This past weekend our family traveled to WordCamp Europe in Vienna. Overall, it was an exhausting trip, and I am starting to question whether I should be taking my child to a conference or (now that he is old enough) leaving him with his baba.
The trip started with a no-good-bad-day feeling. On the way from Gabrovo to Sofia, our car stalled and refused to start again. We sat in the car confused and hoping it would magically start for about an hour before we finally contacted emergency services from the previous village. They towed the car back for us but were unable to tell us what was wrong with it, meaning we would have to leave it in the village and find another way to get to Sofia.
Peatuk was a trooper, but after five hours of waiting around on the side of the road, at the mechanic’s, and in a small restaurant without a playground, he was getting cranky. We thought to take his tablet out of the suitcase to amuse him, only to find that it had been shattered. I was devastated, but put on a brave face and tried to keep him from having a meltdown.
Eventually, one of Nikola’s old friends picked us up and drove us to Sofia. We had been planning to arrive at 7 and enjoy a casual evening with friends, but we ended up getting in around 1:30am and not doing much besides falling asleep.
We were up by 5:30 to catch a taxi to the airport.
At the airport, Peatuk was super. He looked out the windows, excitedly chattering about the, “BIG airplanes!!!” There was a bit of running around, but nothing too bad.
For the first half of the plane ride he was great, too. He sat in his own seat between Nikola and I, and I read Dr. Seuss to him. He loved when they handed out snacks, probably because it was a sweet roll, which he doesn’t get a lot of at home.
However, the last thirty minutes he got quite cranky, and it was difficult to keep him settled, especially because the seat belt light was on and they would not allow me to use an infant seat belt with him.
Eventually, we landed in Vienna. I navigated the trains to our airbnb while Nikola and Peatuk slept. I enjoyed going into the city. It felt calm and peaceful but lively at the same time, and the people seemed overly polite.
We got to our apartment easily, and were in love with it. It was fresh and comfortable but completely child friendly. There were not many things to break and there were plenty of toys to keep Peatuk amused. I tried to get Peatuk to take a nap with me, but he was charged and ready to go, so we headed out to find the WordCamp registration.
WordCamp was in the Museums Quarter in downtown Vienna, which was pleasant but a bit small for 2000 people. Registration wasn’t open when we arrived, so we headed to a picnic instead. On the way to the picnic, I saw a carhartt store. It surprised me because it was set up as if carhartt was a fashion choice instead of work wear. I seriously felt like I was in a Diesel store or something. But I had a moment of nostalgia for my trail crew days and needed a belt, so I bought a carhartt belt.
The picnic was my favorite part of WordCamp. There was a small group of people, never more than 15 at a time, but constantly rotating so there were new people to meet. Nikola took Peatuk away and I had some in-depth conversations with content people. I would say that it was the only two hours during the entire weekend that I felt completely relaxed.
In the evening, we registered for WordCamp and then returned home to get some sleep.
In the morning we headed to WordCamp, excited to use childcare services for the first time. Unfortunately, Peatuk was less excited than we were and we got a call from the nannies to go pick him up within the first half an hour. For the rest of the day either Nikola or I had to stay with Peatuk at all times, which made attending the conference difficult. We also missed lunch, which ended up costing us an extra thirty euro to eat in the MQ. 🙁
In the evening, we went out with one of Nikola’s old co-workers for beer and meat. I was a little sad to not be able to down a few glasses of beer, but my pregnancy stomach barely allowed me a sip. I will say that Vienna does know how to grill meat, though.
The next day, I found myself completely overwhelmed at the conference. There were too many people and too much stuff and I was emotionally exhausted from putting on a brave face about our unfortunate trip to Sofia. I try to be more like Nikola and let these types of things slide off of me, but for some reason they always stick to me. By Saturday I was weak, and when I got the door slammed in my face at one of the conferences, I burst into tears that would not stop for about half an hour.
After that, the conference was more or less ruined for me. I had lunch with Peatuk and Nikola and took a long nap with Peatuk, chatting with another parent for awhile. She permanently travels with her husband and five kids. I have no clue how they do it!
That night we dressed up for the ball. Nikola even wore a dress shirt! Coming down the stairs from our apartment, I saw a hot guy with dreads, and it took me a moment to realize it was my husband. That moment, being so in love and excited about my husband, was another highlight of the vacation. We were only able to stay at the ball for a short time, because Peatuk was cranky, but we got to take some fun pictures.
On Sunday, we went to the Vienna zoo, which was incredible. I asked Peatuk which animals he wanted to see and he replied, “The big animals!” He liked the wallabies and the hippos, but was most excited about the fake animals that he could climb on and play with rather than the real animals in their exhibits.
Sunday night we had vegetarian food. Well, I had vegetarian food and Nikola had a burger. It has been several years since I have had a good tempeh and it hit a good spot deep down inside- making me feel comfortable and happy.
Monday morning it was back to Bulgaria, where things cost a third of the price and we understand everything. It was comforting to be home, despite having to pick up the broken pieces of cars and tablets and get back to real life.