December 2022: a year in review
This month’s recap will be about the whole year because I didn’t want to write two recaps. I’ve procrastinated long enough to start this one already.
I started 2022 thinking this would be my year of rest and relaxation. Yes, I had just bought Ottessa Moshfegh’s book together with How to do nothing by Jenny Odell, and thought that was a good theme. I’d never thought of themes for the years before, but it sounded funny and Teledipity told me to be calm and focused and not make big changes this year. Little did I know.
So much for “keep calm and don’t take big decisions”. I swear I had no plans of making major changes this year, but my team’s change of scope made me look for something more meaningful at Klarna and the layoffs in May pushed me over the edge to go find it elsewhere. I wrote a little bit about the discomfort in May and not enough about the sadness of leaving behind amazing colleagues in August and October.
In the middle of all of that, there were some pretty big achievements, like getting a promotion (which I almost forgot to mention in May, cleaning up a whole lot of tech debt to improve a codebase shared by ~14 teams, and stepping up when my engineering manager was on leave to lead the planning and implementation of a major product redesign.
And then I got a new job. Which was exciting but scary. Or scary but exciting. I’m looking forward to finding out where it takes me.
Some random things that happened this year:
I got a fabulous haircut in February. I couldn’t believe it. Unfortunately I have no skills to style it at home, so it was mostly back to normal after washing. It also didn’t look as good when I went back to the same hairdresser. I would’ve thought I had imagined the whole thing if I didn’t have witnesses.
Covid finally hit us in March, in perfect timing to not ruin my trip to Brazil in April.
I flew to Brazil to surprise a friend at her wedding. I always thought these surprises were cool, but never thought I would do it myself. I actually didn’t plan to go at all but I just couldn’t stop thinking about it so I did it and it was great!
We finally moved into a bigger apartment and it was well worth the wait. I wrote about it in March and we moved in April, but are still procrastinating buying a new couch even though we constantly have the sofa-bed open to sit comfortably in front of the TV.
We pet-sitted for friends and had a cat for about two months in summer which almost turned into a permanent transfer of custody. We still miss her (and find her hair in unexpected places).
Our balcony strawberries got loads of fruits up until November! We moved the pot inside when it started getting cold and there were still some small ones that grew while we were away this month.
A German friend that lives in Brazil for over 20 years (and taught me some basics of German life before I came) was visiting Berlin this summer and we saw each other for the first time since I moved.
LULA IS BRAZIL’S PRESIDENT AGAIN.
I didn’t move my body much this year, but I surprised myself by skating on the streets of Berlin for the first time for over 20km on Halloween!
I just realized that this year I escaped German winter into Spanish-speaking lands twice!
In February, we spontaneously flew to Tenerife and it was a very good surprise! We stayed in a small village and it was super chill and warm and our Airbnb had a great view of Mount Teide and the sea.
The second escape was going to Mexico this month. We spent three weeks around the Yucatán peninsula after having to ditch our plans to go to Brazil and I’m so glad we decided to go there!
I was genuinely surprised that the Caribbean waters are as pretty as they look in the pictures. We had calm days at the beach and packed cultural days visiting ruins. We even scuba dived in Cozumel! I still can’t believe I’ve done it as I don’t really know how to swim, but it was amazing! We saw a moray eel, stingrays, lobsters, a bunch of colorful fish and corals!
We also saw flamingos, pelicans and crocodiles in Rio Lagartos. And four different Mayan ruins sites which were all impressive: San Gervasio, Tulum, Ek Balam and Chichén Itzá (one of the New Seven Wonders of the World).
My favorite places were Valladolid, Cozumel and Puerto Morelos. And my favorite foods were salbutes and all their sweets with cajeta (the Mexican version of dulce de leche).
For our last days we met a couple of friends from the US and Mexico that live in Germany but were there at the same time and it was SO nice to spend time together in a completely different place!
Now that I think about it, the rest and relaxation theme that was kind of missing in my everyday life really took place in these two holidays!
Unfortunately there wasn’t much traveling in between this year. Apart from the quick trip to Brazil for Easter and the wedding, we stayed in Germany for the rest of the time, with a couple of weekend trips to Hamburg and a few days at the Baltic Sea in the summer. That’s where I had my first experience of working remotely but not from home, and it was quite refreshing!
This was a very happy year for concerts, after such a long time. I’ve seen:
Kate Nash for the fourth time. It’s been almost 12 years since I saw her for the first time in Brazil and I just love it so much every time I get to see her having fun on stage!
Björk for the second time. This time at Waldbühne, with an orchestra!
Adriana Calcanhotto, Gilberto Gil (!!!) and Gal Costa (R.I.P.)! It was an amazing year for Brazilian concerts in Berlin!
Kat Frankie for the third time. I just wish she would do another Bodies concert!
LP (I like her music, but didn’t love her vibe) and Bomba Estereo.
One random song that has been stuck in my head for too long this year after listening to it on the radio one summer afternoon: Zeig deine Muskeln by Laing.
This year I finally started listening to Lingthusiasm podcast and catched up with over three years of episodes! I also really enjoyed listening to Upstream, a podcast on economics from an anti-capitalist perspective.
Ugh, I’ve watched a lot of TV this year. And a ridiculous amount of random competition shows! Mostly cooking shows, but also the amazing Blown Away (glass blowing competition) and The Great Pottery Throw Down (pottery competition).
On a more serious note, I think my favorite shows were Vigil, the first season of The Wilds, Severance (so good!) and Derry Girls.
I’ve been to the movies quite a lot in 2022 and I’m happy I started using Letterboxd again to track what I watch and discover new things. My favorites this year were Petite Maman (Céline Sciamma, 2021), Everything Everywhere All at Once (Daniel Scheinert & Daniel Kwan, 2022), Olga (Elie Grappe, 2021), Flee (Jonas Poher Rasmussen, 2021) and Triangle of Sadness (Ruben Östlund, 2022).
This was probably the year with the most abandoned books since I can remember. I still managed to almost hit my yearly goal of 24 books, with only one missing, but it was a bit weird that I wasn’t able to keep up with the things I started. Luckily I was able to unblock after a couple of months when I started Stories of your life and others (Ted Chiang). Maybe my brain got a bit saturated of non-fiction and just needed some interesting short stories for a change.
Other books that I really enjoyed this year were Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby, Você não vai dizer nada by Julia Codo, Torto Arado by Itamar Vieira Junior and Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo.
The cool thing about reviewing the whole list like this is noticing the patterns and I’m quite happy with the amount of books I read in Portuguese! Interestingly, the gap of unfinished books happened the most right after I read several Brazilian books in a row. I’ll try to remember that and maybe alternate more!
Well, this year I started writing these recaps. After pretending to try to start writing technical blog posts for a couple of years, I’m happy I took this idea from Harry to write monthly about random things that happen in my life. I’m quite surprised I kept it going and that I’m writing this gigantic review right now even though I don’t really care if anyone is actually reading.
Sadly, I kind of stopped journaling. I’ve been keeping paper journals/calendars for over 5 years and keeping track of my life on paper is pretty important to me. I’ve been taking digital notes more often and I love the idea of creating my personal search engine, but I don’t think Obsidian (or any other tool) will ever reach the experience I have when I browse through the pages of a physical notebook. If I ever wonder what I did on a certain day in the last years, I can just go to that book and get lost in the memories old me thought were important to remember. Or, like it happened one of these days, Google Maps will tell me I’ve been to a certain restaurant three years ago, but I have no recollection of it. My journal told me who I was with and which movie we saw at which cinema right after. Sure I could have digital notes for that and searching is much faster, but it doesn’t feel the same to me.
I’m blaming it on the 2022 calendar I bought on an impulse instead of sticking to my regular dotted notebook, so I’m hoping to get back to it in 2023.
I’ll stick to the recaps as well. And hopefully some improvements to this website will come (coding is also writing, after all) for a better reading and writing experience!
Oof, that was a lot! Now I’m gonna watch President Lula’s inauguration ceremony! Happy new year to all of us and until next time!
Written on a Sunday in January, 2023