Lisbon recap!

It’s been a week since I got home so I’d better post about my trip before I forget everything!

I left on Tuesday, and flew the long leg with Deborah and Erica, which was nice, since I had a five hour layover at Newark. We spent that time doing our nails and I got my boots shined and okay this part isn’t exciting.

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Actually, shiny boots are kind of exciting.

We got to Lisbon Wednesday morning and got a tiny coffee and my first pastel de nata at the airport. Got to the airbnb, but the owner was running late meeting us so we stocked up on groceries in the store below our apartment (very handy, that!) Once we were in and settled, we…well, I don’t remember. Took a nap, I think. I was exhausted. Mahangu arrived and we went to walk around and get some dinner.

We walked down to the Time Out market, where I had another pastel de nata (this one warm from the oven and even tastier than the airport Starbucks one. Go figure.) We noticed flocks of Uber Scooters around, so Beckett, Mahangu, and I hopped on them while Erica decided it was best not to. We found a flat plaza and rode around and around and around.

Then dinner up a hill. It was yummy. There was ham and cheese and various other good food.

The next day was my birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!

We went to the bigger grocery store to get more provisions, and ended up having a very unsatisfying breakfast there. But we did get me a candy birthday cake! And we got followed around the store by security people. Turns out you’re not supposed to take photos in grocery stores. Weird. And then outside the grocery store was a pretty yellow tiled wall, so I made Mahangu take pictures of us all.

Back to the apartment where we got some work done. We were going to have lunch but then we decided to wait for Karen, who was arriving that afternoon. And by the time she got there we just waited for dinner. But that was fine because we had lots of ham and cheese and other delicious snacks to eat.

We had a call early in the evening with some other colleagues around the world, and then it was time to eat again!

Dinner was at a lovely restaurant on top of a hill. We had to climb a lot of stairs to get to it. We dined on delicious Mozambiquan-Portuguese food. Happy birthday was sung to me in Portuguese. We walked around some more after dinner.

Friday was a work day – we left to get lunch at the Time Out market. I had a prego steak sandwich. So yum. Later, Erica and Mahangu and I went to the Benfica game! It was pretty cool, even though I knew the boys weren’t exactly happy with me for going to a professional game without them. I did bring them presents back, at least. Benfica won, thank goodness, but it was close. After the game we got these amazing pork sandwiches (bifana) and Erica and I split the most amazing waffle with Nutella on it.

Saturday we worked. And walked around some more between working. I found my favorite book in Portuguese at a book market and of course bought it. We also found a fabric store (shocking) where I…bought fabric.

After that we went up to this elevator that basically just goes up a hill. The line was too long to wait, but someone told us about a free elevator we could use that didn’t have a line. No brainer! The views were beautiful. Didn’t hurt that it was a gorgeous, sunny day.

We ordered in for dinner that night. And Erica and I finished a puzzle Beckett brought.

Sunday we worked some more, and in the afternoon, Beckett and Mahangu and I went to a different part of the city where he was meeting up with someone. Beckett and I went on this little gondola thing and then over to a mall that was like Black Friday packed. It was nuts. But it had a ginormous grocery store in it as well, and I do love a grocery store. Picked up some souvenirs to bring home (but didn’t take pictures, of course.)

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Beckett on the gondola. So pretty!

Monday we decided to bring our work on the road. We took a train to Sintra, which is west of Lisbon. There’s a palace (Pena Palace). We had a driver bring us around, which was a great idea since it was cold and VERY STEEP. After the palace, we had lunch and the driver gave me a birthday present! (I mean, like I didn’t tell him my birthday was a few days prior? Do you even know me?)

After working for a little while at a coworking spot, the driver took us on a very winding and nauseating ride out to the coast, where you can stand on the westernmost spot of Europe. It was cold and windy, but beautiful!

We headed back to our apartment after that and got all packed up. Karen and Beckett and I had 5:20am flights, which was horrible. I slept for about an hour and a half, and then traveled for 24 hours and then made it home. Hooray!

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Got a frankfurter in the Frankfurt airport.

It was a great, productive trip. Lisbon is beautiful! But thank goodness I practiced for the hills by power walking at Orangetheory. Those hills are no joke!

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It’s impossible to pick a picture for today, we saw so many beautiful things. Don’t worry, the recap blog post will have them alllllll.

I ended up choosing this one from Pena Palace in Sintra, where we spent the day. But wait til you see the ones from the westernmost spot in Europe!

2019 Grand Meetup – the details

Usually I just write one big massive post about the GM, but I’m not mentally ready for that yet (still tired) but I do want to highlight the amazing details that went into it. Kudos to our amazing events team!

Mostly, it centered around the Automattic creed, which you can read in full here.

It was always handy, in the form of the room key cards…

And more:

Wrapping up Singapore

As I mentioned before, most of our time in Singapore was spent working, so I don’t have a ton of pics or anything, but I do want to wrap up my recaps so I can post about sewing again. 🙂

Mostly it’s gonna be a bunch of pictures again. Sorry.

Food and beverages. [Not pictured: The cheapest bottle of wine I could find at the only store I could find with wine and that was $23 (SG which is $17USD but tasted like $3USD wine) but had a corkscrew and we were staying at a hotel that didn’t serve alcohol so I tried to dig out the cork with a housekey but that only bent my key but turns out this hotel was quite nice so even though they don’t serve booze they do have corkscrews. Whew!]

Fabric shopping! We had one free day to do stuff, and you already saw my flower pics, so now you have to see where I dragged Karen and Deborah.  Continue reading

I’m in Singapore!

After 28 hours of travel (which included maybe 20 minutes of sleep) I finally made it to Singapore late Tuesday/early Wednesday (I left New Orleans Monday at 7am for context.) And then we only had about 5 hours to sleep before we had to get up to work Wednesday morning. Thank goodness the hotel has a magic coffee machine in the restaurant so all you have to do is press a button and caffeine comes out.

We haven’t been anywhere except the hotel and the coworking place so far (and they’re only about 500 meters apart) so I don’t have much of an impression of Singapore yet but tomorrow we’re going to do fun stuff.

Some photos so far, mostly from airports.

Tokyo airport!

After the one hour flight to Houston, I had a 13-hour flight to Tokyo. I watched lots of movies on that flight. Then I had a four-hour layover where I met up with Karen and Deborah, and we walked around the terminal pretty much the entire time. We had some delicious ramen, I bought the boys some manga in Japanese (obvs more for funsies than anything) and I got my Starbucks mug. But I was so, so, so tired. Deborah and I got on the flight to Singapore (Karen was on a different one) where I slept a little, watched a couple more movies (it was a seven hour flight) and ate a little bit of a real Japanese meal (this leg was on All Nippon Airlines.)  The airplane also had the fancy bidet toilet seat too. (I keep wanting to say “I was tickled that the airplane had the fancy bidet toilet seat” or similar, but it just comes out all wrong so I’ll leave that out.)

Anyway, we got to Singapore after midnight, met up with Karen again, got an Uber to the hotel, passed out in our rooms, and basically worked all day yesterday, passed out last night, and are finally feeling a bit rested today. Oh, and so you don’t think I’ve completely forgotten about sewing, I wore a Cashmerette Concord shirt I made last week that I’m really happy with, and I made Karen take a picture of me wearing it.

My new shirt!

 

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Look how cute we are!!

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Hopefully my next post will have more actual photos of, you know, Singapore.

London and Manchester 2017

How lucky am I? The second time in a year to go to my favorite place on Earth, and this time, no one was barfing all over the Airbnb. (Okay, honestly, nothing could ever beat our trip last Christmas, but that was definitely a low point.)

This trip was for work. My team (the Happiness Hiring team, also known as Athena) met up in London to work on things, and then we went to Manchester for a couple of nights for an event. It was very busy, but what better place to be busy? Plus, we’d just made our three European teammates (Dan, Cécile, and Hannah) travel to Canada for the Grand Meetup, so it was only fair we went to them this time. We’re so kind and generous.

Monday
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Auckland time!

Sorry for the delay, have been catching up on work and life and sick kids.

So I left off with us leaving Sydney on Friday. We had breakfast at the airport (Beckett said it was the best eggs benedict she’d ever had) and then got on our flight to Auckland.

You know, when you are flying from Australia to New Zealand, you think “oh, that’ll be an easy jaunt, it’s so close” but then you realize it’s a) not as close as it looks on a globe and b) another country. So the flight was almost four hours but since it was international, we got a meal and wine. Score! (But it also means passport control and customs yet again.)

So anyway, we watched La La Land on the flight, ate some reasonably yummy airline food, drank some New Zealand wine and then landed in Auckland. We got in a cab to get to our airbnb and proceeded to sit in gridlocked traffic for an hour and a half. The traffic was due to torrential rain that was causing…I dunno, flooding? Or just bad driving? In any case, our trip took three times longer than usual so by the time we got to the airbnb, we were tired and missed the speaker dinner.

Welcome to Auckland!

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A few days in Sydney

I really need to be better about blogging more during trips and not saving it all for the end when I get overwhelmed. I also need to remember to set my camera clock to the local time so I don’t have to figure out exactly how many time zones to adjust it afterwards. Especially fun when you have DST starting in one country while you’re gone. (Ultimately I decided life is too short to care if my photos’ data is off by that many hours.)

I apologize for any repeated photos from the last post or social media. And now, let’s start the recap…

I left for Sydney on Sunday, March 5. George and the boys dropped me off at the airport after lunch at Chipotle, and everyone was in high spirits. I had a bit of time to wait, so I was still at the gate when Linus called me, sobbing, and begging me to come home. Well, break my heart, why don’t you? Talk about feeling like the World’s Biggest Jerk. Sigh.

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Leaving #nola. #travelmattic #timelapse

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I’m not going to bore you with the details of the next 20+ hours. First I flew to San Francisco, which took 4 hours. Then I waited for Beckett, and we got on the 15 hour flight to Sydney. It was fine. I slept a few hours here and there (which is huge for me, so yay) and I watched a few shitty movies. United can bite me for still having the old movie selection on the plane, so there was nothing I hadn’t seen a zillion times. LAME.

We arrived in Sydney on Tuesday morning, which still doesn’t fail to freak me out a little bit (WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY?!?!?) Getting through security and customs and all that was a piece of cake, though I was pretty upset not to get a single new stamp in my passport during this entire trip. Sad! However, the reason for this appears to be that everything is automated and therefore extremely fast, so I shouldn’t complain too much.

We got a taxi to the hotel, the Metro Hotel on Pitt. It was nice. They held our luggage while we got lunch at a sushi place in a nearby shopping center. I posted a pic on Instagram and it seems as if everyone on earth has been to this exact sushi place. We did a little shopping after, and I got some lipstick that was very appropriately named for my job. (The final interview for everyone applying to work at Automattic is called the Matt Chat. I wrote a little about it here.)

After we were able to check in, we took little naps, then got some dinner from a place down the street. Found a bottle shop for wine, and watched some Australian tv before crashing. (Well, American shows on an Australian tv set.)

The next day we went to find somewhere to get some work done. We ended up (after getting lost and going to the wrong train station) coworking at an adorable cafe on an adorable little side street kind of alley thing in an area called Artarmon with our coworker Kristen. When the cafe closed, Kristen invited us back to her lovely home where we drank her wine, ate her candy, petted her bunnies, and played Ticket to Ride. We are outstanding guests.

That evening, we…ate again? Probably drank a little wine? It was a week ago, now!

The next morning we got up bright and early for a run. Our hotel was not far from a park (Hyde Park?) that connected to another park (?) that led down to the Sydney Opera House and the harbour.

It was such a nice run! It was cool outside and not sunny, and we ended up running 5k (but Beckett only counts running, so including the walking and climbing stairs and stopping to admire the flowers, we actually went a lot further.)

 

It was a great run. After we got back to the hotel, showered, and ate breakfast, we headed to the Zoo. We were determined to see some Australian animals, and since we were sticking to cities, we figured this would be the best way to go about it.

We saw adorable schoolchildren, koalas, kangaroos, lots of snakes that can kill you, and other exotic and deadly and cute creatures.

Later, we made our way across the Harbour Bridge (via train again) and got off in Milsons Point. The view of the Opera House from this vantage point was really spectacular, but we really came across to see Luna Park up close. Kind of nutty. It wasn’t open, sadly.

After lunch, we headed back across the water and did a little shopping and saw a giant fluffy dog and then rested up before our event that evening. We were hosting a little gathering for the local WordPress meetup group, where we chatted about support and hopefully convinced some people there to apply to work at Automattic!

The next morning, we had to pack up our stuff because we were headed to Auckland!

To be continued…

 

A few pics from Sydney

Today we are in Auckland, but Beckett and I were in Sydney from Tuesday to Friday. I will post a lot more photos and words when I have more time, but for now, just a few pics…

11 days in Europe

Okay, I need to just get this written before I forget everything.

For a good recap of Spain, read Erica’s post here.

Friday morning

Arrived in Barcelona, after a flight with no sleep. I tried. I really tried. At least I got to catch up on some movies.

Had my first jamon sandwich, then met Erica at the airport (her flight arrived not long after mine) and we headed into town to drop off our luggage at a locker, and then we just wandered around until our Airbnb was available.

Many, many photos from that day are in this post.

Walked through the Gothic Quarter, made our way through a path of what felt like miles of blankets covered in fake Michael Kors handbags, “Nike” sneakers, and sunglasses. Finally got to the beach! Put toes in Mediterranean!

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A visit to the Sagrada Família

Erica and I went to the Sagrada Família on Saturday the 18th, after we’d given our talk. (More details on all that later.) I had tried to go when I was in Barcelona last time, cough cough, but didn’t get to.

Anyway, I’m not usually one for visiting old buildings or churches, but this was truly exceptional. So unique and breathtaking and many other adjectives. Construction began on this church designed by Gaudí in 1882 and it’s not done yet.

Erica and I also booked tickets to the tower, which was fun and hair-raising. (You take an elevator up but a tightly wound spiral staircase down, and it’s kind of terrifying.)

Without further ado…

Details outside

The interior

Views from the tower:

Terrifying staircase:

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People right as they walk in, stop, dumbfounded, then take pics.

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They say it’s going to be finished (finally) in ten years. We’ll see.

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