Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

No Gifts for #OER18

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

I’m trying something new, which is voice typing on Google Docs and I’m recording it at the same time so that I can use the audio file as well [note that in the end I’m not sharing the audio file because I had to stop and start the Google docs a lot and the audio file needs more editing than I have bandwidth for… ha, get it, bandwidth!]

This blogpost is about gifts and it’s called “No Gifts for OER18 (haha, Google heard that “for over 18”). I was a keynote speaker at OER17 and I talked about gifts, and about how we need to be thoughtful about the gifts we give to others; I told a story of the old lady who was offended by the apple as a gift because she had no teeth to eat it with. Despite this caution from my keynote, in my own personal life, gift-giving is very fundamental to my ways of expressing love, and I remember reading this book, “Five Love Languages” and realizing that gift giving is one of love languages, and realizing It’s not the same for all people. So for me giving a gift is a joy in itself, regardless of reciprocity, and when someone gives me a gift, I appreciate the thought that goes behind it and not just the actual gift itself; monetary value is not as big of a deal, really not at all a deal to me. Some of the most sentimentally valuable gifts I’ve received are really not worth much in money terms.

I’m just going to say here that this Google Voice typing thing is very weird – it might to my internet connection, but I have to stop and start at every two lines or so, so that doesn’t make for good audio… so not sharing an audio file this time around.

Anyway, so this year, going to OER18 in Bristol, and there’s another thing I’m going to in Coventry, and I’m commuting to both from London… I won’t be able to carry many gifts with me as I usually do, because I’ve chronic back problems, so I can’t carry a lot of things anyway, but I also have some new health issues that are going to make it even more difficult, so I’m gonna just have to not carry as many gifts. Because this is so unnatural for me,  I’m trying to think of creative very lightweight very small paper based gifts but I don’t know if I’m going to have time to go out and find them buy them.

And it just doesn’t make me feel great; it’s not like people should expect this from me, but it’s what I expect of myself, and it’s the way I usually operate, and so I feel little bit uncomfortable doing it differently this time around. But it is what it is.

Still excited about meeting lots of folks for the first time, and meeting some new folks as well! I’ll write a separate post about upcoming hybrid workshops and things like that!

3 Comments

  1. It always seems to me that an important gift at a conference is attention. Some presenters will get very small audiences. I am going to plan my programme to include some small rooms and presenters I have never heard before. And I don’t need any space in my suitcase for that.

    • You’re soooo right, Frances. Unfortunately I’m never at an event long enough to do that kind of thing, but I’ll try. I’ve been thinking about you a lot as the conference approaches and of how your smile and hug will make me feel xoxo

  2. I think your hug is also a gift that you give (at least to those of us who are huggers).

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