LinuxCon North America was a wonderful experience. I had the best intentions to blog it, but at the time, I just wanted to be in the moment and be a part of what was happening. I still felt that way when I got home, while the mindset I took from there was still lingering.
My talk went incredibly well, thanks to some help from my friends. First, I had my days of the week mixed up, and I wasn’t realizing that my talk was on the first day! I thought I had one more day to practice, but when I got to the venue they warned me that I was on in just a few hours. Everything went just fine, though, because for one, I’d given this same talk twice before. For another, I had supporters in the audience. I like to think to myself that I’m an experienced Toastmaster and don’t really experience stage fright. But I’ve heard in my evaluations that I can sound rushed and clumsy when I’m not feeling my best; and given my poor sleep at home and some flight hassles, I was definitely off. Their smiling faces and eye contact helped me through the stumbles, and their well thought out questions started a productive conversation that went well into the next hour. Thanks, friends.
I also got to meet face to face with my OPW mentor once more. He didn’t have long, being on his way to the airport soon after I arrived, but he had time to sit down over the code with me and help me get over a hurdle with my project. Technically, we could have communicated over IRC, email and Pastebin; but somehow, I learn a little better when I sit down in front of a screen with someone.
Near the end of the conference someone asked me if I’d made any new connections or firmed up any old ones. I stammered out an excuse, because I couldn’t think of any specific instance in which I had done that. A few minutes later, I realized that that was practically all I did while I was there! There was a continuous flow of connection and interaction practically the entire time I was at the venue. That is what it feels like to belong.
I’m envious of the folks who get to go to LinuxCon Europe and the Linux Plumber’s Conference next week. I’ll be missing so much! It’s time for me to focus on my work and my job hunt, though, so I’ll just have to do a good job and earn the right to go next year.