Most of the orthodontic conferences at which I am an invited speaker take place in term-time. My routine is to travel to the meeting, make a presentation, spend the briefest of times away and then return to my London clinic and my family as quickly as I can.
The 2019 meeting of the Australasian Society of Lingual Orthodontics (ASLO) was a different matter. It was in Sydney in early August – school holiday time. I had been to Australia but my wife and children hadn’t. An invitation to speak at the conference was an opportunity to extend the trip into a family holiday.
All aspects were amazing. Let’s start with the conference. It was extremely well organised. The spectacular venue is positioned on Pier One adjacent to the Sydney Opera House and close to Sydney Harbour Bridge. You could see both from the auditorium I spoke in. I have never been in such a stunning conference centre.
My presentation was on Impacted Canines, a condition which affects a fair proportion of our orthodontic patients. I was particularly nervous because my children were in the audience. My wife and I had decided this was a rare opportunity for them to understand what I do when I am away. Needless to say, they were not interested in the orthodontic content but they were fascinated by the attention I commanded! At home I don’t always get the same kind of attentiveness! Afterwards my youngest girl commented: ‘Everyone was very quiet, Papa.’ One orthodontic lecture was enough for them and we went different ways for the rest of the day so I could get the most out of being there.
The committee of ASLO made me feel very welcome and I had a great time attending lectures and meeting colleagues. Most of the delegates were Australian but I met colleagues from Italy, Russia, Italy and Poland. I picked up a few new tips and tricks and felt the conference was well worth attending.
I was presented with a certificate and a bag of goodies by Dr Matthew Foo who is one of the ASLO committee members. My big smile tells the story of this very successful event.
Over the course of the rest of the fortnight away we enjoyed some typically Australian holiday experiences. These included visits to the Blue Mountains, the Gold Coast, an Aboriginal village, a crocodile farm, the Great Barrier Reef and hugging a Koala bear!