Aaron Campbell, Matt Mullenweg, Raquel, & Dave Ryan at the WCEU Pride Social.

Last June, I represented The WP Minute in Porto, Portugal for the highly anticipated, long-overdue regional event. WordCamp Europe. Postponed not once, twice, but thrice times.

I had low expectations. I mean, for me. I’m a wide-eyed, the glass is always FULL kind of girl (you read that right). So, to protect me from extreme letdown, I set the bar low… ish.

That main stage, tho.

As it was, I was representing two brands. My day job, managing events and community for Elegant Themes, and as a WCEU Media Partner for The WP Minute. Oh, and I was a communications volunteer for the event as well. ๐Ÿ˜… My plate was full.

So when all of the invitations for private parties, VIP dinners, and open parties came flooding in, I was careful and strategic in my replies. —– Yeah, right. Haha! Do you know me?? I RSVP’d “Yes ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ” to everything! I made the right choice.

The week was jam-packed. Morning, noon, and night. Wednesday morning through the wee hours of Sunday morning. And, it was magical. Witchcraft. If I would’ve set the bar at Raquel standards ahead of time, instead of the low standard I gave it, I still would’ve been blown away.

The two-and-a-half years this pandemic has taken its toll on our lives hit deeper than I realized. Which is curious. I’m an extrovert and took a severe hit from the forced isolation. I was in pain. So much pain. But, whether curse or gift (I’ve yet to decide), I’ve got that wide-eyed, always positive built-in force field. Always hopeful. Quick to forgive. Quick to forget. And, forget I did.

I forgot the power of WordCamps. I forgot the power of IRL experiences. AND, I’VE PREACHED IT FOR THE LAST 2.5 YEARS!! I’ve been loud about hating virtual and desperately wanting to feel human vibes on a large scale. So, homegirl is over here practicing what she preaches but forgetting that it’s real. Well, I was reminded. And, I remembered.

WordCamp Europe was everything our community needed. Collaboration, contribution, connection, and relationship building. My heart pulled a grinch and grew three sizes bigger only my heart wasn’t three sizes too small to begin with so, you can imagine what the size of my heart looks like now. ๐Ÿ˜…

Shane Pearlman & Josh Strebel on the Acquisitions in WordPress Panel
Shane Pearlman & Josh Strebel – Acquisitions in WordPress Panel

As stated here,

“…I think people are just nicer in person ๐Ÿ™‚ So the kindness, helpfulness, and thoughtfulness of existing contributors becomes really contagious when you get to not just work together, but break bread and hang out as well.”

Matt Mullenweg – Post Status

I agree. ๐Ÿ’ฏ I cannot wait for the next opportunity to pour into the relationships I’ve built and to create new ones. And, I’m so excited to be able to use my gift of communication and community and contribute to the WordPress open source project IRL, once again.

See you in San Diego at WordCamp US.

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