Two Saturdays ago, I was in Reykjavik, Iceland, speaking at my very first international SQL Saturday. WOW! Is all I can say. While this SQL Saturday is one of the smaller events I’ve spoken at, it definitely made an impression and will most likely go down as one of my all time favorites. Why? There are so many reasons…
First, it’s in Iceland. I mean really, is there any place more beautiful?! Even in Winter it’s beautiful. Best part about Iceland – no trees to obstruct your view! I know some of you might think I’m crazy, but coming from the desert of Arizona where you can see for miles in every direction, it makes a huge difference. I moved to North Carolina 11 years ago and there are lots of trees, I mean LOTS of trees EVERYWHERE. You can’t see anything, it almost makes me feel claustrophobic at times. So for me, no trees is a huge plus! I got to take in some of the major tourist sites via the Golden Circle and saw some truly amazing things. There is so much history in Iceland it’s hard to comprehend at times. From the Vikings to the Summit between super powers that brought about the start of end of the Cold War to being the first country to have an openly gay female Prime Minister. So much history.
Second, the people of Iceland. Everyone one I met from the time my plane landed until my plane departed five days later, everyone was so nice! This goes doubly for the organizers of SQL Saturday Iceland. Asgeir Gunnarsson and his team did an incredible job of making me feel welcome and offered assistance with anything I needed. I couldn’t have asked for better hosts for my first international SQL Saturday.
Third, the speakers. OMG, the speakers at this event were so awesome. It was a huge melting pot of international speakers, there were folks from the UK, Ireland, Belguim, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, the list just goes on and on. Every single one of them were so friendly. Being a fairly new speaker and being surrounded by such tremendous speakers was an experience I will never forget.
Fourth, the event itself. I mentioned that this was one of the smaller events I’ve spoken at. This meant that it was very personal, you could talk with attendees, organizers and sponsors and not feel overwhelmed. You felt like you were talking with neighbors not strangers. They also had two of the best raffle prizes of any event I’ve ever been to. The first was an oversized “typical” Icelandic chocolate Easter Egg. Holy cow, I’ve never seen so much chocolate. I would have had to purchase another suitcase just to get this thing home if I had won! Then there was the case of beer (2 actually). Not sure if we could get away with that in the US, but it sure made an impression on me.
Fifth, my session. I had a good mix of attendees in my Data Types Do Matter session. Lots of interested faces, but not too many questions until I started bribing them with Girl Scout Cookies. Let me tell you, nothing breaks the ice like a Thin Mint or Caramel Delite!
Lastly, it’s in Iceland! Yes, I know I said this already, but it was so beautiful. So beautiful in fact, I’ll leave you with a few of my photos so you can see for yourself.