Life Before Spring IO 2022: The Speaker’s Dinner

(If you have the time, you could read Life Before Spring IO 2022: The JUG first)

On the the 25th of May I filled my day with a long walk to the Trifork office to recover my mac charger that I’ve forgotten at the BarcelonaJUG venue. Then I’ve continued my day with a long stroll to Park Güell with my friend Cristina and Joris, that apparently has never had the occasion to actually see anything in Barcelona, although speaking to quite a few events here because of how his flights were scheduled.

All day I was anxious about the Spring IO speaker’s dinner. Here’s the thing, my friend Cristina was supposed to come with me, to relieve my anxiety a little and keep me company, because I do tend to be a little introverted when surrounded by people I don’t know. I am the kind of person that needs a wingman or wingwoman to push me into socializing. But she dropped out and I just planned to stick around Joris all the time. Later she told me she intentionally dropped out to push me into talking to people on my own. It worked. I love having friends that know me better than I do.

Before telling you about the dinner experience, I have to make a huge parenthesis. When I did my first talk at Spring IO 2020 (remote ofc) some random guy that is also Spring IO speaker royalty, followed me on twitter and decided to let his followers know that he was going to finally take the certification exam and use my book to study. This guy is training Spring to others, and if he would have criticized my book, that would have been … ahem … bad. But still, I was curious if he was really going to do it, or ever mention it again and so I followed him back and waited. And waited, and nothing happened and I forgot about it. I mean, a lot has happened in my life since May 2020, and it’s not like I use twitter constantly, so it was easy to forget about this.

Now the same guy, who happens to be Maciej Walkoviak, asked on twitter who’s going to Spring IO 2022 on twitter, and I replied among others, with a smiley face. And this exchange happened. What you cannot see from that exchange is that when he said he wants to talk to me about the subject of my talk, I panicked, because in my head, this guy was (maybe) coming to my talk and (maybe) ask me questions (publicly) I did not have an answer for. So, although we never met face-to-face and he had no idea, he was now my own worst enemy. Ok ok … I did not actually consider him that, that would be childish. (Not that I wouldn’t be known to act like three children in a raincoat sometimes.) Still, the thought of him coming to my talk made my pulse spike to 150 beats per minute.

Parentheses over.

Getting to the venue involved a bus ride and when I was waiting for the bus, looking at all the people I don’t know and those I knew just from their twitter activity, I decided to just find a person I did not know and befriend them. So, I abandoned Joris for the first empty seat I’ve found next to an unknown person and ended up sitting next to Oleg Šelajev. This was a fail, because I knew of him from a previous Spring IO I attended when he was a speaker. Definitely not an unknown person. I remember looking at him and thinking he might have been a prodigy or something because he looked like he was in high school. I envied him. I started writing code in highschool as well, but only got paid for it after university. And this kid was already speaking at one of the biggest conferences in Europe! The venue was far enough to have a long chat and he proved to be quite funny and bright and … not in highschool. :)

We were received with yams chips (I think), olives and the best jamon iberico.

When entering the venue, I befriended Mary Gryglesky. We talked about her advocate work and made a pact if she is ever to visit Scotland to let me know, so I can show her all the best parts of it.

When she was pulled into another conversation, me and my glass of wine kept each other company while I was looking at the huge vinyl record collection at the venue and remembered I used to love UB40.

I still do. I think I need to buy myself that vinyl player that I’ve planning for so long.

Also, I have not listened to Zucchero in a while. And I should, because this guy rocks:

The next person I entered a conversation with was Tom Hombergs, a German living in Sydney and working for Atlassian. I drilled him about his move to Sydney and how he likes it and we chatted about other basic technical and non-technical things while munching on some amazing food. We also talked about our topics at Spring IO 2022 and oh my god … I love talking to tech people outside the company I currently work for! So many new ideas, approaches and ways to look at things!

Then I looked for Joris and got introduced to the group. And so I’ve met Matthias Haeussler, David Caron and Allard Buijze. We made a few jokes about the VMware and Pivotal dance and how this might going to end with Broadcom buying VMware, which means David left the conference working for VMware and would be getting back working for Broadcom.

And then Laurentiu Spilca found me. So, here’s the thing, he follows me on Twitter, I follow him on twitter, we exchange technical tweets and I have no idea how this started. He works in Bucharest for a company I used to work for, long, long time ago when I was young and intended to climb the corporate ladder. He apparently likes my books, and he is smitten with my technical prowess (literary exaggeration). This blew my mind, because he is also an author, and his books sell way better than mine.(Apress, you are doing something wrong somewhere!) So we instantly became friends. After some technical conversation, Romanian typical banter, and sarcasm I told him about the situation with my worst enemy. And he told me to just go talk to the guy and get it sorted. I don’t know if the two glasses of wine were to blame and his genuine confidence in me as a Spring professional, because I just said, You are right, I am going to do this, what do I have to lose?.

And after giving him the side-eye for most of the evening, there I was, taking confident steps toward my worst enemy, Maciej Walkoviak, without having any idea what to tell him. So, I just introduced myself and admitted that I have avoided him all evening because I am scared of him and his possible criticism of my future talk. And he mentioned my previously long curly hair and that he wanted to talk to me to learn from me. If there would be some cogs in my head, like in Disney cartoons, at that exact moment they would all be kicked out of their sockets. And we became instant friends.

I cannot tell you what else happened after that. By the end of the evening, me, Oleg, Laurentiu and Maciej were referred to as the easterners group because of some characteristics we all seem to share: we were all short, hilarious geeks.

What else I can tell you? The food was great, the venue was very nice and cosy and the company was exquisite.
Not sure what else was done in the previous years, but Sergi did a hell of a job choosing the venue this year.

In the next days I will writing another entry about the conference talks & workshops I participated. And of course I will be telling you about my talk, the one my new friend missed and he will never hear the end of it. :) I’m kidding, this is almost the last time he will hear of it.

I am officially on vacation and showing Scotland to one of my best friends, so bear with me. It is coming. I promise.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Stay strong Ukraine! Слава Україні!

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