The Conference Recap

I never had such a professionally-successful week! Starting from Monday, when I presented at Helsinki PUG and had such a positive response and new contacts in Aiven, continuing through the PG Conf EU was fantastic!
I told Boris that I would never have anything like this ever in my life, and he replied that he thinks it will always be like this now:).

We’ll see. The last time I thought “things are going my way” was before the pandemic. To be fair, if not for the pandemic, we won’t write the book. And for the past two months, I started to feel again that things are going my way, which is exciting and scary.

I had two talks, and both got tremendously positive responses. My first talk was on the first day, right after the keynotes, and I had two hundred people in the audience. I left fifteen minutes for questions, and people were asking even after that time. Pretty much each time I was alone in a hallway, somebody would approach me and ask something related to my talk. My second talk was on the last day of the conference, but still, there were many questions, and some people even offered to contribute to my projects. It’s a little bit scary when younger attendees ask to have a picture with you and tell you that you are their role model :).

Another thing that made me happy was that I saw a lot of my former colleagues, and nobody was mad at me; people still liked me and wanted to talk with me.

Also, we had a first program committee meeting, and my conference is progressing! I could not be happier with that development!

The Russian Embassy in Berlin

There was no time to walk around Berlin, at least no daylight time. In part, it was my bad planning – after I changed my flight from Chicago to Friday instead of Sunday, I could easily change the flight to Berlin to come earlier on Tuesday and leave later on Saturday. There was just way too many things going on, and I forgot.
Besides the conference, we could do just one thing – walk to the Brandenburg Gates and then a little bit along Unter Der Linden. We also walked to where we had dinners, but these walks were in complete darkness, and we could hardly see anything around.

This morning, we used the only daylight time we had – less than two hours before going to the airport, so we could not go far from the hotel.

First, we saw the word AEROFLOT on the top of the nearby building, then we saw the barricades around it, and then we saw that the barricades continued along the whole block, And only then we figured out what was a setup – the barricades were guarding the Russian Embassy!

I didn’t see the sign that this is the Russian Embassy, only the flag on the top of the buildign

The memorial is located in the middle of Unter der Linden, so that it is clearly visible from the embassy windows:

And there is an incredibly powerful message on the opposite side of the strre, once again, visible from the Embassy:

During the conference, I talked with many people from different countries about the war. I think, the words of my long-term Republican friend from Texas says it all: we are sending guns to Ukraine, and we will keep sending guns. Ukraine is defending all of us. If not for Ukraine, we won’t be in Berlin today.

We always have political arguments with this old friend of mine whenever we meet, but this time, I didn’t even argue with him about the gun laws when he said: we need guns to send them to Ukraine!

I Am Back To The Same Place…

Berlin was my first “zagranitsa”, I wrote about it here. Today, I was standing at the same place where I stood thirty-eight years ago. Actually, I stood a little bit further, we were not allowed that close to the Brandenburg Gates.

Today, we walked from West to East Berlin, and back, something I could not imagine would ever be possible for me!

Choosing the Wall. souvenirs
I didn’t get this one, but I loved the idea!

PG Conf EU

I am in Berlin – we came here last night, today was the first day of the conference, and my talk was the first talk after the keynote! I never talked at a conference with over 600 participants in a full room (there are four track, but I am pretty sure more than 100 people were listening to my talk!

All the presentations are so interesting, I wish I could be at four places at once! And people stop me and ask questions about my presentation, an I never had such level of interest!

Haven’t seen Berlin in the daylight yet :).

Biking In Helsinki

I will never get tired of saying that I love biking in Helsinki! Even though it is so much colder than in Chicago (it was a peak of Indian summer in Chicago last weekend, with temperatures rising to 74F), it is so much nice! I can’t stop marveling at the fact that there are safe bike paths everywhere! This time, I bought better and warmer biking gear, and I like it so much that I almost want to take it back to Chicago :). We went on two bike rides, Sunday and Monday, and the weather was perfect for biking!

Scroll through my instagam post about our Sunday ride!

Uber Crisis

Recently, I often have had trouble getting an Uber ride right away. I first noticed it after the late evening concerts, and I learned that I have to wait or start walking away from the venue or both. But last Friday, I could not get Uber to go to the airport for more than 20 minutes, and then we hit the rush hour!

I had a very interesting conversation with the driver. He told me that the share Uber pays to the drivers is relatively small and does not reflect what the passenger pays. That’s why, he continued, drivers no longer want to pick the airport rides. He said that he is considering becoming a CTA bus driver. He mentioned that the bus driver’s pay used to be very low, but now they are paid $40/hour and have insurance and other benefits. I asked him whether Lift or any cab service would be better, but his advice about getting to the airport was to use the train!
I need to think about it 🙂

Lady Inertia

I could not decide whether I should take a larger suitcase on my upcoming trip or a cabin size. Now that I have Finnair Gold, my luggage is free, but I didn’t want to wait for it. Besides, I am going to Berlin from Helsinki, and if I took a larger one, I would have to check it on my way to Berlin. I always take a folding duffle bag with me so I can check it in on the way back if needed, and I told Boris that if this folded bag weren’t taking extra space in my luggage, I would be okay with it being the carry-on only. Then he said – why won’t you check it in on the way to Helsinki as well? It is free, and then your carry-on won’t be so overpacked, and your backpack won’t be so heavy. And you can go to Berlin with a carry-on only. And I thought- why was I not thinking?! Why I didn’t consider doing this in the first place?! I know perfectly well why – because of the mind inertia! Because I always had to pay for an extra luggage piece, and I forgot that I did not need to pay anymore. Also, I forgot that my luggage travels with the “priority” label, so it is always the first to be unloaded.

That’s what your mind’s inertia does!