What do Italy and Mexico Have in Common?
Everything started a few months ago when I posted this question on my Facebook profile page. It was amazing how many people answered my post. But, really, what do Italy and Mexico have in common? Reading this article, you will realize that they share much more than just the colours of their flags!
Same Date, Different Places
The 8th of November was the day when two big Joomla! events took place this year.
In Milan, at 8:30 a.m., JoomlaDay Italia opened its doors to 1200 excited attendees. The organizer, Alessandro Rossi, along with the lively presenter Giuliana Ubertini, welcomed all the speakers, sponsors and others who joined the 7th edition of the event.
A few hours later in Cancun, Mexico, a thrilled Sarah Watz opened the 3rd Joomla! World Conference to a likewise large audience.
The high concentration of Joomlers in both countries was amazing, and we made social media tip with the weight of so many #j hashtags and Joomla! pictures.
As somebody answered my post on Facebook, both countries are known to have people who enjoy the “good life” and great food. True! This is our Latin spirit, so well-known by tourists all around the world! But for one day, we forgot about nationalities, we overcame our cultural differences, and we all felt the same under the Joomla! spirit of sharing and collaborating.
We are not Italians or Mexicans, English or Americans, we are Joomlers and we are known to be as good at coding, designing, translating, and writing, as we are at enjoying a cold beer, sharing a morning coffee or tasting a nice glass of wine.
Joomlers are everywhere. They don’t have a country because the whole world is their home. They travel with a specific mission: to spread their love of Joomla!
Funny, isn’t it? Mexico and Italy have similar flag colors (I say similar because the color hues are actually quite different…); red, white and green. But on the 8th of November, both countries shared exactly the same flag.
For those of you who don’t it know it, the Joomla! flag travels all around the world, from hand to hand, and belongs to the Joomlers.
There is a lovely ritual behind the J! Flag that maybe not everybody outside the community is aware of: after a Joomla! event is finished, organizers are invited to sign the flag. Every time, I watch this ritual with lot of enthusiasm, dreaming of one day signing it myself. And this year my dream came true: Alessandro invited me to add my signature next to his on the flag. I felt extremely honored!
I speak Italian and I speak a bit of Spanish, too. The similarity of those two languages is amazing. In fact, it is known that Italian people try to speak Italian when they travel in hispanic countries and viceversa. I confess that now my Spanish is a mix of Italian and Greek and it sounds quite exotic. Imagine that if you can!
But for one day, both countries were speaking the same language and it was not English. There is something higher that keeps all the Joomlers on the same page: we all understand about Joomla! Whether it is code, design or documentation, marketing or finding a bug in the code, we all contribute in different ways to transform Joomla! into an accessible and easy-to-use CMS. No matter which country they come from, Joomlers are also known for a great ability to smile, cheer others up and share their knowledge. In fact, I have never felt alone at any Joomla! event I have attended.
During the JoomlaDay Italia event, I heard a lot of people saying that it is difficult to contribute at a more international level, because English is not really their language. I think those barriers shouldn’t exist in an international community like Joomla!. Everybody should feel comfortable speaking his/her own language. English is quite common, but if it is not your strength, ask somebody in the community to help you translate your article or your request for help. You will be surprised by how many people speak Spanish or Italian and are willing to help you!
And if you are a new Joomler, do not worry! You will learn to speak the Joomla! sign language soon. It is contagious!
People with Latin roots do it better! I am sure you know about this joke. If you don’t, never mind, because if you are a Joomler, you do it the best!
We are passionate, dedicated and sometimes we over react. There is a flame inside our hearts that burns and keeps us believing we are doing something greater than ourselves. As good Latin people, we feel like a big family. We have our values and we believe in our mission. We share and teach others to do the same. I met lot of interesting people during JoomlaDay in Italy. I admired their energy and willingness to share and improve the project. Some of them have done great things for the community on a local and national level!
And of course, you couldn’t have missed the social media storm that happened! A lot of #jselfies were done during both events. It was going viral that now we had a hashtag for it. But the most amazing #jselfies are mine and Sander’s, with all the Joomlers!
I asked the Italian Community to stand up and show the international Community that they are “good climbers” (my presentation was all about discovering great places with Joomla). The answer to my request was amazing and unexpected!
As I went back to my island in Greece, I felt extremely rich. I feel lot of gratitude for the Italian Community. I took with me a lot of energy from all the people there who do so much every day for the Project. And to those who have asked me if I ever regretted going to Milan instead of a sandy beach in Cancun, I answer that I felt I was in both places and everywhere.
There are no boundaries or physical places that you can’t reach if you are a Joomler.
And this is magical.