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I’m writing this post on the bus into work, and boy, is it like coming back to reality with a bump.

I’ve been reading a few of the immediate reflections of those at IATEFL, from the exhaustive detail of Chia, the heartfelt thoughts of Adam, Jemma’s also touching post, Laura’s almost-machine gun speed publishing, among others. The thoughts and feelings that IATEFL stirs are quite something.

I was only at the conference for the last two days this year, having been present for the full five in Brighton in 2011. I’ll be honest, I was pretty nervous about it all. Last year I was part of a four, with Phil, Callie and Amanda, for our session. This time I was presenting by myself. For some reason, IATEFL made me feel more nervous than any other conference I have presented at so far, even the crazy craziness of ISTEK.

Not just that, I was also a bit worried about coming in to the conference days after everyone else. I knew there would be friends there, those I’d previously met face to face and those I only knew online. But, would I find them, would they recognise me (I’d had a haircut), would they be…too hungov- I mean, conferenced out…

It seemed the former to begin with. I saw some familiar faces, spotted others from afar (I’m not the type to butt in to flowing conversation, nor shout out people’s names). I wandered to the plenary by myself. But it soon became clear that these would become two of the best conference days ever. Actually, scratch that. Two of the best DAYS ever.

These are some of the people who made it special: Jemma Gardner, Adam Beale, Emi Slater, Barb Sakamoto, Vicky Saumell, Willy Cardoso, Mike Hogan, Adam Simpson, Chia Suan, Sue Lyon-Jones, Martin Sketchley, Anthony Gaughan, Carol Goodey, Callie Wilkinson, Ceci Coelho, Bruno Andrade, Leo Selivan… I could go on and on and on. However brief, I truly appreciate the time spent with you all.

That, for me, is the magic of iatefl: it’s the people.