Jet lag and double Dutch at WCSF14

For me WordCamps are all about meeting, learning, talking and discussing. Last week I was so lucky to be able to visit WordCamp San Francisco 2014 (WCSF14) with the accessibility contributors team.

After the conference there was a discussion day about several topics to improve WordPress and two days of working with different contributor teams to make new plans and work together. This last three days were held at Automattic, which was kind of special.

Graham Armfield will blog about what we did as a team and what our plans are, and I blogged about WCSF14 itself, but here’s what I learned personally.

Jet lag

Traveling for more than 20 hours from the Netherlands to San Francisco with a time difference of 9 hours is quite tiring. We arrived much later than planned. I wanted to join Carrie Dils’ Genesis Happy Hour, just missed it (damn); needed to visit the volunteers briefing, missed that too.

The next days I had no more than 4 hours sleep a night, waking up at 2, being not able to sleep again, living on Starbucks triple lattes to keep awake during the day.

It didn’t help much that the Giants did very well in the World Series, a lot of noise in the streets during the night.

Double Dutch

After 3 days of intense talking and not enough sleep, I found it more and more difficult to talk proper English and understand fast American English. Then I experienced a weird reaction from the people I was talking to: when I started a sentence and stopped for a moment to find words, people took over the conversations and ignored me and what I was trying to say.

Getting really pissed off about this, I tried harder to join in. But my brain didn’t allow a fast and furious discussion anymore.

This ended in me walking out of an important discussion of the team with a core developer about a ticket on trac. After trying three times to say something and being ignored by the main participants, I took my computer and left.

Feeling very upset I smoked a few cigarettes outside Automattic and decided to leave for the hotel. There I finally could sleep for a few hours.

In the hotel room I gathered my thoughts and wrote a decent response with the discussed ticket. Now I could say exactly what I wanted, in my own time.

I decided that fast discussions with people in English is not for me. Much more productive is to discuss online, there I have time to think about what to say, and I will always be heard, because it’s written down and logged. Using Slack (which I love) and posting responses on tickets is a better way for me to get my voice heard.

Lessons learned

I’m more productive discussing stuff in writing than in real life.

And a good night’s sleep makes the urge to strangle other developers miraculously disappear.