Whew.... what a crazy few days we've had.
Since Wednesday we've been MATE-a-holics and have been busy busy busy. Wednesday night was the judges dinner where we went to the Scripps center and ate with all the lovely judges and got geared up for the competition that would follow in the next few days. We had plenty of food, and yummy desserts (I had the oreo cake that was TO DIE for). It was nice to spend some time with the crew and visit with everyone we hadn't seen in a year (or two). Thursday morning we got up bright and early and made our way over to the pool to start the competition. Nic was sent to judge the Engineering Evaluations (each team had to present their vehicle in front of three judges and answer any questions they threw at them). I was stationed at MATE central aka the AV area were I did a variety of things. Scott and I were announcing everything, updating the website with a live feed of Mission scores, and organizing and entering in all the scores (mission, engineering evaluations, technical reports and posters), plus answering questions, playing music, and keeping tabs on where everyone was supposed to be. We had 72 teams participating this year, from 7 different countries... it was a pretty crazy time and everyone had a blast. The teams did great and I was so very impressed with everyone that came! There were some teams that were really innovative, but what really got to me was how helpful they all were towards each other. I can't tell you how many times something went wrong with a team and another team jumped in to help them out. They were loaning each other monitors, power supplies, cables, and technical support without flinching. It was so great to see everyone working together and just having a great time.
We also got to know a few people pretty well, as Thursday night we went out with a crew of judges to a pizza/brewery that was pretty fun. We had a great time and probably stayed out later than we should have. Friday and Saturday were very busy, especially Saturday for Scott and I (as all scores had to be in before the banquet that night). I haven't worked that hard in a while but I must say it was quite a welcome experience for me. I've been so bored these past 8 months that it was really nice to be busy again. We worked everything out and got everything organized by about 4:15 in time for us to go back to the hotel, take a thirty minute nap, and then get ready for the banquet that night. Everyone was fantastic at the banquet and they even thanked me for my work specifically, which was really nice. I didn't expect any acknowledgment, I was just there to help, but it was definitely nice to be recognized by Jill (she organizes and leads the competition). Everyone asked if we'd be sure to come back next year, Scott even said if I don't come back next year he won't be there. It was definitely an ego boost and it made me feel really good to feel needed again.
Anyway, I'll post pictures as soon as Scott gets the website up again (we took it down to put up everyone's final scores since we wanted it to be a surprise who actually won the competition at the banquet). I'd give them a few days to relax a bit before it's up so it might be a few days. We took our camera but didn't have ANY time whatsoever to snap pictures.
Anyway... now that the competition is over (for this year) we are relaxing today and we are waiting for Clete to get here. We are going to hang out with him today which should be a lot of fun. I'll update again soon, maybe when I have a little more of my energy back. I'm worn out.