Sunday, May 5, 2013

AOTA Conference 2013

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending my first AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association) annual conference thanks to my company for paying my registration fee! This conference ended up being the second largest AOTA conference in history! The conference was held in San Diego & silly us, Vinh & I decided to drive all the way down there. Let's get to details of my journey to/in San Diego!

It all started last Wednesday after work. I got off early so that I could finish some last minute packing as Vinh was finishing up his work day. We zoomed off on our way to San Diego at 4:30PM with pitstops for Sonic for dinner & gas.

Sonic & road trip commences!

We arrived at the Wyndham hotel just 10 minutes shy of midnight & checked in. We got settled in & promptly fell asleep.

Our hotel room

My kidlets :)

Thursday was my first day of conference & it started out as a gloomy one *pouts* Vinh dropped me off at the SD convention center where I checked in & got everything before heading to my first AOTA session ever, yay!


Welcome to AOTA 2013!

Clearing up slightly

I ran into my classmate Sarah D. & I had lunch with her & her co-workers before separating again for our sessions.

Enjoying the sunshine finally!

After all the sessions, it was finally time to head over to the keynote address by none other than Aron Ralston, subject of 127 Hours! I have to say that it was the most inspirational & empowering keynote I have ever heard.

Keynote address

What was even better than his keynote? Meeting Aron Ralston in person! This was definitely the highlight of my first day of conference, yay! He even autographed his book for me :)

Aron Ralston!

After meeting Aron, I walked around the grand opening of the exhibition hall before being picked up by Vinh to go to dinner. We had a lovely view of the sunset for dinner. Then we headed back to the hotel where I freshened up & promptly konked out from sleep deprivation :P

San Diego sunset

On Friday, I skipped my first session so that I could spend some time with the hubs. We had brunch at Cafe 21, my favorite food place during our stay!

Brunch @ Cafe 21

We headed back to our hotel to park & then walked along the harbor. We walked around to look at the USS Midway before boarding the Hornblower cruise. The cruise was kind of a bore, but it was nice being out on the water. We only ended up doing half our tour since we didn't want me to be late for my session.

USS Midway

On the harbor


Out on the Hornblower

After a few sessions, I headed over to hear the Eleanor Clarke Slagle lecture by Glen Gillen about returning back to normalcy...aka returning back to the roots of occupational therapy where clients are doing, not therapists doing. I totally agreed with his lecture & have been keeping it in mind during work :P

Eleanor Clarke Slagle lecture by Glen Gillen

After the lecture, Vinh & I bolted over to Phil's BBQ where we waited at least an hour before getting to eat this famous BBQ! We got piggy stickers since we were newbies to Phil's. The food was absolutely delish, but my goodness were the portions absolutely huge, lol!


Pup statue watching the silverware & to go boxes

Phil's BBQ

On Saturday, it was my last day attending conference. I attended my last few sessions (where I ran into Diana), visited the exhibition hall one last time to get freebies & said goodbye to the second largest AOTA conference.

Goodbye AOTA 2013!

In-between my sessions, Vinh & I had lunch again at Cafe 21 & then we explored a tiny portion of Balboa Park.

Lunch @ Cafe 21

Spanish Village Art Center @ Balboa Park

After leaving conference, Vinh & I went in search of the beach across the big bridge to Coronado. However we failed & quickly turned around as we were getting a wee bit too close to the border, lol.

Crossing over to Coronado

Glorietta Bay Park

We ended up walking down along the harbor again to have dinner at the Fish Market. We ran into the famous kiss statue as well as a Bob Hope statue. We headed back to the hotel room after dinner to finish packing up for our roadtrip back home in the morning.


Bob Hope performing for our troops

Loot from AOTA 2013

On Sunday, we left around 7:45AM for home...with many stops, which included checking out the outer perimeter of Blizzard...

Such a proud geek :P

...finding the Backstreet Boys star on the Hollywood walk of fame & being harassed by costumed people...

BSB fangirl for life!

Damn characters harassing us!

...enjoying Enjoy Cupcakes with Brenda & meeting little Alexis (who is oh so adorable & likes me, yay!) in Los Olivos...

We totally missed this sign, haha

Delish flight of mini cupcakes, nomz!

...before finally reaching home just 10 minutes shy of 7PM. We had quite the adventure needless to say. I gotta say that I have learned so much & have left the conference more competent, inspired & empowered to be a better occupational therapist! Thank you AOTA 2013 for reinvigorating the spark in me & my fellow occupational therapists :)


  1. WOW Miss Annie, you are always on the go :) Looks like you had a GREAT time :) How far is San Deigo from you guys?
    How exciting you got to meet Aron Ralston! I am a bit JEALOUS!!!

    Even more exciting you got to meet Brenda again & her new bundle of joy :) :)

  2. Anonymous11:42 AM

    Looks like you all had a good time in SD! The picture of the sunset, amazing! I'm totally jelly, you got to see the BSB star. LOL

  3. SO many cute pictures!! Kiyore and Kiyora = adorable!
    Kiyoru misses them.
    Such a pretty city! Love the picture of you on the harbor!
    And Vinh with Mickey and Minnie :P
    I want all the food! The bbq looks amazing! Glad you had a great time on your conference trip!