What a year! I feel like I probably did more in 2023 than I have in the last 4-5 years combined:
- I travelled to Chicago for the first time, had a fancy prie fixe dinner for the first time, attended Into the Woods on opening night, enjoyed the wonderful Cabaret Zazou. I didn’t like the musical all that much, but the Cabaret was a blast!
- I sold a condo for the first time, freeing myself from the terrible burden of partially owning a building. This singular thing enabled everything else here to happen!
- I spent a bunch of time up in northern Minnesota, enjoying working from a lakefront cabin, taking long walks and seeing deer prance about in the mornings, and bats fly in the evenings. I foraged for chokecherries, fire cherries, and mushrooms. One of those bats got into my room and walked on me. I had a preventative course of rabies shots. Another one flew into my room a few weeks later and fell asleep. In the evening, I snuck up on him, put him in a little tupperware container and released him outside.
- We were going to travel scenically by train from St. Paul to Portland for a 1 month adventure. But the train ride was cancelled in Minot due to flooding, and we were stranded there for 8 hours. We ended up riding the train back to Minnesota then losing all of our luggage for 2 weeks.
- I travelled out west for the first time for my first real road trip and my first real time camping, through South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, then back through North Dakota to Minnesota. A couple days, I worked from a tent or from a picnic bench (having a hotspot is really great). Windstorms on the plains were nuts!
- I gambled for the first time at a real table in Deadwood, learning to play Craps and Blackjack. I didn’t really win anything, but I also didn’t expect to.
- I saw dinosaur bones for the first time at the Museum of the Rockies on reccomendation of a coworker that lives around the area. It was great meeting him as well - I hadn’t been able to really meet up with anyone in a non-working capacity for a very long time.
- I visited a hot spring for the first time in Bozeman. It was night. The air was crisp and cold, but the water perfectly warm. They had these decorative fire installations all around the pool.
- I travelled to Canada for the first time, got together with my new team, and had some real nice Ukranian food and drink with them, and visited Niagra falls (definitely do so on the Canadian side if you can). It was very nostalgic and reminded me of my grandma’s cooking. Also, I probably the best sleep I had since coming back from my road trip - no hotel room I stayed at while I was out west was as nice as the one I got Toronto.
- I lived in Wisconsin for a month with a friend, in an absolutely tiny town. Amish people clopped by with their horses going to the general store next door. The highlight of the town was the tavern across the street, which seemingly gave massive portions of food for a tiny price. My friend got a kitten from his neighbor, who became my friend for the duration of my stay.
- I travelled to the East Coast for the first time: visiting Pittsburgh, Bridgeport, New Haven, then finally Boston. A fellow software engineer in Bridgeport rented a house to us and set up a standing desk with monitor in a little office. It was the best home office setup I had since I sold my condo; the motorized standing desk is probably the only thing I missed about working in the office.
- On a whim, I saw Plymouth rock on Thanksgiving. Then, we went to an Italian restaurant in Providence on our way back to Bridgeport. We were served a stuffed porkchop by probably one of the most lively and talkative bartenders I’ve ever had. It was also the first time I heard an east coast accent outside of a television.
And now, as I’m typing this, I’m relaxing with a nice cup of coffee, looking for an apartment in Boston. It’s been quite a journey, a lot of it fun, a lot of it stressful. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!