When I was in Lissabon… at OIFE AGM

A few months ago i heard of the yearly OIFE meeting and the OI (medical) Congress organized by the Portuguese OI association, APOI. I heard about the different countries joining and I also knew there was a new president chosen after it had been Ute Wallentin for 15 years. I met Ute a few years ago when I went to the OIFE Youth Meeting in Cambrills, Tarragona, Spain in 2013. This was also the first time I traveled alone and that was a an adventure on its own:

OIFE Youth Meeting Cambrills, Tarragona Spain 2013
OIFE Youth Meeting Cambrills, Tarragona Spain 2013


I am going to Lissabon

So actually last minute I decided to go to the meeting. And as a guest I could attend the congress and the OIFE AGM. I knew I was going to meet a lot of new people, but also A few I hadn’t seen in a while:

  • Ute Walentin, former OIFE President,
  •  Ingunn Westerheim, OIFE President,
  • Dagmar Mekking, Care4BrittleBones,
  • Anna Rossi who I met in 2013. She was my roommate in the hotel in Spain and I visited her in Milan, where she lives in 2014.
  • Taco Welzenis, Vereniging Osteogenesis Imperfecta (VOI NL). Him I met 4 years ago when we both were at THE supportbeurs in Utrecht for VOI NL.

And i was going to meet delegates of associations I only heard about or had seen on social media. When I got the programme and agenda for the days I knew these were going to be Intensive days. I looked forward to it.

The hotel was fully booked :O

Friday at midnight we arrived at the hotel. But the night was fully booked so me and my friend were about to take a taxi to the center of Lissbon to look for a hotel for that night. But then we bumped into Arjan Harsevoort from Isala Klinieken in Zwolle, NL. I didn’t know he was going to be there so it was a nice surprise to see him. In The Netherlands I visited him a few times in Zwolle. We met in 2012 and since i visited the OI Expertisce Centrum for check ups and because i broke my shoulder blade on Wishbone Day this year.

I briefly met Ingunn in the lobby too when I thought she was my shadow xD. It was late, that’s why the meeting was brief. So we found a place to stay in the entire of Lissbon where we could sleep for 40 euro’s :D, Vistas Lisboa.

I got sick on the first night

The next morning  woke up, i felt so sick. My throat was hurting and my head hurt. But i still got up and got to discover Lissbon. OMG, I love this city. And the accessibility of the city is not that bad as I heard. So I am glad I didn’t let those stories stop me from visiting Lissbon. You shouldn’t either. During the day the temperature was 24 degrees and up and we had a great day seeing a lot of the city by subway.

Sea food paella
Sea food paella

And that saturday night all the participants attended a dinner together. That’s where I met everyone. Delegates of the different countries: Germany, Belgium, Russia, Latvia, Italy, France, Holland, Norway, The United Kindom and host Portugal.

I got sicker the 2nd night

The next morning i was even sicker. Because by day it’s warm, but as soon as the sun goes down. It’s almost 10 degrees colder! I was glad I packed warm clothes. But it didn’t help enough. So I attended the first AGM day later that morning. THE topics i really loved talking about where communication and about social media. I hope I added enough value to the discussions. I also met the webmaster of http://www.oife.com . He and I had a few discussions about the website and other stuff. I actually know his mother, father and sister before i met him 😂. This OI-community is really small 😂😂 (pun intended). So that was a Nice meeting too.


OIFE AGM 2016, day one
OIFE AGM 2016, day one










I reached My goals and more… 
My goal for this weekend was to meet new (OI) people. Meet My OI-friends i already know. And offer my professional view and expertise on online communications.

Recently i quit My job because I almost got exhausted by the travelling I had been doing for 6 years and 1 month at Achmea. The biggest insurance company in Holland. For the last two years i have been applying for jobs at Achmea and other companies with no job to show for it. So for now i give up. I hope to figure out what I want, but for now I am on a sabbatical.

This trip was a welcome present in this situation

Unfortunally I couldn’t attend the 2nd day of the AGM because i got sicker by the day. BUT! I did reach My goals and more. Of course I was happy to see Anna, Ute, Dagmar, Taco. But I also met a few other great people.

  • Ingunn Westerheim, Norway
  • Coreen Kelday, UK, BBS
  • Patricia Osborne, UK, BBS
  • André Wittwer, Switzerland
  • Filip De Gruytere, Belgium, ZOI
  • Laurette Paravano, France
  • Jean Moitry, France
  • Gerald Brandt, Germany (HPP-community)
  • Ivar Troost (webmaster), The Netherlands
  • Dace Liepina, Latvia
  • Simona Paveri
  • Anna Rossi, Italia
  • Elena Meshcheryakova, Russia.

I had a great time in Lissbon and you were a part of that. I learned more about the efforts and work the different associations do and we got to talk about how to make things better for OI-people around the world. I am so impressed by this weekend and the meetings I attended.

Thank you APOI and OIFE for the great care you took of us, the useful discussions, meetings and fun. I hope  we meet soon. Where ever that is.



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