Getting my bearings post-Devcamp

Hey, it’s me! 🥱 I come from a tired place. Not so tired that I really need to sleep—more that I’m still trying to get my bearings after a busy couple of weeks. Let’s be real here: something threw me off the rails a bit with regards to my blog. And some things really do that. A couple of weeks ago, I had a problem displaying emoji on my blog. If you know me—and even if you know me in a work context (as in, you’re my colleague—yeah, hello 👋🏻), you’d know purely by my Slack handle of @emojiqueen—you’d know that emoji are important to me for enriching communication, and I use them liberally on my blog. So having an issue with them being displayed on my blog is just not on.

That issue had me losing sleep over a few days, frustrated at something that was out of my control and happened out of nowhere. I don’t really like reaching out for help to the masses, even on what’s supposed to be helpful forums, so I tried to tackle the issue myself. I was searching many suggestions and solutions online, as well as trying to turn multiple settings off and on, but I couldn’t figure it out. I’ll spare too many technical details, but a brief explanation is: the emoji was displaying completely fine in my database but not rendering properly in my WordPress admin and on my blog, without me having changed anything.

My friend Holly had a more helpful response from her website host than I did mine (no diss on my host, just my host didn’t help me with the issue)—it was some specific PHP settings that caused the problem. Unfortunately, by the time she got that response, I’d already spent close to a week wrangling at the problem and had already converted the contents of my entire database to a format that I knew worked. 🥲 I could not stand to have my blog in a limbo state any longer than was necessary, so after a handful of days struggling with finding a fix, I took the easiest and quickest solution I knew. I had to go to our company off-site/conference, Devcamp, mid last week, so I was trying to get everything back up and running as soon as I could. Ah, it was all a learning experience nonetheless.

A view of the Hunter Valley just after sunrise
Tried to see the sunrise but it was a bit too cloudy

Devcamp went very well. As we collect feedback from the attendees, I am aware we can’t please everyone and that I do have a slightly biased view on how things went. As a team, I think we did well, but we know that there were things that could be improved, so the feedback is useful. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to help organise the past three Devcamp events, and I hope we are able to have it again next year. 💕 Naturally, we tried to improve based on feedback from previous years. There was more of a social focus this time, and more free time in the schedule, which was a big change from having conference talks on all three days of the event. Some of the reasoning behind this was due to this being our first Devcamp in three years, and many new faces in the company and the couple of years of working remotely meaning that we hadn’t even met some of our coworkers in person. We also had a few other departments join—previously it was just engineering and operations—which gave us an opportunity to share domain knowledge.

I’m so proud of us and it really warmed my heart to see people having a good time, making new friends and supporting one another.

A group of seven people in front of a projector screen, with their arms around each other and smiling
The organising team—amazing work everyone 🤗
A large group of over a dozen people in front of a projector screen, smiling and each holding a box and notebook
Amazing contribution from all the speakers. 🎤
A group of people on a shady basketball court, some wearing sunglasses, holding some large bamboo sticks
We got split into teams for a team activity!
A group of people sitting on couches and chairs, huddled around a table and playing a game with colourful cards.
Playing You Think You Know Me
Some people in a queue transporting white cardboard boxes
We packed boxes of non-perishable food to donate to families in need

A personal achievement for me would have been driving up to Hunter Valley and back. It was a little over two hours, and the painful part was getting the fuck out of Sydney—it took over an hour. I had company, though, since I picked up my manager (and friend, ha) Chris and he made a pretty decent passenger princess (that’s what the kids are calling it these days aye?), playing really good music and giving mostly good directions. We might have taken some wrong turns and missed some exits, but nothing that made me panic. I love having friends who are calm in situations where you’re operating a vehicle. I say that because I have just a bit too much trauma and anxiety with driving sometimes. 🫣

As with XOXO back in 2018, I felt a little bit down after the event. It was so hard saying goodbye to everyone and realising that it was over. It truly felt like I had a holiday and came back, but without all the people I’d connected with. And that’s hard. I may be introverted, and don’t get my energy from people, but the contrast between spending time with people and then suddenly not being with them… is difficult. I shed a couple of tears and moved on, really trying to focus on how grateful I was to have been able to talk with and spend time with people whom I might only really get to speak to remotely or over video calls, until the next time we meet again.

I did think about titling this as a “weeknotes” post, but I started to have second thoughts. I think my stint of #blogeverydamnday in January encouraged me to simply title my blog posts after what the contents include. Weeknotes started as a way to encourage me back into my blog, but I think that as I delve into trying to blog more frequently, I’ll be more open and descriptive in my blog titles. Whatever works!

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I hate when stuff doesn’t work right like that. It’ll just bug the heck out of me till it’s fixed. I have a hard time letting stuff like that go and it’ll end up driving me nuts.

Sounds like you had a great time. Sad that you felt so sad leaving everyone though.

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