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Last week, I was lucky enough to spend most of the week in San Francisco (Novato, actually) with my tribe. If you zoom back to July, 2012, my tribe had reconvened for Independence Day in Novato, where a delightful evening on Brian and Darin’s back patio resulted in a burst of creativity. I think the rum helped.

If I haven’t introduced you to my tribe, let me give a quick overview. Darin, Traci (from Sacramento), and I met in Jacksonville, FL, in 2009, at a Walden Residency. The three of us decided to go to the residency in Spain a year later, where we met Tawnya (from Oregon) and Darin’s partner, Brian. Darin’s new job moved the two of them from Canada to Novato, California, where Tawnya and I promptly invited ourselves to use their home as a retreat from the rest of the world. We have since reunited several times, and since Darin, Tawnya, Traci, and I are all PhD students, we often talk about school.

So, back to the rum on the patio. Tawnya and I are both professional educators. She works at the university level, while I work for a K-12 district. Both she and I are members of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and we had noted that the 2013 AERA conference would be held in San Francisco, where we could stay with Brian and Darin. But what to present? AERA is a prestigious researcher-driven conference… and so we combined our interests, and created a topic that was accepted by the AERA planning committee:

Are ESL Students Ready for Online Science? The Intersection of Poverty, Language, and Online Science Education (Read the full paper here!)

Since we were staying with friends, we were able to use times around conference events to do some sight-seeing activities, too! As an added bonus, Michael was able to join the festivities this time, and he and Brian took about a billion photos.

The final result? A good conference, an opportunity to present professionally, and a great meeting with friends. Perfect.