So one of the first things that INNOVA checked with me when i started working here was that i was invited to join them on a workshop happening at Debrecen University, and would i like to join the woman organising it, Brigitta. It was on a Saturday, so would i be ok with that. Of course i was, happy to help and take part and didn’t at all mind it was on a Saturday. So the weekend just gone was the day.....and what a day it turned out to be!
It started with a dinner on the Friday night in fact, for the people joining the workshop to meet in the hotel they were staying at as abit of an ice breaker before the conference the next day. So i joined in on that as well, and met the people that would be speaking the next day. I was still abit clueless at this point as to what the process was when these professionals have a conference. This was made clear to me the next day at the university – i finally was able to see a workshop happening and understood what part Brigitta had in this on behalf of Innova, and how it bought all these professors together to see the university, build networks and discuss the latest research and where they should take the next steps. It turns out they were all professors with a health background, 2 from Oxford Uni, 1 from USA, 1 from the Netherlands, 1 from Spain, 1 from Switzerland and 3 from Debrecen Uni itself. All the presentations the professionals made of course went well and truly over my head...but it was good to see it all happening and how Brigitta from Innova, and Marty from the uni had worked together to make this happen. Jobs for the day were giving out name badges at the beginning, sorting registers, directing to different rooms where people were running talks, that kind of thing. Brigitta and Marty had everything under control and the day ran smoothly. The lectures and workshops lasted from 8.30am to 4.30pm with breaks and dinner, but for the professors this was a walk in the park. I was utterly astounded by just how clever these people were, i mean they could talk about the yellow pages and you think it would be the most amazing book available. One of them, Gregg (originally from America who now works at Zurich Uni) had a conversation with me about the Opt in or Opt out policy recently happening with the NHS. He had to explain what this was. He knew 3 Lords in Parliament and I learnt more from this man in 2 days then i have in the past 5 years. He literally knew everything and i thought he was absolutely legendary. All the other professors were also brilliant and i enjoyed talking to each of them about anything (such as the euro, pollution on the environment or Margaret Thatcher) and everything else (Cheese. It appears in ever Hungarian dish i’ve eaten.)
So i was thrilled when i was also able to go to the evening trip with them. As the conference and professional bit was over, it had been organised (by Brigitta...big kudos) that whoever opted too, could visit Tokaj, the famous wine region of Hungary for a wine tasting session and dinner. There was a coach there that had already been sorted, and off we went on the 2 hour journey. I had a impressive debate with Gregg about Neuro degenerative diseases, and if you see an app in the future to help elderly people use technology for memory aid games etc, that's him. I also had an excellent conversation with an Oxford professor, Laurel, it turns out she was one of the 3 people that made Malibu and Baileys. As in, she actually created the drinks, tested them daily, and now they are on our shelves and in everyday life. Mind boggling.
So the wine tasting, ha. That was excellent. After a tour around the fermenting room to learn the process, through the cellars, and into the bottling room we had a wine tasting thing. Tokaj is all about white wine. I’m certainly no expert, i didn’t know wine had different smells and tastes...just colour, red or white! I just kinda smelt it, drank it, and pulled my face. It was an education! Some of them were actually nice, i can understand why people enjoy the range of flavours and what not. During the wine tasting in this 200 year old cellar the women were sat together and the men on a separate table. Us women shared woman jokes, attempted to say things in Hungarian, laughed immensely, got the giggles and left the men questioning what on earth we were actually drinking that they weren’t. Their confused expressions just led us to more laughter, and so much that Laurel cried and her glasses steamed up and my stomach hurt. Its a woman thing. And wine perhaps.
A whole lotta wine in a whole lotta cellar!
I think the people that worked there liked us (the guy thought we were very entertaining, i can’t imagine why) and let us try one more wine. It was a special wine, and it was worth 500 euro’s. 500!it looked like golden syrup and was by far the sweetest thing my taste buds have ever encountered. Sylvie proclaimed that it would go brilliant with ice cream, which created more laughter from everyone and we agreed it would be the most expensive and best ice cream *cue Jeremy Clarkson voice* in the world.
"Egészségedre! Can we have some ice cream?!"
(photo credits to Marty!)
So that is the story of my brilliantly random day at work last Saturday! I learnt lots about how Innova can be the middle link to these kind of workshops and the benefits they can have to bring professionals together in an education setting, or even a agriculture setting, or health setting that can bring business and rewards to the people and their countries. Plus, I enjoyed the day lots, and will certainly always have a story to tell!