02 January 2018

Looking Back: Year 2017

The Year 2017 just ended. And somehow, I am still here! Even though I have been contemplating how to move this blog forward I suppose I still have things I want to write about. So let me review what happened here during the past year, by giving an overview post. This is the eighth 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.

2017 for me was the mirror image of 2016. Both years saw relatively large changes for me, but for different reasons. 2016 had an exciting first half, when I got married, and had a depressing second half, when Americans put a man-child in Washington. 2017 on the other hand had a depressing first half, when I left academia, was unemployed, and trying to make a career change, followed by an exciting second half, when I successfully shifted to the corporate world, which surprisingly I found to be a place where I could be in my element.

So what else happened in 2017, at least according to this blog?

In January, we started by decorating our flat. I also ranted about how Wikipedia can be one-track minded. I also wondered about making relationships while traveling. Oh, there's also the issue about the loud Americans. Oh, there's also the issue of the American travel ban.

In February, I wrote about Stephanie Fessler and other cases of child abuse within the Jehovah's Witness cult. And speaking of this cult, I also wrote about inconsistencies with their practices, where they say one thing and act another. Other items I wrote about this month was about my first trans-Atlantic flight, and how Germans have a public voice but only during New Year's. Finally, this was also the month when I headed to Sachsen-Anhalt for a weekend, visiting an old friend from when I was an undergrad student.

In March, I discovered Reddit, and wrote about it. I wrote about the clueless Americans, flight delays and knee-jerk reactions, wannabe travelers, and checklist travelers. Finally, I also wrote about the time when I bought a power suit.

In April, I remarked how everyone wanted to go to Iceland. I also wrote about a side of Germany that I didn't recognise. I also started contemplating about evolving my blog. And finally, I wrote about food while traveling. Speaking of travel, this was the month when we flew to Oslo for Easter. It was cold, but fun nevertheless.

In May, I wrote about weather anomalies. I also tried going to a restaurant with strangers. I continued ranting about travelers who don't know what a visa is, as well as those who think that the world is unsafe. Finally, I argued why I am not a travel blogger.

In June, I received a swanky new passport, and talked again about travelers who are mining for hidden gems. I also wrote about the cultish practice of love bombing. This was also the month when we headed to Quedlinburg for a day trip, and I went to Belgium for a week, both for personal reasons.

In July, I celebrated my 13 years of blogging, so far we're still continuing with this show. I also wrote about travel again, talking about travelers who act like they are Amazing Race contestants, about revisiting places, and about culture shock from an external perspective. I also said goodbye to academia.

In August, I wrote about two things one needs to do when leaving academia: the need to de-specialise, and the need for speed. I also ranted about the question Where are you originally from?, arguing how offensive it can be when posed to someone. Finally, I received a new iPhone and realised how creepy it was.

In September, I celebrated living in Berlin for 5 years, as well as talking about the challenges of living in the city. I also wrote about fabricated experiences in the Jehovah's Witness cult, and I also ranted about how people select their experiences based on how instagrammable it is. Travel wise, this is also the month when we flew to Edinburgh for a weekend, in order to attend a friend's wedding.

In October, aside from 4 book reviews, I didn't write much, expect for the time when I wrote about how the Jehovah's Witness cult obfuscate their statistics. With respect to travel, this was the month when I had my first proper vacation after getting a new job. I was in Spain for a week, checking out some new locations as well as places that I have been to before.

In November, I wrote two articles about academia. The first one was about the need to be pragmatic when doing research outside of the academe. The second one was more critical, addressing the idea of academia being a calling and how academic institutions are taking advantage of that, paying struggling academics measly salaries because they think that the academic career is the only thing they could do. Regarding travel, this was the month when we were in Lübeck for a weekend, and additionally I was again in Brussels for a work-related trip.

In December, I wrote about two aspects of Berlin I didn't like. One was about the thriving counter-culture scene which I deal with daily. The other is about how the city is too international sometimes that locals could find it hard to go around unless you know English. I ranted about naive travelers again, this time about travelers who search for free food. I also wrote again about the idea of academia being a calling. And finally, I wrote about how unfamiliarity can make us perceive danger. When it comes to travel, we were in Düsseldorf and Budapest for the Christmas holidays, nothing exciting nor exotic, but we had fun nevertheless.

This year, I wrote about 29 books, 2 plays or theatre performances, 2 operas, and 6 other musical events.

Summarizing my travel, this year is rather lean. I haven't added any new countries to my country count, so it remains at 48. The trips I did were all about revisiting countries I have been to before, and discovering new places within them. So I went to Belgium, Poland, the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, and Hungary again this year. In addition to that, I checked out new places within Germany. No big changes are anticipated for 2018 (though who knows, it's just January), so we'll still be here.

Happy 2018 everyone, and hopefully I still see you here this incoming year!

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