Twenty-Eighteen

This was quite something. Thinking about it and going over last year’s events, I’m not quite sure how all of it ever fit into one year. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on a red couch with a piano nearby while the wind is blowing outside, I just had some tea and mini pizzas, and, honestly, this is the best I could wish for.

And, in good old tradition (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017): here goes. —


The months

January

Last year with a treasure hunt in Tuscan vineyards, and the new one starts with a dog by the fireplace, pretty horses, and cold, sunny days. I buy too much olive oil, wine, and too many cookies, and have significant excess baggage. Spending just enough time at home to do the laundry before heading to Asia for the first time in my life. I travel to Hong Kong for work and stroll through the streets in the mornings and at night, trying to grasp the impressiveness of this place. And then, the view from the hill, these narrow streets, the trees and roots everywhere. Have lots of very good food of which I only remember the taste, and the hope to return one day. Travel onward to a Thai island for a few days right after – it had looked so close on the map, and is still a day’s travel away. I get off a bus very tired and suddenly the air is warm and humid, and the beach is only a minute away. Trying to find a helmet to wear while riding a scooter, and even the largest one I can find sits on top of my head (yes, there are ridiculous photos). I ride a scooter for the first time, have the best pineapple I couldn’t even have dreamed of, almost blow up a gas station, climb through a cave, go snorkeling and see incredibly beautiful fish, get horrible sunburn and have to go swimming wearing my “don’t look for love, look for pizza” shirt, spend days with friends at the beach, in the hammock, and in the inflatable pineapple, floating in the water, looking at the star-strewn sky above.

February

I get home and immediately want to leave again. I quit my job and accidentally eat heart-shaped pizza on Valentine’s Day. See a Belle and Sebastian concert and visit the the local animal shelter. Other than that, it’s a pretty uneventful month with very bad weather which doesn’t really matter, I have a lot of memories to process and big change ahead.

March

Spend a lot of time with very good dogs in the park and the forest. Take a trip outside of Berlin and landed in the snow. Realise that, after years of remote work, I don’t own interview-appropriate pants anymore. Meet someone who wants to take a selfie during our first date to commemorate it, in case we last (we don’t). Have my last day at work and start an interview marathon. Rearrange my apartment. We welcome a new dog into a friend’s life.

April, May

I celebrate my birthday a few months late, and it’s the most wonderful night with drinks that taste like salt and pineapple, and beautiful friends in one of my favourite neighbourhood bars. I try to find a good dress. Still looking for a new job, I spend a lot of time preparing for interviews, in interviews, on my way home from interviews. My job search takes me to New York, where I have a lot of good pizza, go to my favourite book shop, finally see MoMA and fantastic exhibitions (Adrian Piper was so good, and I walk into a Monet painting, completely flabbergasted), and meet some of my favourite people.

There’s a gentle feeling of spring in the air and, as always, my stay is too short. A dog moves in with me [eventually, he’d only live with me for a little while, and is now thriving and living a very happy life in another home]. I go to a wedding, nervous and exhausted, get to show a favourite person around a favourite place and have ice cream in the place I used to go to every night, and have drinks and Schnitzel on a boat. I finally sleep, for once, wear a beautiful dress and look fabulous while meeting a lot of people I haven’t seen in a very long time. I briefly wave at what could have been, and return feeling so much better. When I get home, my cacti blossom.

June

Spend two nights by a lake. I’m back to work, and go to San Francisco for a few days for the first time. I’m still trying to understand this place, and how the tech industry has impacted it. I go to SF MoMA, sit by the water for a while, eat a grilled cheese sandwich and fresh yellow cherries, and watch the seagulls. This is the furthest West I’ve ever traveled, and I’m horribly jetlagged for over two weeks.

July

We sit by the canal very far in the West. Back to riding my bike everywhere I go, and it brings me so much joy. I contemplate moving house and end up not doing it. I attend a dinner with a bunch of lovely women, speak at a D&I panel and meet a few very good people. Enjoying a bunch of late-night bike rides home. Spend a lot of time in the park and by the lake.

August

We see the blood moon over the water by Berlin Dome. A lovely friend is visiting, and we sit outside over drinks and watch people pass by, and nudge each other when we spot a good dog. Another D&I panel and meeting old acquaintances again. I take a few trains to get to another wedding, enjoy looking out the window and seeing this familiar landscape pass by; spend the weekend in the countryside, meet goats and horses, I wear a suit and my favourite bowtie, dance until the last song, walk home past 5 in the morning, and sleep in a bed that’s too short and too narrow. The stars are brighter than I’ve seen in a long time. On a whim, I buy an inflatable donut. I spend a week working from a lake house with a few friends, we go for swims in lunch breaks, float across the lake, watch the clouds and waterlilies, find a frog, make barbecue in the backyard, and have dinners on the balcony, almost seeing Mars.

September

I have visitors and get to show them around town; we spend a wonderful weekend together, going out and wandering the parks of Potsdam. I start taking piano lessons again. Spend a few days in New York, meet friends who help me stay awake with pac-man and ghost-shaped dumplings, and another friend and we share a cheese plate. I get myself the most wonderful gift. Another round of apartment rearranging. I get back to a balloon donut and brunch with my best friends and the best dogs. I find the first chestnut this autumn. I find a piano teacher and take my first piano lesson in a very long time, and it’s mind-boggling.

October

I miss New York and good bagels, and while I can’t bring the city to my home, at least I can make bagels. I go to Hamburg for a night to wander around this city again (it’s been too long) and see Ólafur Arnalds at Elbphilharmonie, which is absolutely phenomenal. Take a train back home and perform my first stand-up comedy bit; needless to say*, I’m killing it. (*Absolutely not needless, I was incredibly nervous and anxious, which is the whole reason I even did this in the first place; but that’s another story for another time.) I see Ólafur Arnalds once more, this time in Berlin. The leaves are turning yellow and we marvel at the trees by the lake. I get sweet treats from a fabulous new bakery in my neighbourhood. Friends host a Halloween party and I get to dress up and turn myself into the Pizza Witch that I’ve always been.

November

Many walks in the park, as long as there’s daylight. There’s less and less light, and it’s really wearing me out this time. I spend a particularly dark and rainy afternoon in one of my favourite museums in town and probably trying to see three exhibitions in one day was a little too much. Speak at a local meet-up. The sun is out for a few days and I hope it never ends (it does). Go see a musical and end up closing my favourite bar with the staff; have gin truffles for the first time, and it turns out they’re even better when you have them with extra gin on the side.

December

Spend the weekends with friends. Make a new batch of pizza dough. Go to New York once more, meet up with friends and finally make it out of Manhattan, have a little pizza, buy a few books, go to a social justice holiday market (and it’s as fantastic as it sounds), stand by the water looking at the skyline, and wear the bowtie again. Get home, jetlagged. Spend a few days with friends and dogs in a house in the countryside and it’s marvelous. Learn what it’s like to really fall in love with a dog. I meet calves and watch dogs playing and staring out the window, we go for long walks, make cookies, cook dinners, get milk from a farmer, have homemade gelato for dessert, unfortunately have no panettone, and I finally get to play card games again.


2018 in numbers

(I like numbers)

  • Traveled around 82,934 km: returned from Italy, went to Hong Kong, Thailand, New York, Vienna, San Francisco, Stuttgart, two villages by lakes near Berlin, Hamburg, a village by the Baltic Sea, and another village near Denmark,
  • spoke at two conferences, one of them my first management conference, hooray!
  • wrote not much, really (and as always, I wish it was more),
  • posted 540 Tweets,
  • way too many Instagram stories,
  • took more than 11,033 photos,
  • read 21 books, plus 12 Mio. words in Pocket (they say that’s 163 books, whatever that means),
  • Bought way too many books. Finally got a book shelf.
  • listened to music for a lot (my last.fm counts 14,867 songs),
  • went to see live: Belle and Sebastian, Ólafur Arnalds (twice), Welcome to Hell (a musical),
  • Quit my job. Found and started another one (yay!!).
  • made 68 contributions on GitHub,
  • accidentally quit drinking coffee regularly; probably got to around 50 cups over the year,
  • Listened to 4,839 songs and over 72,000 hours of music
  • The 11 songs I listened to the most this year:
    • Keaton Henson – Beekeeper (made it into this list again)
    • Blondie – Call me (it’s not a song, it’s a mood)
    • Santigold – Disparate Youth
    • Portugal. The Man – Feel it still
    • Django Django – Marble Skies
    • The New Pornographers – The Bleeding Heart Show
    • Sequoyah Tiger – Sissi
    • Flunk – Only You (Yuleboard Live Version)
    • Chromatics – I’m on Fire
    • Cosby – Everlong
    • Fruit Bats – Humbug Mountain Song

Bits and pieces

  • Learnings: Realised how hard it is to make friends as an adult (still working on it, but I got very lucky a few times this year).
  • Best decisions: Starting a new job. Not moving house. Taking piano lessons again. Not dating anymore (for now, sigh).
  • Endings & beginnings: a bunch.
  • Change: Went through some big personal changes, which I’m really excited about. I’m, probably unsurprisingly, turning another year older next year, and still grappling with it; also still thinking a lot about this thread, and what it means to be the age that I am.
  • People: many good ones.
  • The day I ran out of fucks to give: January 29

2019

Doing more of the things I greatly enjoy and am not doing enough of: Meeting friends, meeting new people, making new friends; protesting; dancing; practicing piano more frequently and learning exciting new pieces; cooking better food for myself; baking more. I’d like more dogs in my life, more nights out, more park time, more good books, more photography, more ice cream, more learning, more floating on lakes, looking up into the sky.

The biggest lesson I learned from my piano practice over the last months is: even on good days, you’ll rarely play perfectly, and that’s okay. But don’t let it keep you, don’t restart – when you fail, what matters most is that you find a way to recover, maybe even with grace (or at least a little dignity), find a way get back on track, and keep going.

And on this note: happy 2019 to you. May it be a good year for you.

Twenty-Seventeen

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 (20102011201220132014, 2015, 2016): here goes. —


The months

January

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.

February

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.

March

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.

April

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 pizzablueberry 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.

May

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.

June

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.

July

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.

August

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.

September

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.

October

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.

November

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.

December

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

May the 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.

My Twenty-Sixteen

For many, 2016 (or some events in the year) was devastating, and a trash fire of a year – a year of war, terror, death, violence, loss, power shifts and major political events. (Shout-out to the Me at the beginning at 2016 vs me at the end of 2016meme. And because good news are good to hear sometimes – here’s the list of good things that happened in 2016; and the great doggos and puppers of 2016; all of which still feels like a poor consolation though.) And with much of what just started in 2016, the future doesn’t look particularly bright at the moment. For many, it is outright terrifying, and very, very understandably so.

So what’s below is only a very personal look back at the year that was 2016 – by month, with some numbers (I love numbers), my learnings and some thoughts about what may come in my life next year.


January

Not going to say anything about this month.

February

I draw a flowchart about Codes of Conduct. Write about how to prepare for tech conference talks. Get to do fun photo shootings with wonderful people. Jan and I give an interview for an article about ethics in software development. Do my first embroidery project. Meet someone again who will become one of the most important persons in my life. Meet someone else without whom I wouldn’t be where I am now.

March

More cool photo shootings with great people. Boardgames night. Get a chance to reconnect with a wonderful friend. Do my last embroidery project.

April

See Hans Zimmer (and many more musicians) live. Suddenly job interviews. The infamous Boardgames nights continue.

May

Regret life choices. Travel to Hungary and close JSConf Budapest (and @rajsaamjulia made a super cool Sketchnote). Say some things that make rounds on the internets.

Participate in a research project with the goal of finding out how many people can be squeezed into a tiny cabin with a built-in camera. Travel to Manchester for Upfront Conf. Travel to Oslo for CSSConf Nordic and dig out some the first photos I ever took before flying out. Spend some time with great people on a boat. Get sunburnt. Climb a horse statue.

June

Get back from Oslo. Start the new job. Had possibly the most intense 48 hours of my life.

July

Have a lovely house guest and we have pizza together. Play Pokémon Go for 3 weeks. See a rainbow right when I need it. Figure out how to do business the right way.

August

Get a haircut. Get a tattoo. Have an important appointment that I should’ve had 15 years ago. Start a big new personal project. Manage to get into pouring rain (without umbrella) six times on one day. Do a short trip to Copenhagen and Malmö and have all the coffee.

September

Give a talk about mental health. See fireworks. Get glasses. Start something that would eventually become a wonderful tradition. Leave the amazing group blog Kleinerdrei.org, which is edited by a bunch of wonderful people I learned so much from in my time with them. Upgrade to the next version, together with many marvelous friends. Participate in a panel on public speaking.

October

Computer breaks down. The Friday Coffee. Having TONS of fun with Visa. Company Offsite. Get to go horseback riding again, for the first time after 13 years. Meet the Seal of Disapproval@Saltinejustine and I give a talk about Selfies and it is fab.

November

Have good-bye drinks that are literally on fire. Travel to Australia, which makes this trip the 4th time ever for me to leave Europe. Meet many lovely friends again. Get to close JSConf Australia, get off the adrenaline rollercoaster, and have an excellent time in Melbourne. Have too much coffee.

December

I find myself. Fail at taking a Wombat back home. Wrap up work for the year. Go to Finnland. Have a Christmas weekend that was less bad than expected. And I go south. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting under an olive tree.


Summary

  • Traveled around 49,152 km: to Budapest, Manchester, Oslo, Copenhagen/Malmö, Melbourne, Helsinki, and a couple other places;
  • spoke at five conferences, of which I got to close four and open one;
  • wrote 12 blog posts,
  • made 217 contributions on GitHub (I’m really not sure why I keep this number in these lists),
  • posted 2,138 Tweets,
  • took more than 5,786 photos,
  • read ~106 books (of which 98 are an estimate based on what I read in Pocket),
  • listened to music for more than 22 days (it was a year of great music),
  • went to 6 concerts,
  • started a new job,
  • and had around 400+ cups of coffee. (Possibly highly inaccurate number.)


 2016, the bigger picture

  • Learnings: It was the year in which I learned about the meaning of being there, and the meaning of having people who are there. Professionally, it was the year in which I learned more about leadership, time management, self-organisation, and, again, my limitations.
  • Endings/BeginningsLike 2015, it was another year in which many things came to an end; some of which left huge holes in my life, and I haven’t come to terms with all of them yet. But, unlike last year, it was also a year for me in which some new opportunities came around, and some things started.
  • Life events: For me, 2016 was one of the most intense years I’ve ever had – by sheer quantity of events, and by what each of these events brought – the work, the emotions, the impact, the consequences. It was often draining, tough, sometimes existential, and often very scary. And even though time is a construct, right now, I’m not sad that there’s at least a chance for a mental shift.
  • Change: Not so much changed on the visible side of things. Very much change happened in other places. Every bit, every tiny step towards this change was a lot of work, and cost a lot of energy. I’m not there with everything yet, but I got to a point now where I see how far I’ve come; and to a point where, finally, there’s no way back.
  • People – I got to meet many incredible people who are just fantastic humans. Made a bunch of new friends, strengthened a few existing friendships, and had many wonderful conversations with these people who all  helped me learn so much, and understand so much more. So much gratitude, so much <3.
  • Bits and pieces: It was also the year in which I finally outgrew the last bits of red hair. The year in which a significant number of people from my past came back (and all around the same time). The year of too much coffee, the year in which places became home and people became friends.


There are a few things regarding 2017 that I know for certain – as far as certainty can go –, and there are some possibilities, some ideas. As far as as all these are concerned, it could be an ~interesting~ year (and by interesting, I mean: very uncertain, very unclear, likely challenging, demanding, intense; and, in parts, also scary af). It will be a year of more learning, much more work on myself, and, hopefully, a year of growth.

Things I want to do in 2017

  • Grow. – As a person, as a friend, and in my work.
  • Nourish friendships.Because people matter.
  • Support others.
  • Speak less. Give less conference talks.
  • Write more. – I want to publish 7 posts on work-/activism-related topics, and write at least one short story per month. A few months back, I restarted keeping personal and professional journals, and want to keep that habit.
  • Read more books. – I read very few actual books this year, and the equivalent of ~98 books in Pocket, most of which was work-related though. Ever since I learned to read, books have always been a great source of comfort, knowledge, wisdom for me, and literally opened up new worlds to me. I got back to reading books a while ago, and want to read more fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.
  • Improve my English. – It still frustrates me how limited my English vocabulary is, and how this narrows my ability to write well, describe observations accurately, and express myself. I hope that reading more, especially fiction and poetry, will help with that.
  • Get back to making music. – Miss it too much.
  • Travel less frequently. – I’ll limit the number of my travels significantly, at least until autumn 2017.
  • Give less fucks, but also not. – Started that this year, and it’s been a decent strategy so far.
  • Figure out some things.
  • Love more. – Because.

Quem me acode à cabeça e ao coração neste fim de ano, entre alegria e dor? Que sonho, que mistério, que oração? Amor.

(Who touches my head and my heart at the end of this year, between joy and pain? What dream, what mystery, what prayer? Love.)

– Carlos Drummond de Andrade

We’ll see each other in 2017.


Earlier20102011201220132014, 2015

My Twenty-fifteen

Only a few more hours are left until 2015 is coming to a close. This year went by both extremely slowly and super fast. It has been a no-good year for me, and I’m not really in a good position to write a decent retrospective right now. But I’ve done these posts before and didn’t want to give up the tradition. Also, maybe the writing will help.

January

Came back from a lovely week in Norway and went back to work leading a software dev team for an NGO.

February

Spent most of my non-work-time preparing my upcoming conference talk.

Had lots of fun with my team and Google Hangouts:

Had a quick thought and posted what turned out to be my top Tweet forever (that’s so sad):

March

Went to Salzburg, Austria, and had the great honour of keynoting the wonderful .concat().

Went on a work trip to Sierra Leone (all photos are here):

https://www.flickr.com/photos/101906241@N07/16434239463/in/album-72157651383628988/

April

Got to see jumping baby goats in the zoo:

Jumping Baby Goat ??

A post shared by L. (@_miel) on

As planned, I wrapped up and handed over my work with the NGO.

May

Traveled to Edinburgh. Went to my first Cèilidh (still struggling with the pronunciation) and had a blast dancing. Keynoted ScotlandJS:

Had a wonderful time in Edinburgh (all photos are here):

Edinburgh

Started a new job and brought cookies on my first day:

Making cookies for my new coworkers

A post shared by L. (@_miel) on

Wrote a super long blog post and never published it.

June

¯\_(?)_/¯

July

Third month with severe dental issues and pain killers. In the session during which the tooth was supposed to be fixed, it broke. Bye tooth.

August

After a veeeeeeeery long pause, I had my first piano lessons. Getting back to making music is very exciting and rewarding, and my teacher is fantastic. Unfortunately, I’ll have to stop taking lessons after only a few months. I hope to take this on again at some point in 2016.

September

A “Talk about Nothing” was shortlisted for a net award 2015 and didn’t win.

Spent my birthday sick in bed.

classic

A post shared by L. (@_miel) on

Got flowers.

?

A post shared by L. (@_miel) on

I had ~really~ looked forward to traveling to the US for the very first time in my life, and to speaking at &yetConf. Unfortunately, I had to cancel everything last-minute because I wasn’t recovering fast enough to be able to travel.

October

Got to go to Napoli for a few days (all photos are here), ate lots of pizza and enjoyed the sun:

Streets of Napoli

November

After sleeping on only mattresses for the past ~7 years, I finally got a bed. This was exciting.

Traveled to Brighton:

talking 'bout planes

A post shared by L. (@_miel) on

Spent a wonderful weekend wandering around the town, dried my shoes in the hotel with my hair dryer, and keynoted FullFrontal 2015:

December

Realised that, for the first time in my adult life, I’ve now been living in the same apartment for five years.

Baked cookies:

It's so on

A post shared by L. (@_miel) on

Wrapped up my work as CEO and co-founder of The Neighbourhoodie.

Had a wonderful time working briefly with a few people on a ~really~ nice project. Did a photo shooting with them which was really fun. This short project was the best thing that could have happened to me by end of this year.

Baked Emoji cookies:

Spent the holidays at home.

Summary

  • I traveled around 19,524 km: to Hamburg, Salzburg, Freetown, Edinburgh, Napoli, Brighton.
  • I keynoted three conferences.
  • I wrote and published 31 blog posts: 4 on Kleinerdrei, 16 on the CouchDB Blog, 6 on the Hoodie Blog and 5 on this blog.
  • I made 54 contributions on GitHub this year (oh, well).
  • I posted 1,794 Tweets.
  • I took more than 4,300 photos, including some event photography, and a few commercial photo shootings.

Some of TV Shows I watched this year (some of which I can recommend):

  • How to get away with Murder
  • Episodes
  • Empire
  • Gilmore Girls (I did two full re-watches this year, mainly because this show has proven to be a good distraction for me.)
  • Master of None
  • Scott & Bailey
  • The Good Wife
  • Suits
  • Nurse Jackey
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Chef’s Table
  • Grace and Frankie
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • The Mindy Project
  • Garfunkel and Oates
  • Scrubs
  • Broadchurch
  • Lilyhammer
  • Modern Family
  • Scandal
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Jessica Jones
  • You’re the Worst
  • I also watched a lot of standup comedy and many, many documentaries.

Things I learned this year:

  • Environments matter.
  • Building good environments is hard. And extremely rewarding.
  • Sometimes the only thing left for you to do is to remove yourself from an equation.
  • Realising that you need help is hard. Finding help once you’ve realised that you need it can be even harder.

Things I want to do next year:

  • I want to get back to traveling more. I’ve been missing that a lot.
  • I also want to work harder on amplifying the voices of people who have important things to say.
  • I also want to get better at supporting the work of other feminists in tech and at showing my solidarity with them.
  • I want to do more public speaking again. (If you know of any good events, please let me know!)
  • I also want to start looking for and find a new job.

I will remember this year as the year in which only few things started, while many things came to an end. The year in which I was mostly not who I wanted to be. And the year in which my hair finally grew longer.

Right now, I have no idea where I’m going and what’s going to happen. Most of the time, this is very frightening for me. But, hey:

“If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.”

– Beyoncé

Take care. I’ll see you next year.

***

Earlier:

20102011201220132014