Whew! I can’t believe it’s the end of November already. I’ve been on the move (quite literally) since about mid-September. It’s all been good stuff, but I’ve had very little downtime to catch my breath (always good when you’re an availability guy, right?).

My fall usually starts with the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I usually spend time with my family for one of them, so I was down in NJ for RH. I was at home for YK, and the next night, flew to Europe for SQL Rally Europe. I spent a few days outside of Paris before heading to Copenhagen. Rally was a great experience, and I delivered a pre-con and one session during the event. I flew home immediately after Rally and not only had some customer work, but was spending time preparing for the pre-con Ben and I delivered at PASS Summit 2012, as well as for the two sessions during the Summit itself (both on Friday afternoon, no less). Then I flew to Australia (via Los Angeles) where I’ve been since the 12th of November. I just delivered two weeks of training (two 4-day classes) in Brisbane and Canberra with labs. So besides preparing and delivering two pre-cons and three sessions between Rally and PASS, I was updating my SQL Server mission critical/HA course to have labs which then saw their debut these past two weeks. Oh, and I presented to the Queensland SQL Server User Group while I was in Brisbane! Needless to say, I’ve been fairly heads down in content land for the better part of the past 3 – 4 months, and I’ve still got a book to finish (yes, I am working on it – hope to have it done sometime in Q1 CY 2013 if all goes well).

As I sit here at the airport in Canberra waiting for my flight to Sydney where I’ll connect to my flight to Tokyo (vacation here I come!) where I’ll have a few days of R&R before heading home, I want to thank everyone who took the time to attend a session, pre-con, or one of the two courses I just delivered here in Australia. I am extremely grateful, humbled, honored to get these opportunities. I know not everyone does, and I do not take it for granted. I want to send a heartfelt thanks to everyone at Wardy IT in Australia  for not only giving me the opportunity here, but who also made the past few weeks a breeze and outside of doing my job, I didn’t have to stress over much else.

To be honest, I thought this trip would be more of a grind than it has been. I left Waltham on November 4. Luckily, I’ve paced myself and done all the right things where I have yet to hit the proverbial wall (although I probably just jinxed myself). I also haven’t done too much sightseeing down here in Australia – I’ve been mainly working. Whether it was tweaking content, fixing labs, stressing about lab room setups … but these are very, very first world problems. And yes, SirSQL (nee Nic Cain – blog | Twitter), I even got some sleep. I was VERY pleased with the way the labs came out and the students really seemed to love them. I will tweak them a bit before the next delivery, but a 4-day hands on beats any of the 3-day deliveries I’ve done. The feedback was almost universal in how much the labs helped tremendously and enhanced the experience. I didn’t half-ass it – I really thought about what would make a good experience for the students and that’s what I did; MOC is ain’t (sorry Microsoft!). Looks like I was spot on. It was a lot of work, but worth all of the time invested. I hope to deliver the course again soon. Where? I don’t know, but stay tuned.

If all that wasn’t enough for you, I just turned 41 this week on top of everything. What a better way to treat myself than go to arguably my favorite place on the planet to visit – Tokyo? I’m looking forward to NOT thinking about SQL Server and enjoying the sights, sounds, and well, shopping. I know Brent Ozar (personal blog | professional blog | Twitter) is cursing me right now 🙂

All of this great stuff happening to me is a far cry from where I was last fall. Just search my blog. After the death of my friend Mike, well, things just were not all honky dory for me. I had arguably my worst PASS Summit ever, and I basically went to Tokyo (right around this time, actually) to just get away and escape from all of that. A year later, I feel renewed and as crappy as all of that was to go though, it made me stronger and I appreciate what I do have even more. I guess I’ve been on a path of personal redemption that has seemingly come full circle 12 months later.

I’m not done for the year – I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to blog about (and some of it is even technical!) but it won’t happen until I’m back Stateside. Have a good one, kids!