From my misc-pics-box here is a photo of the Adventskalendar our friends and neighbours gifted us in December 2022 capturing some wonderful memories from the year that just went by.
Welcome to Bloganuary Day 1 – 1st January 2023.
Today’s prompt is What is something you want to achieve this year?
I have never been good with resolutions. So I am not really comfortable in writing down what I want to achieve in 2023. Instead, let me first wrap up 2022 with all my gratitude (thank you from the bottom of my heart for being super awesome!). And who knows, maybe at the end I subconsciously blurt out some plans for the new year as well.
2022 was quite outdoors-y and some of my travel highlights are:
1. Ski trip to Oberstaufen in the German Alps – It was my first ever experience of skiing and let’s just say, it was tough. Initially I could hardly stand straight, even on level ground. I remember practicing in the kids area and I was so scared to fall that I was hardly even trying. Watching tiny tots passing by, falling and springing back up in no time was motivating. The post-ski beer in the afternoon was also inspirational.
2. Zugspitze and Eibsee – Grainau and Garmisch-Partenkirchen were heavenly but quite touristic and it was probably a mistake visiting in the Easter weekend. However visiting Germany’s highest mountain by train and “entering” Austrian territory up above the clouds was nothing short of breathtaking. The icing on the cake was walking around the tree-lined turquoise beauty that is Eibsee, aptly nick-named – The German Caribbean.
3. Summer in Portugal – Whether it was kayaking to limestone caves on the breathtaking Portugese coastline or standing and staring at the vast Atlantic ocean eating the “Letzte Bratwurst vor Amerika” (The last hotdog before America) or partying all night on the streets of Lisbon and Porto, the two weeks we spent in Portugal were undeniably awesome.
4. Winter in Lapland – While the trip was very hectic and I don’t think we would ever do something like this with such a crazy schedule ever again, I am glad that we went on this journey and could gather some experiences to cherish. Luxury cruising from Sweden to Finland, experiencing the traditional Finnish sauna (with some snow on the side) and finally experiencing those dancing green lights after a 3 hour star-gazing wait in a snowy white forest in the middle of the night, making the whole trip worth it. My most treasured experience however was braving the crazy eye-lash freezing cold in Rovaniemi (- 20 degrees Celsius!!!) to earn the truly rewarding experience of watching sunrise over a frozen lake at 11.30 and sunset over a magical frosty forest at 13:00.
While these trips in 2022 gave me special memories to keep, there were many other moments that I fondly look back to:
1. Meeting Lucy – Ok I may go crazy writing this because I am obsessed with Lucy. She is the neighbours cat and is actually called Toffee, but to us she will always be sweet little Lucy. From my garden, and then my home, she gradually entered my heart and has made a solid place in it. What I have understood after my limited but meaningful interaction with Lucy (and her brother Bounty) is, that cats are massively misunderstood. They are super cute and more importantly are sweet loving creatures who do show love and affection in their own way. In the summer, I learnt from my neighbours that Lucy went missing and I actually cried (with tears!) in my garden almost every day waiting for her to return. She was around 6 months old back then and according to my neighbour she was probably in a self-exploratory phase in her life, but I was worried sick for her safety. I was so happy and relieved when she was back a week later and the reunion was sweet and special (I will attempt to put it in words someday). In the last 6 months I have developed a remarkable bond with Lucy. I don’t meet her everyday, but whenever I do, it is special.
2. Work work work – After one of my projects ended in December 2021, I felt a big void at work. So in 2022 I decided to ask for more work and to be assigned a new project. While work life has become much more hectic, I am happy to be doing something new and learning something new while being able to contribute to this upcoming project.
3. Loving Thy Neighbours – We have now spent around 2 years in our present apartment and I feel so glad to have been blessed with the best neighbours ever. This year we shared many fantastic experiences with them. They helped us build our raised bed summer veggie garden – but more on that later. We enjoyed many activities together like concerts, fests, hikes and Christmas markets and also a lot of chilling in our common garden. From neighbours we have graduated to friends and I look forward to making many more memories with them. To wrap up the year they gifted us our very first Advents calendar which was a customised collage of our photos and a very special memory to keep.
4. Garden goals – If you ask me about my dream home, it would always have a garden. So I am very happy that the apartment that I stay in has a large shared garden which we all use. This spring I was mostly still teleworking and thanks to the pleasant weather a lot of it was from the garden. Then later in the summer we made our own Hochbeet (raised bed) and grew tomatoes, egg plants, cucumbers, green chilies, pumpkins and bell peppers. This would not have been possible without the help from our German neighbours who not only helped us in sourcing the wooden palettes but also helped us in building the thing and taking good care of it. Growing your own veggies is a wholesome experience and I feel so blessed that this summer we got to enjoy a lot of home-grown home-made food.
5. Ghar wali Diwali – After a very long time, I think almost 8 years or so, I was at home for Diwali (the Indian festival of lights). It was a wonderful trip where I spent some quality time at both my homes with undoubtedly sumptuous food. I loved decorating the home with lights, dressing up in traditional clothes, walking through crazy crowded lit bazaars and especially eating all the yummy street food.
6. Old friends and new – We visited our dear friends in Hamburg for a long weekend and while we made plans of going to this bar or that restaurants, the most memorable time was spent playing Jenga for the entire afternoon in their winter garden. I also took a girls trip to meet up with my besties to celebrate a birthday and a bachelorette in Amsterdam where we roamed around the red light district and munched away beyond midnight. My friend from college visited me in Darmstadt and I had promised to show her around the city but we ended up spending the entire evening eating home food and chatting endlessly in the garden. From summer onwards, there was no teleworking and I had to go to the office every single day. Well it was not all bad. I used to meet up with my lunch buddy in the office canteen some days and other days I would lunch with my team and play rock-paper-scissors to decide who pays for coffee. One of my friends from work who was expecting a baby at that time, playfully forced me to eat sweets all summer so that like her, everyone around also grew in size to give her company. We hosted a summer barbecue in the garden and also a pot-luck lunch. From Italian Pizza to South Indian Dosa to Pakistani Biryani, I am happy that I have a friend circle in Darmstadt with whom we can enjoy such culinary delights. We also met new friends with whom we instantly clicked and made an impromptu weekend road trip plan to Luxembourg. When I visited India, I met my best friend where time vanished as we went on talking about our lives.
5. Socializing – I moved to Germany in 2020, so Covid robbed me of all the social experiences for the last 2 years. But 2022 was different. 2022 was normal. I loved going to many events and fests this year, especially during the summer. I think it all began with the Schlossgrabenfest in early June which is a local music fest in Darmstadt. Tim Bendzko was the only German artist I knew. I had heard of “nur noch kurz die Welt retten” and I love that song. Watching him live from the first row was amazing. I also loved Alice Merton’s gig. Apart from that, thanks to my neighbour, I found my new favourite local band “Pfund”. They play all my favourite songs from my teenage years like “All the small things”, “Teenage dirtbag”, “Chasing Cars”, and many more! and their show is like a blast from the past. Shaqua Spirit is another local band that performs Engligh songs as well. Then we went to Portugal and somehow the whole town was out on the streets partying all night. It was madness, but it was fun! Soon after we were back, we had Heinerfest in July which was like an ocean of people in the middle of Darmstadt. Then there were the company summer parties, team beer garten events, wine fest and even a spacecraft launch event. And then came the December round with all the Christmas parties and visits to the many Christmas markets nearby with friends and colleagues.
So 2022 was a busy, eventful and memorable year. I am very happy that I got to take in so many experiences and even happier that I have many wonderful people in my life who made these experiences even more memorable. In 2023 I wish to achieve all the same and more. On the professional front I am excited to be involved in the new project and am glad to be engaging as a mentor so I can help other young space professionals in whatever way I can. On the personal front, I really hope that I am able to meet all of my family in one room. It is very difficult to accomplish this since my immediate family is spread across 4 continents. I especially want to see my sister as I haven’t met her in 3 long years. On the excursion front, after experiencing different types of trips last year, I have realized that the relaxed rhythm of Portugal is my kind of trip as opposed to the hectic packed trip that Lapland was. So I want to travel, but in a settled way. I also want to settle down, maybe move to that bigger apartment right opposite, so that I continue to have my wonderful garden and my wonderful neighbours as friends in my life. I want to start new stuff, experience new things, meet new people and make new memories with the people I cherish in my life. I also want to be stronger, fitter and healthier both physically and mentally.
Needless to stay, the most important thing I want to achieve this year is to revive my blog. It is a difficult task but I want to thank Bloganuary for this push and motivation and I hope I can keep it going even in Febloguary, Blogust, Blogtober and Decemblog.
2 thoughts on “Reflection and Resolution -Bloganuary 2023”
Wow, you certainly have an exciting life! The way you love travel is like me with concerts. Please keep blogging. I love to read about people who have a great lust for life as yourself! Happy New Year!
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Thanks a lot for your kind words 🙂 and I wish you a wonderful 2023 as well. I hope I can continue bogging from Bloganuary to Decemblog 😉