Pana-memories and Meetups

2021 Jupiter team virtual meetup

It was just a bit over a year ago when my team gathered in Panama for our annual team meetup. Little did we know how fortunate we were to have that time together. Thanks to global COVID shutdowns shortly after, our team was one of the few that actually got to have a meetup.

Anteater in Panama

It seems like yesterday, and it also seems like it was a decade ago. I wanted to write more about it at the time, but a lot of my teammates were writing their stories, and it seemed somewhat repetitive. After a month or so, it was time to write, but then the pandemic hit.

The last thing I wanted to do at that point was highlight travels when everybody was in shock over being house-locked. Time has moved on, and it seems we are all adjusting in our own ways to our new temporary realities so it seems timely to write a bit about it now.

Yesterday we met for a virtual meetup — Automattic‘s way of giving us time to meet, albeit not in person. It was pretty awesome. Can you guess the team name? haha

2020 Jupiter team meetup roof2021 Jupiter team virtual meetup
Jupiter last year vs this year

Yeah, you are right if you chose Jupiter.

As you can see, the team switched up a bit. Three teammates moved to another division in the company and now work on in-depth support for WooCommerce. Another is working on a developer apprenticeship for a year then will come back to us.

Those of us left on the team spent a few hours in support and also gathered together for some testing of our product, giving feedback to the developers. Then came the super fun part. We grabbed lunch however we could. Special ingredients we purchased, takeout or whatever. One of our former teammates joined us.

I ordered from the tavern here at the ski resort and ate on the deck while yakking with my comrades/colleagues. After lunch, we played Drawphone, which is always a riot. It was more bonding than I remembered. It seems that over the years together, we have a lot of inside jokes that trickled into our drawings and responses.

While really missing the casual poolside and nature walk talks and the camaraderie of conversation around a dinner table, it’s nice to take a break from the main queues and have a bit of bonding time.

When the day was over, I went to my photos for a bit of reminiscing, and that’s what made me realize this might be a good time to write about Panama. Happy memories.

We celebrated Christmas in late January thanks to my creative colleagues…

And had fun with lots of other stuff:

Ship Moving Through the Locks. Amazing.

Aside from seeing my colleagues in person last year, highlights of time there (not counting work time) were seeing the ships go through the locks and taking a hike through a lush park. We saw a sloth waaaaay up a tree, observed leaf-cutter ants in action, and also eyeballed an anteater lumbering around super close to us. What a treat!

Sloth Finding

Sloth in Panama

The really nice images are ones taken by my colleagues and used with permission. Thanks, KP, Samantha and Carla 🙂

If you want to learn more about my colleagues, check out their blogs:

I hope next year we will be back to traveling and meetups. Even if the world doesn’t open up again by then, it’s still great to have virtual meetups and memories. And even better — wonderful, amazing, hard-working, kind, creative colleagues/friends (the same ones who sent me chocolate when I was recovering from surgery).

I’m very thankful for them.

9 responses to “Pana-memories and Meetups”

  1. I didn’t think I would ever say this, but thank God for Zoom. It’s been a lifeline for the past year and kept Pete and I from going stir crazy in our solitude. It will be nice though to be able to meet up with people in person again.

    • So true. I think we will all have a new appreciation for things we used to take for granted.

  2. What a marvelous post! I love the HUGE photos, and that sliding thingy with the live people and virtual pics is fantastic. What is that called??

  3. Oh what fabulous pics!!! And I see my daughter there!! Great, must be so nice to be able to reminisce, kind of wistful, eh? Travel will come back!!!!

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