TYPO3, Quebec, and July 4th

A couple weeks ago, I got to attend the TYPO3 conference in Quebec, and I’ve been so engrossed in PHP and design comps since I got back that I’m just now thinking about some of the highlights.

First of all, Quebec is an amazing city, and I’m glad Rebekah was there so we could spend a whole day exploring the city by ourselves. It is definitely more French than I was prepared for, but we had plenty of people willing to translate menus and signs for us. Canadians are some of the kindest people I’ve met, and we (almost) never got scolded for being monolingual.

They let me teach what I’ve learned about process through my jobs as a software engineer, developer, designer, systems administrator, project manager, and creative director. I was worried at first about the painfully small group in my room, but everybody was actually engaged and we had great questions and answers throughout the whole forty-five minutes. I was just happy we used the whole time; last year I spoke so quickly I finished in thirty minutes and there were no questions. After this year, I won’t feel bad asking to speak again.

Mostly, though, I was just there for the gathering of the tribe. Working with TYPO3 in the US is a little isolated sometimes because our numbers are so small compared to the huge community in Europe. For a few days, though, I can remember that there’s this whole group of people that I automatically have a connection with. We all share a passions for good design and development, and we’ve all done something to give back to the group through extensions, core development, blogging, speaking, or writing a book.

So, of course, I came back inspired and got straight to work with no real reflection on the trip. I worked on extension development, a PHP project, and a website design until I finally felt I had atoned for my days off in Canada. Now, on the July 4th, I’m taking a moment to reflect and be thankful. I’m thankful for all of the communities that I’ve been a part of: my church, the Air Force Academy, TYPO3, Dallas designers and developers, and many more — formal and abstract, large and small. I’m taking a moment to be grateful for their support and remember that I can still do more to support others in my communities.

It was a small gathering of like-minded individuals that created the country that gave me so many opportunities, and every day I see proof that small, motivated communities can still create amazing things. Happy Independence Day!