Thank you!!!

    Also, food and wine!! Definitely an important part of tourism !!! Enjoying!!!
    Foodie Xiaomin 😍

  4. Thank you all! I have been so busy at the conference this past week, I need to catch up on all of your adventures, and post more of my own. Xiaomin, thank you always for your kind words of support. You are always inspiring! Ericka, it’s crazy- the ups and downs of familiarizing yourself with a new physical place, mental space and personal/professional role. It can be so exciting, then frustrating, then motivating, then disappointing. How can we market the fact that we have learned to manage so many emotions in such short times and yet we remain so calm, cool and collected?! Haha 🙂 There MUST be some value in that, right? 🙂 Anyway, hang in there- glad to hear you’ve hit an upswing- I hope it continues!

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