I had a blast. (Grab a cup of coffee, this will be a long post).
I got back yesterday morning and have basically been sleeping since then, as a) I got a really bad flu and b) I did not really sleep when I was in Italy (and ok c) a really small hangover.)
I was so busy preparing before we left, that I actually never checked out the hotel where the Teamwork event would take place. And it was Grand Hotel Dino on amazing Lago Maggiore. I think I will let a few pictures speak for themselves.
The view from my hotel room / balcony.
And yes, they had palm trees too. Doesn't this feel like vacation?
On Thursday, we started the event with a boat ride. We rented an ancient steam boat to fit all 200 people that were participating. There were 15 teams that won their regional competitions, from all across the world: Guardamar and Alagon, Spain; Hannover and Bochum, Germany; Assenede, Belgium; Strasbourg, France; Pune, India; Curitiba, Brazil; East London, South Africa; Straz pod Ralskem and Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic; Burton-on-Trent, UK; Mioveni, Romania; Bursa, Turkey; and Lozorno, Slovakia.
Needless to say, that in events like those, you understand what diversity means. The event was held in english, but except Burton, nobody was native. All teams are out of out manufacturing plant, so to travel to Italy itself was something that most people had never done.
This is the old steam boat we took for a ride on Lago Maggiore.
The riverfront of Lago Maggiore.
The ride itself was magnificient, but it was freezing cold (about 30 degrees F). Hence my flu.
An old hermitage we could see on one of the small islands while driving by.
Extremely calm waters - really soothing for the mind as we had red wine and the sun was slowly settling.
Last rays of sun shining over the mountains of Lago Maggiore.
And another picture taken from my balcony at dawn.
We had dinner at a 2 star Michelin restaurant that evening (there are only something like 6 2-star restaurants in Italy) and the teams were performing small team introduction shows. Among them were traditional dances out of India, South Africa, Brazil, and Slovakia, sketches from Belgium, Germany and Songs and many more from the other countries.
I went to bed too later after too many gin Tonics,. but we had a lot of fun.
The next day, the Final competition took place. The theme was Ice Age, with slight modifications of the story. Manni the Mamouth was frozen, and the team's creativity needed to unfreeze him.
We were welcomed by a giant Sid and Diego (the picture was taken after Manni was unfrozen).
I was part of the jury (a really silly job, since I wanted all the teams to win). The first prizes (actually two teams won, Brazil and France) will participate in the Asian finals and will spend a week in Bali.
Obviously we jury members had to be dressed up as well. So what would fit better than penguins? We were wearing white dress shirts, black ties, black jackets and sparkly penguin hats. And we also had Ice Age names, and I was Nicki Northpole.
The performances were a lot of fun. My pictures did not turn out really well, so I will only show a few until I get some "official" ones.
This is Turkey, who got dressed up as bees, with their goal to improve honey production (which they achieved in the end by replacing human bees by robot bees - which was kind of sad ).
The performance of the Indian guys was really cool, since they did not really use any other properties, and they basically just told the story with their bodies.
In the breaks we did small competitions with the entire group, like who can sing louder (guys or girls), who can guess how many languages we speak in the company, or in this case, which team will be the fastest to blow up 50 ballons.
One of the most impressive teams to me was South Africa. They brought traditional costumes (not in this picture), were singing songs in their own languages (basically non-stop throughout the day), and had their faces painted for the gala dinner. I would just love to visit Africa one day. These women seem so proud to me.
It was a really emotional three days. I had tears in my eyes more than once, when the teams showed the spirit of their countries and how dedicated they are to our company. And at the award ceremony, I could not keep it anymore, when the Brazilian team was announced as a winner, and we (jury) were up on stage and the team members were dissolved in tears, came up to us and kissed our hands and faces and said "Muito Obrigado" (Thank you so much in Portuguese). It just tells me how much things that are really small to us can mean so much for somebody else.
To close this post, I would like to show you a short video, the closing of the show event (before the award ceremony). It just reminds me what a great company we are and that there is much more than sitting in an office and trying to get through the day. We have great people working for this company.
And excuse the shaky pictures, but I was trying to dance and take the video at the same time. And the sound is silly since I was sitting right next too the speaker and it was so loud, that I am surprised I can still hear today. But it should give you a small flavour of how much fun it was. No possibility to stand and not move when there is so much fever in the air.
Thanks for sticking with me til the end. I hope you have enjoyed it.
I will post a few more pictures when I get them from the official photographer.