2019 in a couple of minutes

The year that is already over was amazing, filled with great events, and full of surprises. My life has been changed and I know that it won’t be the same. It started on January 7, 2019, when Russians celebrated Orthodox Christmas.

The email

It was an invitation from Toby Nieboer to a “90-minute text-only chat” and I was extremely happy about it. As somebody can guess, it was the beginning of my work at Automattic. I had got a vacation on my former work and I was passing an interview, a code test, and a trial to become an Automattician. I got good news on the 19th of April, 2019.

The beginning of May in Russia is a great time to recharge and relax, people usually make BBQ and hang out, but my case was different. I celebrated the May holidays by discovering my new environment to become a part of my new team as soon as possible. As every new Automattician, I had a two-week rotation in customer support while my fellows were on team meetup in Utrecht, Netherlands. So, when they came back I was ready to join my new team on May 3rd.

Chase the sun

There is an old joke about Russia that we have two winters: the green one and the white one. In fact, in 2019, Perm had only 4 clear days in June and 2 days in July, the rest of the days were either cloudy or rainy. The average temperature was about 20 Celsius. So, my wife offered to go abroad in August to catch the summer and to get vitamin D as well.

We had been thinking a lot about where to go in August. We wanted to visit a place with a seashore that would be pretty close to Russia. That way we decided to go to Azerbaijan. It was a month of sunny days, the Caspian Sea, and a pool as well. So we lived and worked remotely for the whole month! As proof that Automatticians can work from anywhere, I made the following photo that is also was posted to our Office Today blog.

Baku, Azerbaijan – Homebridge Hotel Apartments – 4th floor

Grand Meetup

We came back from Baku, Azerbaijan to Perm, Russia at the beginning of September. A couple of days later I had a flight to Orlando, Florida where Automattic conducted Grand Meetup, an event when all the automatticians meet together once a year. I didn’t know what to expect but I knew that it will be great. I got S-size hand luggage and a good mood.

When I went to an airport in Perm at about 4 am, there was a huge fog in the whole city. Because of that, my flight from Perm to Moscow was moved significantly to the latest time so my flight connection became broken. Fortunately, Aeroflot’s staff helped me to get another flight to Moscow. I came to Moscow earlier than my original flight but it wasn’t enough.

A plane landed at the Terminal D and the next flight will take off from the Terminal F. It’s pretty fine to walk from one terminal to another once you have enough time. But what to do if you have only about 15 minutes until the end of boarding in your next plane and a bunch of obstacles such as crowds of people and several controls? I had an answer – run as fast as you can!

Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO), Moscow – Image was got from travelwidget.com

People are very polite if they see that you’re in a hurry. Thanks to everyone who let me go before them, I appreciated it a lot. Even though I ran and went to my gate in time – there were a couple of minutes before the end of boarding – the staff told me that I can’t board this plane. No one told me that an Airline company I flew with changed my tickets and I won’t fly to Amsterdam, Netherlands as I should. Instead, I flew to Detroit, Michigan.

Although I should arrive at Orlando, Florida at 7 pm, connection changes led to me arriving at 11 pm, which is also nice because the next day was the first day of GM. In the end, it even helped me to avoid jet lag because I fell asleep as soon as I reached my room.

GM is a great event that worth its own post. Nevertheless, I want to share a must-have photo for every Automattician.

I’m excited about GM. Frankly, I was exhausted too, but it doesn’t matter. Those days were filled fully as much as it could be. I met about 100 people while there were 800. Thanks to organizers, I imagine that it was really tough.

Wapuu the Great

Before 2019 I thought that being a public speaker is a great opportunity for me. Thus, I sent a request when I had known that there is an opportunity to participate in the WordCamp conference in Saint Petersburg.

As you may know, Wapuu is an official WordPress mascot (which is distributed under the GPLv2 license or later). Misha Rudrastykh’s team created the new version of Wapuu. Why is it the Great? Do you know the Emperor of All Russia in 17 and 18 centuries? He is Peter the Great and he is the founder of Saint Petersburg as well.

Wapuu the Great looks amazing, isn’t it?

My presentation was about Automattic and approaches we’ve been using to keep us successful and productive. The presentation caused a lot of questions and I was happy to answer them in Q/A part of it and even after it was finished. It was a pleasant time surrounded by great people. Thanks to its organizers.

Speaking on WordCamp Saint Petersburg – Yasnaya Polyana Coworking Space

I liked the WordCamp in Saint Petersburg a lot and even plan to conduct it in Kazan in 2020. Thanks to Misha Rudrastyh for his conference recap, I believe that it will help.

What is the Dassie?

According to Wikipedia, the Dassie (/dasiː/) – as it called in South Africa – or Rock Hyrax is a medium-sized terrestrial mammal native to Africa and the Middle East. Anyway, long story short, here it is:

Dassie – hike to the Top of Lion’s Head Mountain

During our team Meetup in November 2019, we were in Cape Town, South Africa. Work-related activities were well-balanced, so we have a lot of opportunities to enjoy the nature of South Africa. Mountains, ocean and gentle sun are quite unusual for Russian people in November. As well as gallons of great coffee.

Thanks to Matty Cohen for this unforgettable time in Cape Town. I believe that I’ll publish a separate post about Cape Town including Wineries, Braai, Milk tart and African penguins – yep, it’s true, penguins in South Africa – and many many more!

New Year’s Eve

There are two exciting events for every Russian kid, they’re birthday and New Year’s Eve since Russians celebrate Orthodox Christmas later, on January 7th, next year. In 2019, we decided to have something special for New Year’s eve. Usually, we gather together at home, cook food, see the President’s speech and then we go for a walk or to see fireworks.

Our choice was to celebrate in the countryside, in 170 kilometers from the noisy city.

Location of Gostiniy Dvor (Recreation Center) – 170 km (2.5 hours by car) from Perm

Besides New Year’s party and listening to traditional President’s speech, we had plenty of other amusements such as going to a bathhouse and rubdown with snow, some of us dived into an ice hole, BBQ, fireworks and walking across the forest.

Our best present from 2019 is that we’re waiting for a baby. We’re waiting for the birth of our first girl, Bogdana in the middle of May 2020.

Daria and I – Gostiniy Dvor – January 2020

Thank you, 2019, you were great!

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