01 January 2014

Looking Back: Year 2013

The Year 2013 just ended. And I am still here. So let me review what happened here during the past year, by giving an overview post. This is the fourth time I am doing this: I did it first in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

This was the year when I first spent a full winter in Europe for the first time; comparing winter in Buffalo with winter in Berlin, winter here in Berlin is rather mild. That being said, plenty of Germans complained about how long it was. In the meantime, I still found time to rant, albeit about other topics. I did some heavy-duty reading and got commended for it in public. I also watched some bizarre Japanese movies (it helps if you know someone who is a movie junkie), and I also ate and raved about German breakfast. I made some little upgrades in my apartment, and became more familiar with the banking procedures in Germany. Oh, and it was also this time when I decided that I would privatize some parts of my life instead of blogging about everything. Hence, my blogging frequencies went down at this point. Finally, I went to the theatre again.

In February, I had a very weird dream. I also ate cheese, as well as duck. I also read quite a lot of books this month.

In March, I realized that my musical tastes were changing. I also talked about failed expectations when it comes to traveling to a foreign country. I also found Denglisch, which refers to the mixture of German and English languages, as amusing, but also annoying. I started a retirement plan. I stopped watching The Amazing Race. And I blogged about lost friends.

One of the Sundays in April this year was just plain weird. And I was impressed with a busker in the Berlin Metro that I gave him two Euros for playing Bach. I was amused at how Germans clean snow from their cars. I attended the annual meeting of the German Linguistics Society. I also finished another bottle of cologne. And yes, I ranted again about religion and its effects on restaurants' opening hours.

In May, I watched the movie adaptation of Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. I also got word that I got accepted to present in a conference in Tübingen, which would be the third time I visit that city. I also finally got rid of the pictures that I put at the end of every post; that was very long overdue. I also blogged about hostelling, which I do every now and then. And I realized that Europe has a side I didn't know when I visited Bulgaria for the very first time.

In June, I talked about being upgraded while flying, which doesn't happen often. And then I ranted about how a former friend sort of treated me as a mere travel agent. I also experienced utter chaos in Kreuzberg, and I also realized that my travels have been slowly changing, where I now put more emphasis on experiencing things rather than just seeing things. I also noticed that Berlin is so green, as well as full of punctual people.

In July, I celebrated my blog anniversary. I also discussed an incident where I discussed brain drain while eating tapas in Barcelona. I blogged about my trip to Catalonia, and I stopped blogging about my itchy feet because somehow, lists don't make sense anymore. I also blogged about liking German movies and its lack of Hollywood endings. I also talked about Couchsurfing, which is something I started recently. And I sort of felt the need to tell the world that I am not a travel blogger. Finally, I also blogged about visiting several embassies in Berlin for the All Nations Festival.

In August, I noticed that a lot of people went barefoot. I also lamented about the prices in Switzerland. I also learned that I would be heading to Belgium for a second time, for a conference presentation. I also learned that plenty of Germans don't like air. I ranted about being a Third Culture Kid. I also stopped making itineraries when I travel for fun.

In September, I philosophized about sex and selfishness. I also experienced a rather unpleasant episode in Görlitzer Park. I replenished my wardrobe. I also blogged about the difficulties in traveling when you cannot read the script. I started blogging about my trip to the Caucasus. And I caught up with technology and bought a new phone.

In October, I wondered about staying connected in today's technological age. I also ranted about rude behavior in academic conferences. And in the same venue, I wondered about travel IQ. I also realized how much I love Berlin, as I already know I would be missing this city once I leave. I also gave some pointers on how to be a good Couchsurfer.

In November, I attended a couple of musical events, including a piano and voice recital, as well as a performance of Penderecki's St. Luke's Passion. I ranted about Europe's ban on full face veils. I also blogged about retirement again. I also wondered how traveling distances affect cultural capital. And I wrote about my experience on finally walking the entire length of the Berlin Wall Trail.

In December, I began the month by creating a Berlin Burger. I went to the theatre and watched a piano recital again. I also blogged about CheeseBerlin 2013. And for the first time, I watched a dance performance.

So that was my 2013. There were changes, but contrary to 2012, the changes were more emotional than physical. I am still living in Berlin. I gave my darkest secret away: I finally came out to my parents. They were the only ones who I felt needed to know, as most of my friends as well as my sister already know of this fact since 2009. I also started to become more proactive in contacting friends from all over the place, while also making an effort to make friends here in Berlin. I added 8 new countries to my country count (the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain, Switzerland, Armenia, and Georgia), bringing it to 33. 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 2014 will also be a blast, with many more awesome things to come.

Happy 2014 everyone, and hopefully I still see you here this incoming year!


  1. I can't imagine what coming out feels like, being that boring straight person, but it must be tough. No matter how open and loving parents and relatives are, I can imagine there is always a bit of awkwardness.

    I'm glad you did, though. Being gay is like having blond hair or brown eyes, it's just a part of you, and there is certainly nothing wrong with it despite what some backward people may claim. I do hope you will meet a great guy and that you will be very happy together. It's not a dark secret, it's you. :-)

    I have known for a long time but I didn't want to say anything since it wasn't something you talked about on your blog, privacy and all ;-)

    1. Zhu,

      It was great reading your response, thank you! It is indeed quite a liberating experience, now that there is no more secrets to reveal, I can be myself, and what happens happens.

      I had an idea you already knew; after all, we have a mutual friend, ex blogger, Toronto resident, and he told me you know. :-) Thanks for the discretion; I guess I needed my own time to do the whole thing.

    2. Of course you needed time, this is completely understandable. A few of my friends came out after high school and we were like "uh... yes, well, we kind of knew!" but I guess sometime things aren't that easy. And I've seen what a hot button topic homosexuality can be, in North America and elsewhere. Frankly, I don't get it. I mean, if someone think it goes again nature or whatever BS excuse, well... I don't know, don't be gay?!

      Anyway, I do hope you are around smart people (...and cute guys? ;-))