A Year in Berlin

Time sure does fly.

December 27th marked my one year anniversary in Berlin. 🇩🇪 I questioned whether or not it would be worthwhile to share this post two months into the year. I decided it was.

A lot can happen in a year.

A little over year ago I moved to Berlin to join A Color Bright. It would be a major transition for me — as I had spent most of my life living in the calm storm known as the Midwest. There was no way to prepare for the journey I would be embarking on but I knew that it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I took the leap.

After I got settled in the city, I began taking a 3-month A1 Deutsch course at the Volkshochschule. I was excited about the language and was learning at a fair pace. It was a course for beginners, so we started by learning the basics — placement of verbs, how to pair the proper Artikel with items, conversational skills, etc.

In April, nearly halfway through the course, my mother was diagnosed with Stage IIIA lung cancer. My concentration immediately fled and the only thing on my mind was getting back to the States to be with her. As an only child, I needed to be there.

I traveled home in May to spend quality time with my mother before her procedure. The surgeon thought that they would be able to remove only the mass, but ultimately ended up removing two-thirds of her right lung and part of her chest wall. I cannot image the pain that she felt and is still going through today. But she is not one to complain — and somehow she managed to keep a smile on her face through it all.

Her treatment wasn’t over after surgery, she still had two major chemotherapy sessions to undergo. The result of those two treatments left her with neuropathy — a tingling sensation in her feet that is painful to the touch. And to no surprise, she still doesn’t let it keep her down. She is now cancer-free and recovering well.

When I returned to Berlin, it felt like I had moved to the city for the first time again, but this time with a heavier heart. I’ve learned that nothing in this life is by mistake. Everything that happens is by design.

I had a spiritual awakening during this period. It brought me closer to my beliefs and those I hold near. I am now much more aware of the cause and effect of every action. It has taught me to be more attentive, of service to others, and to love in a new light.

To say that it shaped a larger part of my year would be an understatement.

What else happened?

I traveled. A lot.

I traveled to San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Jose, Toledo, Detroit, Chicago, Boston, Stockholm, Malmö, Paris, Copenhagen, Mexico City, and likely a few others that have managed to slip my mind. It was a great year of travel for me and I plan to do even more this year.

I spoke at two conferences.

I gave my first-ever long-form talk at CONFRONT in Malmö and a small lightening talk on Tachyons at CSSConf EU here in Berlin. I’ve found that no matter how many dry runs I go through, I will always be a nervous wreck when I first arrive on stage. Luckily, after the first couple of minutes pass, I find my comfort zone and stop tripping over words. CONFRONT was an invaluable experience for me. The outpour of love and feedback I received after the talk has encouraged me to keep on this path. 🤞🏽

I had a guest appearance on a podcast.

I was interviewed by Maurice Cherry for Episode #193 of Revision Path. I talked about how I got into design, what led me to development, what inspires me, and what I’m working on today. Available now on Revision Path, SoundCloud, and Spotify.

I started a newsletter.

Last year I started a tiny newsletter named LAP — short for Letters from Across the Pond — which has since been renamed and was put on a short hiatus. I renamed the newsletter because LAP no longer resonated with me. I went on a vision quest to rename my newsletter and settled on Hurdle. My vision is for Hurdle to be a mid-week pick-me-up that celebrates small wins and discoveries through introspect. Hurdle will start rolling out next week. Subscribe now so that you don’t miss the first issue under the new format. 😊

I became more active.

I spent many mornings in the gym and outdoors with a personal trainer while I was home visiting my mother. It was a way for me to keep a clear mind and while fostering a healthy lifestyle. As a result, I actually enjoy running now. I am still finding my rhythm and working towards incorporating running into my daily routine — one step at a time.

I fell in love with Berlin.

After spending time away, I actually began to miss Berlin. Upon my return, I began exploring the city more and finding my tribe. Only then did it start to feel like home for me. Berlin is a special place and I love it for that. I look forward to the years that I will spend here.

Until next time...

I hope this serves as a reminder to find the good in every situation. I am proud to say that I am living a life of gratitude and feeling happier and more fulfilled than I ever have in my life, regardless of the circumstances. I wish the same for everyone else.

Make the most of 2018 — whatever that may look like for you. ❤️