BY Celestin

Feb 2020

How the OT started...

My first ever academic conference was held in Albuquerque. When I got accepted to present, I googled it and realised it was in the South. As a black brit, the connotations of the American south are vivid and negative. I immediately thought, KKK, police brutality and dungarees. I know a sister from NY and I asked her what I should expect. She basically shrugged, she had never been. Anyway, suffice it to say, the conference was actually really good and I made one or two connections that I keep to this day. There wasn't really much to see in Albuquerque, but I wasn't really looking. There's a big native American culture there though and chatting with the few that I met was enlightening. I also learned the meaning of southern hospitality, everyone says hello, good morning etc. and when you leave a tip for your waiter they don't just say 'thanks' they will look you dead in your eye and say 'i appreciate you' for some reason that just felt deep to me. There was one moment where I thought I was going to get stopped by the police, I was shook! Luckily they were just making a random U-turn. Anyway, I don't think I'll ever go back to Albuquerque but nothing bad happened to me when I was out there but I wouldn't really recommend it unless its a stop off.