I was impressed that Dan quoted me throughout his letter since neither of us really took notes. This conversation was easier to start because we had an ice-breaker. Dan was holding several mechanical objects that he was building in the MIT shop. By holding them and looking closely at them, it was much easier for me to understand what he was building and how it worked. And I was very impressed with his idea for a Valentine's Day gift.
A few details were off in our conversation, ex. ski trip was just two days prior to our meeting and not a few weekends ago. Nothing far out though. But overall, our conversation focused on current events, the lab and the olympics.
This meeting was also somewhat awkward in the sense that it was an assignment. We felt we had to find something in common to talk about. And within a short amount of time. It made it much easier that Dan was very friendly and easygoing; but it was still quite forced. It wasn't quite a conversation flow, but a set of three question - extended answer sessions - sometimes prolonged to avoid moments of silence.
Even through we were in a public space, it was easier to have a more private conversation since it is an accepted social practice to assume private conversations within different tables. We were also able to control the volume of our voices easier because it was quite easy to see from Dan's facial expression whether he could hear me, whether he was confused. Even that he looked very tired. Also because I knew he had just come from the shop, he probably wanted to go back and finish working on his Valentine's day gift.
A lot more was said in the face to face meeting. Maybe cause there was less delay between phrases or statements. Maybe cause we spoke much faster. There were also many more jokes in the face to face conversation than in the ICOM conversation.