I was never asked for a passport – neither on my way to Zurich nor on my way back, I only had to scan the respective boarding passes, and no human ever saw it. So technically speaking, 1) it could be another person, not me, traveling 2) a person who returned might not have been a person who left. Just saying:).
Somr pictures from Zurich:
Not so funny: the only language spoken is a Swiss version of German, and even if you clearly indicate that you do not understand, people continue talking to you in German. This directly affected my experience at the Swiss PG Day.
It had two tracks: German and English. A friend of mine who lives near Zurich and with whom we met up asked me why there was a German track, isn’t it that anybody can speak English?
Now, after the conference, I have a question about why they had an English track :). Many participants could barely speak English, and I had one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life sitting at the speaker’s dinner between two organizers who spoke German over my head. Even when another person sitting across from me tried to “reengage” me into a conversation, they kept switching to German.
People smoke. They smoke on the streets. They smoke on the University campus grounds. They smoke in the restaurants (fortunately, only within the outdoor seating, but still)
And now, scratch all of the above. Switzerland is beautiful! It is unreal how beautiful it is! The lakes and mountains are so gorgeous that one can’t believe things like this can exist! The castle in Rapperwils where the conference took place looks like it jumped out of a fairy tale picture book. There are vineyards going down the castle hill. The is a rose garden by the castle wall with white chairs in the corners. Places like this can’t exist because they are too perfect to be out there for real.
I spent four hours in Zurich walking around with a friend of mine whom I have known for over twenty years, and we talked about her experience helping Ukrainian. If they are not flooding the streets, it does not mean they are not there. They are, and they struggle, and they need phycological and culture-awareness support.
The weather forecast looked like this: 86F on the day of arrival, 56 F and rains on the day of the conference, and 80F on the day of departure. And it all happened! the rain of Thursday evening, which was supposed to turn the temperature 30 degrees down, happened as planned, and the strength of the storm was unimaginable. It started at ten when people were still at the speakers’ dinner. I hurried up to the hotel, which was exactly one minute walk from the restaurant, but because it was dark, with rain and thunder, ai accidentally made a circle (and had to ask the waiters in another restaurant how to get back on track). So it took me about three minutes instead of one, but during these three minutes, I became soaking wet! My dress, underwear, and sandals were still wet in the morning!
The conference itself went great. My talk was the last one, which presented extra challenges, but I managed to get the audience’s attention.
Several people approached me after the event and asked for more details about the implementation specifics. Several people said they would be willing to try it. And overall, I could tell that my presentation made an impression.
There was one discussion at the speakers’ dinner, which shocked me. During yet, another attempt to convert the conversation to English, one of the organizers asked me why I think there are so many women presenting at Postgres conferences compared to other IT conferences. I was so shocked that I didn’t know how to respond. First, there are not more but fewer females in Postgres, and specifically at the conferences. Second, three female speakers out of fourteen are hardly “many.” My other colleague interfered and tried to explain the math, but I do not think we convinced our host.
Well, that may be a topic for another blog post!