What you wrote is very interesting stuff. I'm happy to read your trip was a success. Congrats on getting funding for your project and the added job you acquired.
As for how I would explain Steem vs. Steem Power / Curation and delegations to someone who knows very little of such things I would put it as follows.
Steem equals the currency used within the Steem blockchain community. It can be sold and traded for many different things including Fiat.
Steem Power is what gives a person or persons sway within the community. The more you own the more influence one has. You can turn your Steem into Steem Power (This is known as powering up).
Delegation is just another way of saying lending to someone but the great thing about our Delegation system is that the lender (owner) of the Steem Power delegated gets to choose when they take it back. Lending with the use of Delegation comes with 0 risk of losing ones Steem Power.
As for Curation ... this comes back full circle to Steem Power. Curation is something we do when we see value in another persons content on the Steem blockchain. Basically its an upvote we apply to said content which holds real money value paid out in STEEM/Steem Power and SBD (another currency used on the Steem Blockchain).
Upvoting/Curating other members content does not take away our own Steem Power/Rewards it only adds to the content creators that we upvote. As a curator you will earn a share of the rewards the content you just upvoted/curated attains and so will everyone else who decides to curate that same topic.