As the year 2023 bids farewell, I find myself looking back on the past twelve months with a mix of gratitude, astonishment, and a dash of humour. In many ways, it was a year akin to my 2019, albeit event better, filled with unexpected twists and turns, but I fervently hope that 2024 won't echo the uncertainties of 2020.
Diving into Improv:
The year started with a surprising turn into the world of improv theatre. Believe it or not, I ended up on stage in front of a live audience – a confidence booster I didn't see coming.
Moving, Snowboarding, and Job Scare:
Next came a triple whammy – moving apartments, a ski trip, and a layoff scare. Moving was a breeze back then, cause my life fit in a van, but I would be thinking twice before doing it now. First time on a snowboard left me with a bruised left arm, but hey, saunas and pools are great healers. And the layoff scare, a topic I'd rather skip, thankfully didn't materialise.
King's Day Shenanigans:
King's Day? Picture Rajiv Chowk during rush hour, and add alcohol to it. It's a whole vibe.
Summer Starts with a Bang:
Summer rolled in with the SpeciaalBier Festival, a regrettable Jack Daniels + Ijs Bock mix, and some serious kitesurfing lessons. Became a sailor with my Competent Crew certification and like a true sailor, went for a pub crawl as soon as I touched land. Also moving to Den Haag was a good choice, cause now I'm just a 20-minute bike ride away from the beach – listening to waves at 2 AM? Pure serenity.
Global Adventures and Learning Curves:
July marked a journey to the land of Pilsner, the Czech Republic, for EuroPython 2023. Attending a conference after a hiatus since PyCon India 2019 was refreshing, filled with encounters with cool individuals and the acquisition of new skills. A brief foray into golf left me unconvinced, but the allure of a circus and later, a burlesque show, became standout memories.
Mediterranean Bliss and November Chill:
As summer whispered its goodbye, a kitesurfing retreat to Sicily offered the perfect finale – diving into the Mediterranean, indulging in wine, learning bachata, and mastering kitesurfing. November, akin to the mild Dutch sun, featured indoor skydiving and snowboarding on indoor slopes. A realisation dawned – Michelin star doesn't guarantee the essence of culinary delight.
Balancing the Books – Literally and Figuratively:
Financially, the year was a drain, with investments in the kitchen, furniture for the new apartment, trips, upscale dining, and indulging in pricey hobbies. However, this was counteracted by a conscious effort to invest in my physical well-being – just missed the ZwemDiploma, running 5Ks, sporadic yoga sessions, couple boxing classes, and the quirky venture of trying (unsuccessfully) to vanquish a resilient chili plant.
In the tapestry of the past couple of years, I've discovered and embraced enjoyable hobbies. Now, with a deeper self-understanding, the focus for the coming year is on seeking answers. Achieving the ZwemDiploma and exchanging my driving license are on the agenda, driven by a desire to reclaim the hour lost in public transport for a journey that could be a mere 15 minutes by car. As I step into 2024, I do so with a sense of purpose, armed with the experiences and lessons of 2023.