31 December 2014

Looking Back: Year 2014

The Year 2014 is ending. And I am still here. So let me review what happened here during the past year, by giving an overview post. This is the fifth time I am doing this: I have been doing this since 2010, and I think it's a good way to wrap up the year.

I suppose time flies fast: it's been more than two years since I moved to Berlin. There have been a few changes in life, but for the most part, things are still the same. Things are looking good. This year, I traveled, both for work and for fun, I visited new countries, and overall enjoyed myself. I published three papers this year (the third one is still in press), and I have conducted several experiments and collaborated with various colleagues both in Berlin and beyond. And in my private life, my partner and I are doing well, well enough that we opted to live together (the move happened sometime before summer).

So what else happened this year? Well, here are some highlights.

In January, I found myself attending a concert and enjoying some unknown music. This would be the first of several concerts that I have attended this year. I also felt a little bit depressed due to the fact that there was a typhoon that hit the Philippines and every other Filipino I knew was busy with the relief efforts, yet I couldn't care less due to the feeling that I am not too attached to that country. I was also attacked by Gypsies while walking in Berlin during the night. This was also the month when I went to Malta and spent 9 days for vacation.

In February, I mused a little about my travel habits. I also went to the dermatologist because I had impetigo and seborrhoeic dermatitis on my face. I also mused about taking pictures, as well as about finding the real thing when it comes to traveling. I also debated whether one needs to plan or not when it comes to traveling. And finally, I decided that I would go to a language school and improve my German, which eventually happened in April. This was also the month when I went to Vienna for a long weekend with my partner, who was on a business trip, and I decided to tag along.

March was the month when I realized what are the things that are important to me, realizing that I can stop being a linguist if I need to, but I don't think I can stop traveling. I wouldn't mind doing something else to earn money, just so that I can travel. I also remarked how some Berlin bus drivers can be rude. I also got myself some liability insurance, and I almost puked because someone I used to know said that the Gospel is the best gift that parents can give their children, instead of education. I also reviewed the differences of getting a PhD in North America and in Europe, and I ranted about IKEA. March was also the month when I took a 17-day trip with my partner to San Marino, Tuscany, and London. We especially enjoyed the food in Tuscany, as I tried out so many different dishes prepared in many different ways.

In April, my partner and I went to watch the Cuarteto Lationamericano, which had a concert in the Berlin Konzerthaus. I also chatted with an aunt of mine, and realized that my views differ from most Filipinos when it comes to social issues and family. I also remarked about differing impressions about Vienna, as this was the first European city I have seen, and visiting it again after 9 years gives a totally different impression. I also watched a modern dance performance with a friend. Travel-wise, we stayed in Berlin this month, as this was the month when we were taking advanced German classes after work. It was an intense month, definitely.

In May, I talked about panic attacks, which I experienced quite a bit when I was in London back in February. I also tried recreating melanzane alla Parmigiana in my kitchen and realized that it is such a hard thing to do. Lufthansa had a strike while a friend is staying with us, who ended up needing to change her ticket. I filed my tax return. I also noticed that outdoor tables are making their appearance once again. And I also tried (and succeeded) to recreate crostini toscani in my kitchen. I also bitched about being a working student last month. Finally, I admitted my rampant guidebook use whenever I travel. Speaking of travel, we stayed in Berlin this month as well, opting instead to visit destinations that are close by and within Germany.

June was the month when we decided to go to the movies again, this time seeing The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was quite fun. We also went to the theatre, watching Isaac's Eye, which was hilarious as well. I ranted about British food and their defenders, and hosted a dinner party. I also blogged about the benefits of improving my German language skills, as well as ranting about Filipinos who complain that getting a visa is hard. In this month, I had a business trip, traveling to Italy, back to Pisa, for a conference.

I realized in July that I have been blogging for ten years now. I also attended a piano recital. I also blogged about the death of a person I knew in graduate school. We were both graduate students and shared the same office, both graduated and moved on, and then apparently he had cancer and passed away. I also wrote about academic validation, when you get external proof that what you are doing research is interesting. I had another business trip this month, heading to Amsterdam for a week, as I convened a symposium in a large conference. This lasted a week.

In August, I blogged about the All Nations Festival, which happens every summer. I also ranted about people from the past, and I started to minimize my Facebook use. We attended a few theatre events, including Boyhood and Praxis Makes Perfect. I also went back to Buffalo for a business trip, which was my third business travel in the year. It was great to see old friends and familiar places.

September was when I talked about discovering a nice party game called Werewolves, which I discovered while I was in Amsterdam a couple of months before, which is a city I have a love-hate relationship with. I also finally closed my Facebook account, and talked about selfies and food porn. We also had a guest that month, and when he left to continue his trip, I felt I was left behind. Finally, I saw something disgusting about human habits and Instagram. Travel-wise, this was the month when my partner and I went to Boston and New York City, visiting friends and family for 10 days.

In October, I talked about alternative ways to keep in touch, including making efforts to meet old friends when they are in town. I also ranted about how people who travel less than me think I am weird, followed by a rant about bitchy travel bloggers. I also talked about cultural differences between Europe and North America, which caused me some culture shock. For this month, my partner and I just traveled close by, spending a long weekend in nearby Warsaw, which is just six hours away by train.

I blogged some more about theatre in November, this time seeing Boys and Girls. I also wrote more about American topics, including how I think they are loud yet friendly at the same time. We attended a couple of music events, such as a performance of the Ensemblekollektiv Berlin, as well as a guitar recital of Pablo Garibay. I also talked about the conclusion of my latest project, which was to take a photo a day, which I started in the Autumn of 2013. We didn't do any traveling this month, instead opting to just stay put in Berlin.

In December, I ranted about how old folks tend to be grumpy, followed by a rant about freeloaders. I was also proud of myself for being able to run experiments in the lab by myself in German. We also hosted yet another dinner party, and we watched a documentary about slums in the Philippines, which was rather depressing. Travel-wise, this is perhaps the most exciting month of 2014, as I have planned a three-week backpacking trip by myself this month. I have been to Kuala Lumpur for three days, followed by 2 weeks in various locations in Myanmar, and by the time this post goes live, I will be in Bangkok, where I celebrate New Year's Eve. I will return to Europe a few days from now.

So that was my 2014. Overall it was a good year for me. There were some changes but they were all positive (I am not living on my own anymore, for example), and things were overall productive both professionally and personally (hey, I published three papers this year). I added 6 new countries to my country count (Malta, San Marino, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand), bringing it to 39. I don't anticipate any work changes for the time being, so I think I'll still be here for the next year. Here's to hoping that 2015 will also be a blast, with many more awesome things to come.

Happy 2015 everyone, and hopefully I still see you here this incoming year!

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