Overview of GUADEC 2018

19 Jul 2018

This is intended to be a general summary of my experiences. I have a tendency to write walls of text so several things listed here (e.g. beach BoFs) will be separate posts and linked here in the future!

As I try to be short with this overview I had to get some of these personal thoughts out (GUADEC specific stuff begins at the “GUADEC in Numbers” heading).

While reflecting on my first GUADEC experience, I can’t help but think back to the first time I used GNOME. I was instantly drawn to it and knew I wanted to join the community as a contributor; I never imagined that time would be now. I’ve always pictured I needed to be in my 30s or 40s; have a degree; be a senior developer and/or engineer; have a slew of accomplishments and other criterias that I likely will never meet, before I could contribute. After meeting all of the incredible folks at GUADEC, I can happily say everyone who wants to can and should contribute to GNOME. Whether they think they are ready to contribute or not yet, regardless of who they are intersectionally, there’s a place for everyone here.

In the same train of thought I struggle with my conflicting beliefs that while everyone else is already good enough as they are, I’ll never be good enough. Despite the incredible support I’ve been given, it’s a constant fear that’s never-ending. So when I walked into the Thursday pre-registration party and realised it was an actual party (and no pre-registration either) I couldn’t stop shaking from my panic attack, panicking at all of the groups of people who belonged there and I didn’t. I was also really stressed out before the conference began, with everything that went wrong contributing to that fear. It became a lovely evening and night in the end thanks to Ismael (thank you for hosting us in Almería!) who welcomed me to GUADEC; Philip Chimento, my mentor, found me sitting in a corner (oops), helped me grab Fanta Limón, then introduced me to the other maintainers and contributors there; all of the wonderful maintainers and contributors I met throughout the night.

I’m still not sure if I belong since I feel like I’ll never fully understand all of what makes up GNOME. Yet going to GUADEC absolutely confirmed and sealed my love for GNOME and the community; even if I don’t think I belong, I’m rather stubborn and I’ll just keep working at it in my corner until I’m someday good enough. I’m not sure if there are others with similiar sentiments or experiences but if there are you’re not alone.

GUADEC in numbers

Miscellaneous Spain stuff in numbers

A few select highlights

I absolutely adored meeting the other interns! I ended up being the only Outreachy intern to attend with everyone else being from Google Summer of Code (GSOC). It was incredible getting to hang out with them all over the place like at the imprompt intern beach BoF, relating and sharing with each other on our experiences, sharing information with one another on our projects and areas of GNOME we are working on, several debates occurred even while building our sand castles! I’m super looking forward to shipping bridge 3.1 with Julian next year if there’s a beach since our 3.0 was fantastic (until it collapsed at the end of our video!) huzzah!

Another coincidental intern thing was finding out and meeting Philip’s other GJS intern, Evan. We ended up going to both of Philip’s talks and overall freaking out about working on GJS with Philip whoo ✨

It was hilarious discovering we shared a ton of similarities then stumbled upon Niclas, another intern working on Meson, thus becoming the celiaco trio! Discovering restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, even being invited by an English teacher to check out an Italian naval training ship she was teaching on then going to see it (!!!) together was absolutely darling.

Some unexpected things I did at the conference included getting 1L of free chocolate ice cream in the Ice Cream Death Match. At first I had assumed it was a volume contest, not a speed contest, but didn’t really care since free ice cream and knew I could finish it pretty quickly. While I had intended to eat quicker than normal near immediately after we began, Adi, another intern who sat next to me, ended up completely demolishing his ice cream in under 2 minutes thus winning the match! I finished mine slowly around the 10 minute mark or so. No one else finished theirs so I was kind of disappointed since I had hoped everyone else also really loved ice cream (and eating lots of it at once).

Niclas, Evan, and I watched the AGM from the balcony following the slides on our devices. This also happened to be where I accidentally continued on my conference tradition of shouting from the balcony. When they were describing who won this year’s Pants Award, after the third statement when they said cooking I immediately thought of my first night in Almería when everyone raved about Sri’s cooking. Before I could stop myself I shouted, “It’s Sri!” while mortified internally at the same time (thankfully I was right huzzah!).

Another accidental thing I did was running into the first room I saw with air conditioning, thinking I’d work in a corner quietly with music on. It turned out to be the Engagement Hackfest BoF which I ended up participating in! That led to me writing an issue on bridging Matrix and Telegram and proofread/give feedback on the Annual Report for 2017. I also joined the Developer Center BoF which was lovely, too.

I think for now the last highlight would be teaching locksport until it was near dawn. It was totally accidental the way it happened in the Civitas lobby but it was really darling. Plus I finally got to give away basically all of the lockpicks and practice locks I brought with me!

Final thoughts (for now!)

In the end I had so many wonderful experiences that I can’t describe just how absolutely incredible my time at GUADEC in Almería was in a single post (nor multiples even). I’ll at a future time post a few write ups of some of the BoFs (e.g. sandcastle BoF, intern beach BoF, locksport BoF). For now, here’s the last picture I took before I departed Civitas. Guess who had the Pi room?! 😍🐰

Lots of thank yous

Thank you so much to the GNOME Foundation for covering my trip to GUADEC; to Outreachy for my internship with GNOME; to Philip Chimento, my incredible mentor, for everything from GJS to helping me with my anxiety to even also loving cheesecake aww golly; to all the other interns I met, you’re all super amazing 💙; to all of the people above and everyone else who helped make my experience at GUADEC and GNOME 3darling5world, I have so many precious and priceless memories now. So many hugs and love to you all!