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Yesterday was an important day for the Rotary Group Exchange Team.

It was presentation day at the Kerala District 3211 state conference.

We’ve been preparing for our presentation for the past several months, knowing there would be more than 1,500 Rotary delegates from 128 Rotary Clubs — expecting a stellar performance from the United States team.

For the past month, we’ve been giving short and long versions of our presentations at Rotary meetings and lunches, afternoon socials and during scheduled vocational visits.

I’ve known for several weeks now that the more comfortable I become delivering the presentation, the better it will sound at the conference.

But after weeks of reading our audience, we decided as a team to hone the presentation a final time before the conference presentation to emphasize areas of our speeches that seemed to generate the most interest.

In other words, we eliminated historical and tourism information about our home state, personal family life and hobbies, and spoke more about our vocations and career highlights. We also added three additional slides including pictures from our experience in Kerala, and how we benefited from specific moments or vocational tours.

Then, at the end, we showed a video I edited to the Script’s “Hall of Fame,” which I explained was essentially a thank you card for a month of hospitality and kindness.

I’m proud to say the presentations went well, and the video was well received by the audience.

I was proud of my team yesterday. I was proud of my friends. I was proud of a group of dynamic, educated American women representing the best of Texas to a crowd of men who may or may not be consenting of their own wives, mothers, daughters, taking interest in their education and careers outside the home.

Traveling to India and learning about so many women here who will never have access to education, or opportunities to travel abroad, I think I finally realized how easy it is to take an experience like this for granted.

And as we stood up on stage together, I hoped at least a few of the audience members realized how far women have come, and how far we have yet to travel.

Until tomorrow, Victoria.

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