This weekend I've been in Hamburg for the SunRay Team Building, the first of the team ever. The team is 6 year old already (although I've been here for one month), and they've never had the opportunity to stay together without thinking about work for a couple of days.
For me also, it's been a perfect introduction, since I've been able to met the people on the German side of the team. The idea of being out of work for a weekend it's been around way far before I started working at Sun, but the activity itself was kept in secret until the last week.
Once revealed, it sounded quite of crazy, a weekend on a boathouse with 12 beds 10 meters away from the Ploneer See lake where we can have barbeque. And the main activity was, canoing! Yes, that's it, 14 software developers from at least five countries sailing down a river in canoes. I have to admit that at first, it sounded quite of strange for me too, people are work are quite, I didn't imagine them sailing in a canoe. But that's exactly what a team building is all about, switch the context to enforce the relationship between members.
So we took a flight from Dublin to Lubeck on Friday morning, with Ryan Air, which is my first trip with Ryan Air ever, and I have to admit, that after 4 years of almost 16 flights per year, it's not that bad. We arrived to Lubeck and we had a 2 hours car trip until the rural hotel.
Once we settled at the boathouse, we started our barbeque, that wouldn't be possible without Tino's skills on roasting the sausages and pork chops. People told that the sausages were not that good, but after one month of Dublinese food, for me it was the most delicious sausage ever. We had also potato salad (I would say, mayonaisse soup, with some spurius potato pieces) and carrots with pineapple. I have some aversion to cold food other than desserts (for me, the only salad food which should be cold are potato chips snacks). Then, we passed all the night driking beer (not myself, but all the rest). The beer resources were wasted very fast, I would say that half of the cost of the whole weekend was wasted on beer.
The whole place was beautiful, I made some photos of the forrest and the lake, I'm starting to get interested in photography, I would like to be able to take better quality photos, but my camera is cheap and my budget low.
On the Saturday morning, we woke up early enough to get the breakfast and get ready for some canoing. We had a trip to the canoe center where we had some canoing lessons and started our trip. At some point we realized that we forgot to lift Geoff (everyone thought that he was on another car), when we got there, it was too late to coming back and pick him, I felt very bad when I realized that.
I shared the canoe with Klaus. After a while we were first, but I got exhausted very quickly and all the boats started passing us away so I decided to take it easier and enjoy the trip, there was 4 hours ahead yet. At some point, I decided to do the steering instead of Klaus, but it happened that I'm terrible at it, and we spent the whole stage in a slow zigzag curse. Then we toke the canoes walking for 1.5 km to get them in the last stage of the trip (in which, of course, Klaus steered again), but before that, we took a beer (ice cream in my case) break.
After 4 hours of paddling, we are were exhausted, we came back to the boothouse and had another barbeque for dinner, of course, we had to buy some beer first, and more chocolate (since Thomas' milkyways rant out on Friday night). Even we all were very tired, we managed to stay chatting between us. Cyrille, Ralf, Peter and me, were the lastest ones to go to sleep, we sayed the whole night talking about history, British humor and other couple of things. On sunday monday, I was so tired that I decided to skip my breakfast (after tons of kinder chocolate, I wasn't about to eat anything at that stage), after a while I wooke up to arrange my baggage and get ready to go back to the Lubeck airport. On lubeck we had lunch on a very nice restaurant, I haven't enjoyed a meal so much for a long time (again, the Dublinese food issue), I was sat with the German folks this time and I had a pleasant conversation about the contrasts between the German and Spanish languages and cultures with Ralf and Thomas.
Then we went back to the airport, and in a couple of hours I was back at home. So many experience, so many people, but after all, it was not that bad idea, I've enjoyed a lot and now I know who was on the other side of the internal IRC and staff meetings. I think that Dirk, our manager has done a great job organizing the event, although there was some people that didn't liked the idea, at the end of the day we all have been able to met us better and pass a pleasant weekend in a beautiful place. Good job!
On Wednesday I will met one month of my employment on Sun and so far, so good I'm feeling lucky for having the opportunity to work here, but now, I'm feeling even more lucky to have such a great work environment and such a enjoyable people on it (and yes, I'm being honest ;).
PS: You can see all the photos on the my flickr page.