Two meetings I planned for Saturday morning before leaving for Chicago got canceled, but I already knew what I was going to do: The Museum of Modern Art was less than a 20-minute walk from my hotel. The last time I was at MoMA was with Igor’s friends’ family, and it turned out that I completely missed some paintings. I can’t say that we didn’t visit these rooms, because I remembered some paintings very well.
As I often do when I have limited time in a huge museum, I decided not to rush and see just a part of the museum but to pay close attention to each painting. The room with WWI and WWII-inspired art immediately caught my attention. It is possible that I saw these paintings last time as well, but they didn’t feel so timely back then. Unfortunately, I just realized that most of my photos from that room are very blourry, so there s almost nothing to show.
I was mostly saying that I felt horrible about the war situation, but in spite of that, the conference went really well, and the first day was the most productive for me. I was the room chair for three sessions, and I did well. I talked to a lot of people, old and new acquaintances, reestablished many connections, recruited several speakers for my future User Groups, and asked for expert advice for my work problems.
Now, when I talk to people or listen to presentations, I often feel that I know more than a presenter, and if that is something I don’t know, I know exactly what to ask. it’s something new, and it definitely happened during the last several months. I talked to several of my former co-workers, and some told me: if you ever decide to come back, please come back. That was sad to hear for obvious reasons, but at least people are not mad at me.
The overall organization was great. Also, my conference was officially announced, and I can’t even describe how happy I felt each time “Hettie’s conference” was mentioned.
Since Boris was not there, nobody took pictures of me :(.
Yesterday after the conference, I went with my former French co-worker to see “Chicago” – she wanted to see a “real Broadway musical” and asked me to choose, which I happily did. We also had an amazing deal “two tickets for the price of one.
I was a little worried that it might not turn out as good as it could, remembering my disappointment with “Jesus Christ.” But it was brilliant! Probably the best “Chicago” I ever saw!
I am in NYC, attending one of the most important conferences of the year. I have a talk, and I am a room host for several sessions. And everything that happens at the war front is a dark background. I can’t be fully involved in this spectacular professional celebration, and I feel so weird feeling like I am the only person among these 200 people with this dark background… and I still have to do all the conference-related social media.
I wrote this post yesterday and forgot to post it. I am not pretending I didn’t suspect what was going to happen, but still, what happened today, didn’t happen yet….
A very disturbing thing happened when I went through the border control in Helsinki on my way back. First, I was happy to see they now have the same machines as in London, where you can scan your chipped passport. Then I saw that I still had to present the passport to the officer. On my way back, I never ever encountered any questions. This time, the office started to scroll through my passport pages and asked me which countries I had visited and whether I was in Russia. Just to be clear, since I am a naturalized citizen, my country of origin is indicated in my US passport, but still!
The office kept scrolling, found the stamps from 2019, and looked at me inquisitively. I said – I haven’t been there since 2019. He kept scrolling and finally said: good; I see your entrance stamp. Because if you visited Russia at that time, we would have to question you (and he waved in an unspecified direction).
It was very disturbing but understandable. I know I have my share of guilt with everything happening, and it’s in Finland where I feel it even more.
And since I am posting it today, not yesterday, I want to reiterate – we stand with Ukraine! I saw these flags in the Southern part of State Street, quite unexpectedly:
Thinking about this week in Spring when we had both Nordic PG Day and PG Day Paris, I can feel the difference – there was too much travel for me this time! I didn’t need to travel anywhere for Nordic because I was already in Helsinki, and there was a one-day gap between Nordic and Paris. And now, I had to travel to Amsterdam and then skip a part of Uptime to travel to Vienna. And I was so tired! I will never do it again! Probably, I should have just traveled to Amsterdam directly from Chicago.
The PG Day Austria went really well. Although there was no emerging dessert table, the conference venue was splendid, and the talks were great.
Both conferences’ schedules were packed, and there was not enough time to see the cities where the conferences took place. It was fine for Amsterdam because we visited it more than once, and also, we had several free hours on the day of arrival. We walked around, bought some souvenirs, and tried to find where we stayed in July 2019. I can’t believe it was a little bit over two years ago – it feels like another epoch.
I was in Helsinki for only one and a half days. On the first (half) of the day, I visited Natasha at her home and met with the whole family – the last time I saw everybody was in March! This time, the situation in the world (and on the war front) was different, so our conversation was much happier, even in view of the European energy crisis.
On the second day, I did some work, mostly interacting with our London-based team, and then Boris and I biked to IKEA – something he had wanted to do for a while. He already made a couple of solo biking tips there, and he wanted to do it with me as well. We declared a late lunch to be our primary purpose, but it is impossible not to browse what’s out there!
On Tuesday, we had a very early flight to Amsterdam. Since Boris has Finnair Gold, we could hang out in the Finnair lounge and have breakfast there (and I forgot to take pictures :)).
Also, I upgraded us to Finnair Plus, so we had these cool seats with lights and elevated leg rests 🙂