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Simultaneous translation at the International Scientific Conference on regenerative medicine

May 17th, 2016

On May, 11-12th I worked as a simultaneous English-Russian interpreter in Astana, at the Nazarbayev University at the 4th International Scientific Conference on regenerative medicine and healthy aging.

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English translator at Nazarbayev University

The conference was really multidisciplenary as it touched upon such issues as risk factors of the coronary heart disease, rodon-induced lung cancer, treatment of end-stage liver desease as well as targeted sequencing and carbon wound dressings. As it happens quite often at medical conferences, the speaker do not provide organizers with their presentations ahead of time due to intellectual property reasons, so interpreters cannot prepare for the conference which make the work so much more difficult. The topics were also very varied: they ranged frm cardiology to oncology, from gerontology to neurology which means as a translator you have to be prepared for everythign and anything.

Finally two challenging but interesting days are over and among other things that I learnt at the conference I now know there is an app for mobile phones that can track wrinkles on one’s face :)

French translator for Expo 2017 in Astana

February 27th, 2016

On February 24-25th the second Expo 2017 International Participants Meeting was held in Astana where I worked as a simultaneous French-Russian interpreter. The first IPM was held in November 2014 where I worked as an English-Russian translator.

French translator for Expo 2017 in Astana

French translator for Expo 2017 in Astana

International participants were presented with the information on work progress in terms of organization of and preparation for Expo 2017 in Astana. They learned about how the construction is going, what is done in th area of marketing, ticketing, how Kazakhstan is planning on attracting millions of visitors to the Expo 2017.
The participants were very active during these two days, they asked questions about safety and security, about a possibility to have a day or even a week of African culture during Expo. After two vety intensive days they were able to see the construction site with their own eyes and get an idea of what Expo 2017 in Astana will look like.
About 10 participation countries were signed during IPM, it is expected that Expo 2017 in Astana will host about 100 countries, some will be represented as a region, international organizations and NGOs will be present as well.
I have been involved in Expo since 2012 when Kazakhstan just submitted its application dossier and hosted an Equiry Mission. Back then 2017 seem very far away and now we are at the finish line just a year away from this exciting event. I am really looking forward to Expo 2017 in Astana!

Translating for the President N.Nazarbayev

July 17th, 2015

Last week I had a great honor of translating the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. He participated in the Nazarbayev University graduation ceremony in order to personaly issue diplomas to the best students; I was providing English-Russian simultaneous translation services during the ceremony.

Iranslating for the President N.Nazarbayev in Astana

Translating for the President N.Nazarbayev in Astana

Eventhough translating the President is a great responsibility (and quite a lot of pressure, too), it went very smoothly: the President is a great speaker; he knows how to deliver a speech keeping in mind he is being interpreted at the moment.
The President opened the ceremony which was continued by speeches delivered by university’s faculty members; diplomas were issued to bachelor and master degree students.
I am sure it was a great honor for them too to receive such an important document from the hands of the President.
I wish all the best to alumni of the Nazarbayev University, let theor professional lives be as impressive as their graduation ceremony!

Russian-English translation at the I Eurasian Congress of Gerontologists.

April 10th, 2015

On April, 9th 2015 I worked as a simultaneous Russian-English translator at the I Eurasian Congress of Gerontologists.

The Congress gathered scientists from Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, USA, Japan with the participation of the State Secretary of Kazakhstan and the Minister of healthcare and social protection of Kazakhstan.

Snejana Skakovskaya  Translator at the Congress

Reports were delivered on topics like: “Molecular Aspects of Peptide Regulation of Ageing”, “Heart tissue engineering”, “Geriatric Frailty and Its Prevention as a Concept of Modern Gerontology”, “Treatment of Comorbidities Improves Overall Survival and Quality of Life of Brain Tumor Patients” and many others.

It was the first time that I had a chance to translate this area of medicine but its terminology is not that specific; it has a lot of terms from a general medicine, such as cardio-vascular deceases, diabetes, malignant tumor, mortality, healthy life style, etc.

Snejana Skakovskaya  Translator at the Congress

I have learnt a lot of interesting things: for example, it is not a good idea to switch on bright light at night as it reduces the level of melatonin being produced in out bodies which protects us from ageing. Or that there is such thing as light pollution: our cities are never in complete darkness, they are highly illuminated which is again not good for our bodies that should be experiencing darkness at night and light during day time.

In other words, the Congress was very informative and fuitful, scientists have shared their achievements and new ideas with each other. Now thanks to my work I know a little bit more about how to live a long and healthy life and, as Ashley Montagu said, better die young as late as possible.

Translation at the EXPO seminar for the Carribean Region

October 11th, 2014

After winning the right to host Expo 2017 in Astana, the national company “Astana Expo 2017” decided to conduct a number of seminars for the developping countries in order to discuss their plans for Expo.

The first seminar that was held in Astana gathered countires of the Carribean region. Representatives of the Caribbean countries gave presentations about the energy in their region, development of the alternative energy source, initiatives for green economy. The national company also gave a couple of presentations about the construction of the Expo site, its master plan, content plan, and others. The countries needed to decide how they want to be present as a region in a so-called Carribean Plaza, they needed to find similarities that they wanted to demonstrate including culture, music, dance, diversity, etc.

After the official part of the seminar the guests had a chance to see Astana, they went to Baiterek and Han Shatyr, they saw a horse show and they were very impressed by the kazakh hospitality.

By the end of the seminar a number of recommendations were worked out, the work will continue to develop the concept of the Carribean Plaza.

Simultaneous Translation at the congress of traumatologists and orthopaedists

October 11th, 2014

On October, 2-3rd I translated from Russian to English and English to Russian at the second congress of traumatologists-orthopaedists of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

My task was quite challenging as medical translation should always be very specific, topics like hip replacement, short legs, different types of prothesis, congenital dislocation of hip, arthroplasty were discussed in great details.

The night before translation was very intense  I had to read up on traumas quite a bit both in Russian and English. I didn’t become a doctor over a night of course, but I read enough to differ between talus and patella, shin bone and spoke bone, lavage and sanitation.

During the forum lectures were given by the guests from Germany, the UK and Luthuania. Questions and answers session followed each lecture. Participants were eager to know why cementless prothesis is better than cement one, why metal leg of prothesis has a better effect than the ceramics one, in which cases fast track surgery can be used, etc.

I definitely learned a lot about hip replacement and its prevention. I have prepared my own glossary of terms related to traumatology and orthopaedics, so hopefully next time it will be easier!

English Translation at the Global E-Government Forum

October 11th, 2014

On October, 6-8th I worked at the Global E-Government Forum 2014 held in Astana with the help of the UN agencies.

Participants from all over the world came to Astana to discuss issues such as e-goverment, open government, smart governance, open data, etc.

The first day of the forum was dedicated specifically to the open data discussion; representatives of the World Bank gave speeches, as well as those who had already implemented open data projects in their countries: Azerbaijan, Moldova, Russia, etc.

The second day of the forum started with the panel session with the participation of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, then participants could choose one of many parallel sessions to discuss e-government with different experts. With my collegue I provided simultaneous translation services at the Round Table of Ministers from over 20 countries.

The third day of the forum continued with numerous parallel sessions. I translated at a session where main focus of the discussion was on new opportunities and challenges that smart governance represents.

Translation at the Roadmap meeting on Foot-and-Mouth decease

May 8th, 2014

On April, 23-24th I worked as a simultaneous English-Russian and Russian –English translator at the 5th Roadmap meeting on Foot-and-Mouth decease in Western Eurasia.

The meeting was organized jontly by the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan and OIE – World organization for animal health. Representatives of over 15 countries came to the meeting: Kazakhstan, Russian, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Turkey, Armenia and others; each of the country delivered a report on FMD situation in the respected countries.

Issues such as vaccination, decease control, prevention measures, monitoring and others were discussed. The meeting was quite technical; representatives of the World Reference Laboratory spoke about different strains of the virus and the measures to be taken in the case of an outbreak.

The meeting resulted in recommendations developped by the participants and ended with a presentation of a new sub-regional FMD coordination office in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Simultaneous translation at the VI Astana Economic Forum

June 8th, 2013

On May, 22-24th I provided simultaneous translation services at the VI Astana Economic Forum. The Forum is a big-scale annual event and it is the third time that I participate in the Forum.

Snejana Skakovskaya  Translator at AEF

The second day we were at the session: “Entrepreneurship in Kazakhstan: challenges and opportunities” which was followed by the sessions on transition to a green economy and by a political discussion on Kazakhstan, Russia and the EU with a participation of a former President of Poland.

Together with my collegue we worked at a session dedicated to Expo 2017 Astana and the fact that I am actively involved in that project really helped as I knew the speakers and the materials they were presenting.

Snejana Skakovskaya  Translator at AEF

We also provided simulatenous English-Russian and Russian -English translation during the participants’ dinner.

Besides its numerous sessions, the Forum offers a big variety of side events, many foreign companies and Embassies participate in those events.

The couple days during the Forum are always very busy for the translators, translators are booked couple months in advance to ensure their availability. Additional interpreters are brought from Almaty, Moscow and other cities to provide a necessary number of translators that the Forum requires.

Annualy the Forum gathers schientists, businessmen, and journalists from all over the world. It is a great honor to be a part if this huge event.

Translation for EXPO 2017 Astana: “Future Energy” Symposium

July 17th, 2012

As the follow-up of the EXPO 2017 Astana candidacy promotion campaign I worked as a simultaneous translator in Astana at the Symposium which gathered 160 International Bureau of Exhibition’s delegates from all over the world.

Symposium was organized to show Astana to the delegates who will later vote for the city to host EXPO 2017. The idea was to explain in more details the theme of EXPO 2017 – Future Energy as well as introduce delegates to the Kazakh culture, to show places of interest in Astana. So the first day was spent in the palace of Independence where several panel discussions took place. I worked as a simultaneous Russian-English translator and I was lucky to work with simultaneous translators who came from Paris specifically for this Symposium. It was a great opportunity for me to learn something new about simultaneous translation. The day ended with a reception held by the Prime Minister. The guests could listen to Kazakh music and try out Kazakh food.

Next day was dedicated to sightseeing in Astana: Baiterek, Khan Shatyr, Palace of Independence, Pyramid and other places of interest in Astana were shown to the guests.

The voting will take place in Paris in November 2012, we are all looking forward to it and crossing our fingers to get the right to host EXPO 2017 in Astana.

Simultaneous Interpreter for the Islamic Conference of the Minsiters of Environment Protection

May 25th, 2012

On May, 17-18th  the fifth Islamic conference of the Ministers of Environment Protection was held in Astana where I was providing  simultaneous translation services.

The conference touched on the issues such as Islamic agenda for green development, strategy for disaster risk reduction, green economy in Islamic countries and many others.  During the discussion there was prepared a draft Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development within the framework of the Islamic world’s participation in the Rio+20 Summit that will be held next month in Brazil.

The conference was very specific from the translation point of view: there were three interpreter’s booths with working languages being Arabic, English and French. As it is quite difficult to find Arabic-French or Arabic-English interpreters in Astana, Russian was used as the language “in between” which means that when there was an Arabic speaking presenter, first the speech was interpreted into Russian and then from Russian into both English and French. This setting resulted in interpreting mainly our colleagues-interpreters which is a big responsibility because it is one thing to provide translation to the “end user” and it is a different thing to say the words that will further be interpreted into other languages.  It is also true the other way around: interpreting a speaker directly is a challenge in itself but interpreting the translation is a double challenge: we had to rely completely on our colleagues because we had no idea what the speaker actually said in Arabic and if the Arabic-Russian translation was wrong or came with the delay, we repeated mistakes, too. In other words, welcome to the broken phone game!

Another difficulty was that each speech was started with the reference to Quran or with the prayers which we weren’t exactly familiar with so we had to quickly learn that, too.

But apparently things didn’t go wrong as they could have, the delegates understood one another, signed  the documents that they prepared and left our city to meet again in Rio in June.

EXPO 2017 Enquiry mission visit to Astana through the eyes of interpreter

February 15th, 2012

First I would like to give some background information on the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) and how it is related to Astana and my work.

I am sure that many people have heard of the Universal Exhibition – for example the one for which the Eiffel Tower was built. Something similar but of a smaller scale (not a universal but a so-called recognized exhibition) is planned for 2017 and Astana is bidding to host this exhibition. Astana’s main competitor is Liege (Belgium). The decision on the host country will be made by the end of 2012 and in order to facilitate this decision the Enquiry mission visited both Astana and Liege to see if the cities are able to host several millions of visitors that will come to see the exhibitions. This is how 9 delegates of BIE found themselves in Astana in March, 12-16. It was my job to provide both simultaneous and consecutive translation during the visit. It goes without saying the programme was very tight so I will only mention events in which I was involved myself.

March, 11 – arrival day. Organizers of the visit decided to make it an “easy” day for the delegates and use some time before the official part of the visit to introduce guests to the Kazakh culture. That is why the first day was spent in Khan Shatyr, Pyramid and Palace of Independence where guests got a chance to visit the Ethnical Kazakh Village where the Kazakh traditions (including a traditional wedding, dances, jewellery, handcraft, etc) were shown.

March, 12 – beginning of the official programme

My main task on that day was to provide simultaneous translation during the presentations aimed at proving that Astana has enough capacity to host the EXPO 2017 – financial, economic, political.

March, 13 started with the meeting with the Minister of the Interior Mr.Kassymov at which the political situation in the country was discussed.

It was then followed by the excursion to the newly built TV and radio center where we were shown the future news rooms, studios and other facilities of the center.

After a number of presentations delegates left for a working lunch with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Foreign Affairs where I was translating as well.


March, 14
was marked by the meeting with the President Mr. Nazarbayev who emphasized the political will to support the idea of EXPO 2017 being held in Astana. The delegates then visited Eurasian National university where a meeting with the Minister of Education and Science, students and academicians was planned. I graduated from this university 2 years ago and it was a very interesting feeling to come back to my alma mater not as a student but as a simultaneous translator. I continued my translation at yet another working lunch, this time with the Mayor of Astana.
March, 15 was another day of presentations on the future site of the EXPO and the future use of EXPO facilities since it is very important to invest in something that will last longer than just 3 months of the EXPO.
When I wasn’t in a booth doing simultaneous translation, I was down in the conference room to help with the consecutive English-Russian translation.

On the March, 16 together with the delegates I left for Almaty where a tour of the city and its surroundings by helicopter was organized. The official visit of the Enquiry mission finished with the internal meeting the results of which will hopefully have a positive impact on the final decision.

English-Russian Interpreter for Eurasian National Resource Corporation

February 13th, 2012

On November, 17th I worked as a simultaneous English-Russian interpreter for ENRC seminar. The seminar was dedicated to a new change management strategy and to the ways of its implementation.

The seminar was interactive; it started with a simulation game: participants were split up into groups, each group being Employers, Employees or Consultants. Participants had a very fruitful discussion; they genuinely played their roles and drew some interesting conclusions.

The seminar was not too difficult as far as translation was concerned, it was quite a general discussion, however there were some specific business terms such as BBR (business benefits realisation), KPI and PPI (key performance indicators and process performance indicators), etc.

The seminar was mainly conducted in Russian with some presentations made in English, so for the most of the time it was Russian-English translation.

It was my first time working with ENRC (Eurasian National Resource Corporation), one of the major natural resources groups with mining, processing as well as logistical and marketing operations. As always, it was an interesting experience for me.

English-Russian interpreter for the International Accreditation Conference

October 11th, 2011

On September, 16th I had a simultaneous translation at the International Accreditation Conference organized by the National accreditation center in Astana.

It was the first conference of this kind held in Astana, international experts from the US, Australia, UK, Germany and other countries came to the conference to share their experience in the field of accreditation.

The main topic of the conference was the establishment of the unified accreditation system, so that a good produced in one country and accredited and certified in accordance with the international standards could be accepted in other countries. Such a system would significantly reduce time and money that a producer spends on accreditation and certification and it is extremely important within the newly established Customs Union.
Kazakhstan and its NAC recently joined ILAC and should now meet all the requirements of the organization. Conference was interesting for all the participants, they were actively asking questions and making comments which is always a good sign.
I truly enjoyed this short but productive conference.

A week in the life of an interpreter

October 5th, 2011

Recently I received the following comment from an interpreter who is just starting his career:

Hello, Miss Snezhana. i want to be a translator and if possible, an interpreter. Since i am interested in Russian, i was surfing the web and came across your webpage. i am wondering about two things
1 being a male is a disadvantage as interpreter?
i mean people prefer females over males?
2. what is the routine as a professional interpreter? what is your schedule like?
like you get up, and practice your langauges? i mean i want to know your daily practice as a proffesional interpreter
Thank you,
Gyung

Instead of describing my daily routine and decided to describe one week of my professional life as an interpreter, from September, 5th through September, 10th, 2011

Monday: first day of simultaneous translation at the international conference on fusion energy. How did I prepare? I had a number of thesis that I looked through, I also read up on atom, nuclear physics, Rutherford and his experiments and I prepared a glossary. As always, speakers didn’t stick to their presentations so it was a pure simultaneous translation: I translate what I hear. The main topic of the conference – TOKAMAK –toroidal chamber with magnet coil.

Tuesday: second day of simultaneous translation at the international conference on fusion energy. I am getting comfortable with plasma-wall interactions and berilization process in a vacuum chamber. Topics are getting from general to more specialized.

Wednesday: third day at the same conference. Fusion, fission, lithization, tungsten – it’s just a small part of the discussion.

Thursday: consecutive translation at the Ministry of Health. Last minute call, so no preparation from my side. We speak about unified health information management system in Kazakhstan. Terms: DRG (diagnosis-related groups), HTA (health technical assessment), clinical content, etc. More of this next week.

Friday: consecutive translation for the USA Embassy Military Cooperation department. No comment on this one.

Saturday: simultaneous translation of a lecture on geopolitics for high-level officials from the Ministry of Economics and “Samruk Kazyna”. No materials available before the lecture, so again no preparation.

It’s just happened so that this week I didn’t have the materials to prepare for the meetings but normally I try to get hold some information and make myself familiar with the subject. Especially if it is a simultaneous translation.

Do I “get up, and practice my languages”? No, I don’t. I just don’t have the time for that. I get up and work. Work is the best practice ever.

As for the question whether people prefer male interpreters over females or vice versa, honestly I don’t know, I’ve only been a female interpreter.
So that’s how my week passed. After a short weekend there comes another week with both consecutive and simultaneous translation. No time to relax!

I hope my answer was useful to you, Gyung, and I wish you success in being an interpreter. It’s not easy, that’s true, but it’s lots of fun, trust me!

Simultaneous translation in Aktau for the Ministry of Environment Protection

August 24th, 2011

I just came back to Kazakhstan from my trip to Europe and on the same day I left for Aktau, a city on the Caspian Sea, to provide simultaneous translation services to the Ministry of the Environment Protection of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Conference of the Parties to the framework convention of the marine environment of the Caspian Sea was held in Aktau with the participation of all the Caspian littoral countries: Azerbaijan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan and UN Secretariat.

On the first two days there was discussion at the level of experts and working groups that touched upon protocols to be signed by the Ministers of Environment Protection of the five countries. Discussion were hot and lasted till midnight or even longer. But it was worth it: by the end of the third day the Ministers signed a protocol which from now on will be called the Aktau Protocol. This is the first protocol that was singed over the last eight years of work so everybody who participated at the Conference was very proud of this accomplishment.

After the signature of the Protocol there was another meeting between the Mayor of Mangystau oblast’ (which is where Aktau is situated) and the UN representative in Kazakhstan. I was asked to consecutively interpret during this meeting. The meeting was short but fruitful and its outcome is that there is a possibility for cooperation between the UN agencies in Kazakhstan and the region.

Simultaneous translation at the I Convention of Mathematicians

June 1st, 2011

Last Wednesday I did simultaneous translation at the I Convention of Mathematicians of Kazakhstan. I worked together with a Kazakh-Russian translator, whereas I was doing Russian-English translation for the participants of the Convention.

The Convention was held by the Vice Prime Minister and by the Minister of Education and Science, speeches were delivered by academicians, professors, scientists and school teachers. There were representatives from all the regions of Kazakhstan, and also some foreign delegations.

As a Russian translator I have never worked with mathemeticians before and last time I was dealing with equations and derivatives was back in high school, so it was interesting to refresh this knowledge as well as to learn something new. There were quite specific mathematic topics covered but there was also a discussion on the mathematicians in the republic in general and on the problems that they tackle, such as lack of the good modern textbooks, poor translation of Russian books into Kazakh, and lack of young specialist willing to become teachers of mathematics.

Translating mathematics was an interesting and new experience for me which is a good news as I like learning something new every day, I think my school teacher would be proud of my knowledge in mathematics now :)

Simultaneous Russian-English interpreter at the IV Astana Economic Forum

May 19th, 2011

On May, 4-5th I worked as a Russian-English simultaneous translator at the  IV Astana Economic Forum. The Forum gathered experts, international organizations, business communities, transnational companies, research insitutes and universities.

Russian-English Interpreter in Astana

There were eight Nobel Prize laureates present among which John Nash, Eric Maskin, John Aumann,there were also CEO’s and Chairmen of different companies worldwide. From the Kazakhstani part there were government representatives, as well as those of the business.

I worked in a Green Economy section with the representatives of UNECE, mostly dealing with the concepts such as green growth, green development, etc. There were speeches on the advantages of the green economy, approaches and good practices in the UNECE region in terms of greening economy.

There were also some discussions related to the Ministerial Conference that will be held in Astana  in September, that is why I accompanied some participants during the negotiations at the Minsistry of Foreign affairs and the Ministry of Environment Protection  next day.

I will be working with UNECE in the end of  May again, so I am looking forward to meeting the participants again.

Conference Interpreter at Nazarbayev University

May 2nd, 2011

On April, 18-22 I worked as a conference interpreter at Nazarbayev University. I was doing simultaneous translation –  professors of Public Policy from National university of Singapore were  invited as lectors for a week long seminar for government officials.

Conference Interpreter in Astana

Seminar was divided into several parts: Professor Asher made a presentation on what makes countries grow: implications for Kazakhstan. Professor spoke about main drivers of growth, knowledge economy and knowledge management, national and firm competitiveness. Second lecture was dedicated to the public finance and budgeting, that lecture mostly covered accrual accounting in comparison to cash accounting. Pr. Asher gave many examples of international practice, including IMF code of good practices on fiscal transparency.

Next lecture was on the State Enterprise reform and on Public Private Partnership, including different models, risk classification, etc.

Two following days lectures were held by Vice dean and Associate Professor, Dr. Fritzen. His main topic was transformational leadership in the public sector with the focus on strategic triangle  of effective policy desing, effective implementation and strong stakeholder support. Participants took a great interest in that lecture, as well as in that on controlling corruption. Dr. Fritzen made his two sessions interactive, he encouraged participants to come up with the examples that are relevant to Kazakhstan.

The seminar was a great experience for me since I worked in a pair with a very experienced conference interpreter, I had a chance to learn from her and  ask for her opinion on different aspects of being an interpreter.

Interpreting at the National Business Forum

March 16th, 2011

I just got back from Berlin and there is already more work ahead: on February, 28th I provided interpretation services for the National Business Forum in Astana.

Interpreting at the NBF

National Business Forum (NBF) serves as a kind of bridge between government and business, so there were representatives from both sides. Prime Minister Mr.Massimov was the first one to deliver a speech, then there was the panel discussion followed by more discussions at the round tables. My task was  to interpret for Mr. Shinsato, who was invited to the NBF as an international expert. Mr.Shinsato delivered an extremely interesting speech on change management focusing on lean production and kaizen. I really love my job since it allows me to constantly learn from the people I work with. If not for the forum, how would have I found out about kaizen?

Having delivered his speech, Mr.Shinsato was actively participating in the discussion, so I was doing what is called „chuchotage“ – a kind of simultaneous interpretation without any special equipment. Interpreter just sits next to a person he/she translates for and does the simultaneous translation while another speaker delivers a speech.
The discussions were vivid, participants were active and genuinely interested in the topic, so there was a lot to translate. Mr.Shinsato was also interviewed by a local channel and I translated that as well.

It was a real pleasure to translate Mr. Shinsato as he is a very experienced speaker, he attracted  and involved the audience, made some jokes and at the same time got his message across, so everybody enjoyed the time with him.