Well, that was fun. …maybe. Somewhere. For someone.
As I started putting together this post, I looked at my 2016 review once more, which I opened with a longer paragraph of a more diplomatic version of “so that was a shit show” — and realised I could just reuse it as-is and only exchange the date.
So, 2017. What can I say. Or, rather, what can anyone say. — It was another year of great dogs (even though we also lost some – looking at you, Smiley). Beyond good dogs, it also brought us another trash fire of a year. It was a really shit year for many people I love and care about; it was a challenging, tiring, and very rough year full of hard work in many life areas for me, and. And, again, the outlook is not very bright. But here we are, now, we made it to the last day of December, so in the spirit of looking back and keeping up with a lovely tradition (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016): here goes. —
Returned from Porto, Portugal, where I’d spent the first days of the new year wandering around and reading poetry. Fondue & Farewell. Saw the most fluffy dog alive and Rogue One (and cried and saw it (the movie) again (and cried again) a week later). Went to New York for work (and here are some photos I took on my way to meetings). Had so much coffee, garlic knots, and giant slices of pizza, all while strolling around Manhattan. Met a super cute dog in person (in dog?) who I’d only met online before, and an old friend. Accidentally found the dog park on Madison Square and was in heaven. Went to Strand and am in heaven also. Was mistaken for an American actress trying to imitate a British accent. Took donuts home from NYC (and was very proud of myself when I thought of them again two days later). Got a party hat. Went to a vernissage.
Hung out on a couch with cats. Took on violin practice again. Mustache night at the bar and it was the best. Saw the most incredible dance performance at Tanztage Berlin. A bird pooped onto my head, again. Ran out of fucks to give. Aside from that, it was a month of lots of downtime.
Continued the beloved pizza & drinks nights. Pizza purse makes a glorious return (but was it ever really gone?). Wrote about working in management & feeling productive (or not). Had Vegemite for the first time in my life and discovered that I have a special Vegemite Face. Kept staring at a tiny airplane on a screen. Said hello in front of a door. Went on a Twitter rant about about the latest tech industry mess. Went to Edinburght and a concert. Saw a dog that looked like a cloud. Did not see an Alpaca, but a good dog in the office. Went to an organ concert in Berlin Cathedral. Had Pasteis de Nata and the first ice cream of the year and my first Tim Tam Slam. Cried at an airport and on a bus ride home.
Saw the first flowers bloom. Lifted and carried heavy boxes. April was the month (also the only month) of very successful cooking & baking: of good raspberry streusel tarte, spring vegetable quiche, apple cheddar bacon pizza, blueberry lemon cheesecake, and pan pizza.Started working with a coach. Went to a birthday party and the dentist. Quit smoking. Had wine in the park in the sun.
After a successful April, in early May I headed straight into what would become a 7-month-stretch of baking & cooking attempts gone wrong. Went on bike rides (destination: ice cream) and a conference after party. Lay in the park and watched dandelion seeds fly (and lie next to me). Met friends who live too far away. Went to AlterConf Berlin. Made Rhubarb Syrup and had it with Gin on a balcony in the warm late-spring sun. Started writing my upcoming talk. Got shoes and a bag repaired. Got a haircut. Watched the sunset in the park. Worked on big, headache-inducing spreadsheets with timetables and schedules to plan out how to make all my meetings work with the upcoming trip to Australia. Thought about how to tell a story.
Played the new Monument Valley. Went to The Lead Developer London, met friends again, and strolled around the city a little bit. Got a Piñata made. Celebrated a wonderful birthday over table tennis and food in a park. Repaired a swing with the help of a shopping cart. Celebrated the five year anniversary of my high school degree (fuck yeah). Went back to Melbourne. Had a lot of coffee and lemonade. Brought flowers. Gave my only talk this year. Had celebratory pizza. Plotted dismantling the patriarchy with a wonderful friend.
Still in wintery Melbourne. Was super cold most of the time (*shakes fist at all the houses without insulation, which are basically all the houses*). Cried over a busker’s music. Went to a lot of museums and saw incredibly beautiful art. Went into the suburbs and saw dramatic skies. Stopped by Heidelberg (which is funny because I was in Heidelberg many times in the past, but those times, it was always Heidelberg, Germany). Got to see a fantastic feminist play. Had Glühwein. Went to the coast and walked along a beach. Saw more rainbows than I’ve ever seen in my life. Did not see the stars. Had my first Fish&Chips, first Poutine, and last donuts. Went back to Berlin and wished I hadn’t. Got out of arrivals and saw a sign. Had one of these events that I’d only known from movies, where you’re offline for a certain time (like, say, for 24 hours to travel from Melbourne to Berlin) and a major life event happens while you’re offline and when you learn about it, you’re not just jetlagged but also learn that all has changed. Sat with a lot of sadness. Started a new work journal called work work work work work. Realised that the summer that had visited Berlin briefly had long gone before my return.
Had picnic by the river with pickles. Went to the airport. Made anti-cold soup. Became a person who drinks Whiskey (before that, I was someone who drinks Gin). Went to Edinburgh Fringe and saw a bunch of things that will forever be very near and dear to my heart: Katherine Ferns is in Stitches, as well as some of the plays: The Inconvenience of Wings, 100 Ways to Tie a Shoelace, and, way above all: Adam, which (and who) left me breathless and in tears (still does; see also The Adam World Choir <3). AND: What I’d been working on with the team for 8 months now actually happened: I officially changed roles at work, and went from an Engineering Manager role to VP of Engineering (insert :tada:-Emoji), and the two people who’d do my former job in the future started taking on their work. Exciting times with lots of changes.
Went up Teufelsberg and had a picnic looking over Berlin. Started collecting chestnuts to keep in my pockets. Went to a concert in Hamburg and stood in mud and pouring rain. Walked past a sign that said Leave Traces and nodded internally. Saw a bridge and accidentally went to Poland. Wanted to catch a ray of sunlight on the drive home. Walked around a lake. Felt and turned the three chestnuts in my jacket pocket and didn’t turn around. Got new glasses. Got good news (for once). Got overalls (best fashion choice of the year). Turned a year older and nothing happened. (For a long time, I’d wanted to celebrate my birthday this month, and celebrate it right; as it was approaching and with all that happened, it was clear that this was not going to happen. Given the circumstances, the birthday was still lovely in the end (and the actual celebration will be six months later.) Went to Amsterdam for the company’s annual offsite. Walked along canals. Had pizza and poetry about comfort food. Was on a boat. Started going on daily walks. Generally very bad month.
Slept a lot (recovery sleep). Got a haircut (boy do I not miss the times with short hair and haircuts every six weeks). Many walks in the forests around Berlin (walking my inner dog). Met with excellent people in excellent places. Developed a few new friendships. Spent lots of time and energy working through the fallout of the rest of the year so far.
Learned about a pope. Learned about life changes. Ran into a zebra. Carried a print around with me. Spontaneous trip to Munich for JS Kongress and to meet a bunch of wonderful kickass women (again). Great tour around the city (in the pouring rain). Had Meetings and Überraschungseier in my hotel room. First slightly frozen leaves in early mornings. Went into the forests of Potsdam with great humans and dogs. Said farewell to a friend. Restarted something that still felt like something new. Change started to become tangible.
Took a train. Made a new dog friend. Had remote Glühwein with friends. Got a special invitation. Carried a tree for someone. Wore tinsel. Had a lot of Pomegranates. Made a very stupid decision with someone. Ran around the city in the rain trying to put together business travel and pick up things for end-of-year-notes for my closest colleagues from the printer and buy cards and make it to a meeting on time. Wrapped up before 9pm on my last work day of the year. Went into hibernation mode for two days. Watched The Last Jedi. Saw the Alpes from above. Ended up in Rome on one of my best trips with one of the best people. Walked 85km around the city and had a ton of food and saw my very first Monet (I’ve dreamed of this since I was six years old) and Hokusai’s Wave and very old tentacle porn and had the best croquette of my life. Was in a balloon room and on a giant Mickey Mouse themed armchair and part of artwork by Erwin Wurm and mesmerised by flowers (and people). Had pizza every day. Lena R. is climbing a mountain (why is she climbing a mountain?). Had a very relaxing time over The Holidays with a bunch of very lovely people over cooking and walks in the daylight and dark, and wine and weird Playstation games. Spent the remainder of the year somewhere in the countryside.
But that, as always, is another story for another time.
2017 in numbers!
(I like numbers)
- Traveled around 57,680 km: to New York, Edinburgh (2x), London, Melbourne, Rome, Poland (by accident), Amsterdam, and a couple other places (+15% compared to last year)
- spoke at zero (!) conferences and one wonderful meetup;
- wrote 10 blog posts, some emails (and my personal inbox is still a mess of sad, unanswered ones), and about a gazillion Slack messages,
- shared many, many, many Instagram stories (and had a ton of fun with it. Also, I rarely say this, but you should follow me there),
- posted 510 Tweets (-80% compared to last year),
- took more than 9,251 photos (+60%),
- read 18 books plus the equivalent of 78 books in Pocket = 96 books (a bit less than last year since I did less talk research and more reading for pleasure) (~same)
- listened to music for a lot (my last.fm counts 14,867 songs) (+50%)
- went to less than a handful of concerts, and Edinburgh Fringe. Generally saw much more plays and dance this year, and they were all performances I enjoyed a lot;
- changed into a new role at work!,
- made 637 contributions on GitHub (3x last year’s number; I’m still really not sure why I keep this number in these lists),
- and had around 800+ cups of coffee (+100%).
- The 11 songs I listened to the most this year:
- Daft Punkt — Veridis Quo
- Tim Minchin — Not Perfect (live)
- Muse — Knights of Cydonia
- The Dø — Keep your Lips Sealed (live)
- Richard O’Brien — Science Fiction/Double Feature
- Belle and Sebastian — We Were Beautiful
- Elle King — Good Girls
- Conor Oberst — Tachycardia
- Keaton Henson — Beekeeper
- Alex the Astronaut — Already Home
- Albert af Ekenstam — 1996
- The Boxer Rebellion — Pull Yourself Together
Me in the beginning vs me in the end of 2017
Bits and pieces
- Learnings: Timezones are hard. Dependencies are hard. Distance is incredibly hard. Processing time is incredibly useful. Sometimes you only know you hit rock bottom when you’re getting better already. I like pastel colours more than neon ones. Beginnings are magical, especially in darker times.
- Progress: This was the year in which I said no to a lot of things: speaking invitations, conference CfPs, projects, ideas. It was also the year in which I learned a lot about openness and vulnerability, about courage and about finding strength to move forward.
- Endings & beginnings: Many endings, many heartbreaks, and much pain to work through. Towards the end and last months of the year, a few first new beginnings. It feels like dawn.
- Change: A fucking lot. Many times, too much at once.
- People: It was the year of bad timing, the year of connection, reconciliation, and depth, and the year of <3
- Other noteworthy things: This was the year without a summer. There were many times when walking, strolling (but at relatively high pace) saved me from going nuts (or burning a friend’s couch to the ground). Switched to full-time working from home (instead of working from an office at least once a week) and it was one of the best decisions.
- The date when I ran out of fucks to give: February 25th.
I’m leaving this year with a full heart, much gratitude, and many, many (so far) unpublished photos and lots of writing in my draft folders and my head, all of which I needed time and distance to sort through, and which I now want to finish and turn into things. And I’m leaving it full of curiosity for what’s coming, and who I’ll be meeting along the way.
those who belong to wilderness
take off your socks, show your fur
and I’ll show you my feathers
(Ellen van Neerven)
Things I’d like to do in 2018
I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, And it’s not like there’s big sense in making plans at this point anyway:
I spent the last months defining some themes and topics that I’m already working on, and have already made progress on some of these, which changed a few things significantly for me and is very exciting. As actual plans go, January will again be a busy month, and beyond that, I have a few more things kind of sort of in the making. But we’ll get to that at the right time. Talking about time: it’s time for me to go. I’ll leave youj with this quote
force be with you new year be a better one for you. Good day, good night, and good luck. We’ll meet again on the other side.