A week has gone by since the TEDActive in Whistler, BC. A week has gone by, and still the dust did not settle. My stuff is still not organized. My mind is still filled with ideas, desires and plans. The intensity of the whole experience is still present.
When I received the e-mail that said: "We have exciting news!" I could not believe it. I thought it was a thanks for your application, better luck next time mail. I read the mail four times, while pacing frantically. Is this really happening? And it was. From then on, each night I went to bed, my mind would race with the ideas and plans for TEDActive. But my imagination could not prepare me for what I experienced there.
After a long flight I arrived to the Olympic village, checked into my room and said: Let's do this!
Sunday brought about the workshop. I met a lot of new people, said hello to some people I already knew, we talked about the new website design, about the distribution of talks, we learned a lot about translating TEDxTalks and even how to organize our own OTP Workshop. Some of the translators then took the stage, shared their own experiences of OTP, translating practices, weird conundrums that TEDx gotten them into, the affect of TED and OTP has on their life and even presented a masters degree thesis that revolved around OTP. Who knew, right?
To finish off the great workshop, we received hats with the TED logo, courtesy of our friends from the Swedish House Mafia, to wear and show how proud we are to be a part of OTP. The whole workshop went by in a blur of great conversation, interesting subjects and getting to know the tribe. You could feel the excitement tingling in the air. Being jet-lagged, tired and having an action packed week, I really can't be sure that the following events took place on the exact days I mention. It's still a bit messy, so you'll excuse me.
If someone asked me to describe TEDactive, the closest thing I can say is this: It's a camp for kids with special needs. Kids being the 700 something people from all around the globe who gathered to get their fix of TED and great social interactions. I'm somewhat of an introvert(actually not so much after this)and can honestly say that you can make a new friend every step of the way, no matter how closed you are. You just have to open your mind to the endless possibilities that are there. If you hear a good song, dance...chances are a lot of people will join you. If you see an awesome talk, give a standing ovation, even though the people in Vancouver can't see you. And for the love of God, do not go to bed early and don't take afternoon naps. You are jet lagged, you won't get any sleep and you'll miss a bunch of awesome stuff. Even if you absolutely need your sleep, keep in mind that this will not happen again and you can really stand to loose a few hours of sleep for some incredible memories that you will cherish.
So, on came Monday. I skied in the morning, enjoyed the fresh powder and really exhausted myself. And then the sessions started. I can't list them by days, but here's a glimpse of what was happening at TED this year. I watched in awe as I learned how it is to be blinded in space, what courage is needed to stand up to oppression and which song has been sampled a lot. I saw what it takes to make a park in New York and what it means to the city. I saw what it takes to reveal to the world that we are being monitored every moment of our lives, and nothing is private. I saw a shaky response to the accusations of global surveillance, with such great explanations as: We do not gather all the data, we just see with whom you are corresponding, and if we decide that it's dangerous, then we look at the data we don't gather and see what you are writing about. Makes sense, doesn't it? It's an understatement to say that these two talks took over the whole event, but it's a pressing matter and a really important one. But we also saw that Sting is working out, we heard some new music, some old music. We heard the wish of Charmian. We heard about the plans of Google, about the next big thing in sports, about fireflies, about a whole bunch of stuff. The list is so long.
I was inspired, amazed, encouraged, thrilled, excited, sad and happy and a whole bunch of other stuff at the same time. Inspired by the courage it took to take action, of the odds people stood against, of the will to persevere... Amazed at the results that came out of their endeavors and by the support everyone received from the TED community right at that moment. People standing up, volunteering, offering to help, Encouraged, because I knew that no one was born with great actions inscribed in their DNA. All they did was try. And everything started to happen. I do not diminish great sacrifices, risks and everything, but at that moment it was clear to me: every little change, on personal or global level, begins with the first step. So I hope that any of the future first steps I make won't be so difficult for me. And I've made quite a few at TEDactive. Thrilled of the opportunities that were always there, but now became like glowing beacons to me, making me ready for action and strengthening the belief that you can really do anything you put your mind to. Excited because I was force fed these great stories and while thinking about them, I was contemplating how my story is going. And I was excited. I'm not flying to space or anything, but on a personal level I can say that I'm truly happy. I was sad that some of the injustices portrayed in the talks ever happened, and were allowed to occur, even though we are sensible, intelligent beings (most of us). And sad that it was still going on. But I was happy and hopeful, because people were standing up, trying to change the way we think and the way we act.
I pondered the possibilities that stood in front of us and the chance we have to affect the world as we know it. It was said that we should be careful to be on the right side of history and if we don't ask we wont get it. So, yeah, we should take care while impacting even a single persons life, because that may well be our history, our own personal history. And we should definitely ask for things we want to happen, keeping in mind to be on the right side of history while we do it. And if we have a greater impact, the responsibility gets bigger.
And yeah, I was scared senseless by the talk of suicidal crickets and zombie caterpillars. I mean come on. They lay eggs in the caterpillar, they develop, devour the caterpillar and some of them leave the dead caterpillar, while a few are left behind to give the impression that the caterpillar is alive, to protect the other eggs? Really? Nightmares anyone? You can check it out here: http://www.ted.com/talks/ed_yong_suicidal_wasps_zombie_roaches_and_other_tales_of_parasites
Now this was just the tip of the iceberg of stuff that went down in Whistler. I've met someone who has made a new friend each day for 366 days (it was a leap year)and made a TEDx talk about it, and when I told her what we did, translators I mean, she called us heroes. Because it really is important to bring the ideas to a wider audience. Her words, not mine, but she has a good understanding of what we are trying to do. I met the man who stood up and told to the whole world that his father was the man behind the first WTC attacks. I met people from all around the world that shared the same idea as me.
And it really was a camp for kids with special needs. I slept for 20 hours during the seven days I was there, and almost missed my flight back home. I suffered and still am suffering from TEDpression. I think that is the correct term. It's a state of depression that occurs after an end of a TED event. And I'm looking for my next fix. I have a whole bunch of stuff going through my head, but this is what got out when I started to write. I did not edit this, will not edit this, since this reflects my feelings towards TEDActive at this moment, and time may change them a bit. Then you'll get a new story. Since I was always doing something, and I really liked the fast paced fun that was going on there, I am now trying to TEDify my every day, learning new stuff, getting more involved in the OTP community and trying not to have too much daydreaming and doing nothing. But I know how important that is, so I won't be forgetting about gazing at the stars from time to time.
It really was an experience that made me think, made me take action and gave me a need to be active. And I cannot even begin to list the people I should thank for this. Because the event itself would be nothing without the people that embraced me, and made me forget about the introvert that was there before it all went down. So thank you all. Every each one of you. Even that lady that was amazed by the fact that I came all the way from Croatia to attend, giving the impression I was completely mad. I was amazed that you even attended with that attitude, and I am, my dear lady, by your standards, truly mad. And a special shout out to the people that attended TEDxKitchen. Ako ste bili tamo znate što mislim (use google translate :D)