It’s April (!) and I have to hurry up with this post, otherwise it will be the time for the 2020 reflections already! 2019 was very exciting and full of new beginnings. The biggest event of the year was starting my new job, but I had some other highlights on the way as well: trying skiing and surfing for the first time, showing my home town St. Petersburg to Pasha, swimming in the Eisbach river, hiking in Norway, traveling with my dear friends to Marseille and some other fun stuff. But let’s start from the first days of the year.
The beginning of January has brought us a lot of snow in Bavaria and in the neighboring Austria. I adore snow, it’s the ultimate pleasure for me to see the streets, homes and trees covered with snow! It was the perfect winter fairyland and I loved it so so so much! We had two friends from Belarus visiting us in Munich and we were traveling around Bavaria and Austria with them. That was so much fun to be in the nature and to enjoy the white magic all around!
In March we went with Yasminka and Pasha to Austria for a skiing weekend. Unfortunately, it is getting warmer and warmer every year and we barely had snow on our beginner mountain. Nevertheless we could have our 2 day course and we liked it a lot! Skiing is so much easier than snowboarding (I have tried it once). I was planning to continue my skiing lessons this year (in 2020), but with the new job, warm weather and some other minor problems I didn’t manage to do it.
The cool thing was that our last day of skiing was the closure of the season and they have a special tradition in this Austrian village for that day: they ski with some strange old skis and wear traditional clothing. That looked so awesome!
Us and some random guy from that village who was learning skiing as well.
This year I decided not to celebrate my birthday with all my friends and we had just a small dinner with Pasha.
Birthday flowers from Pasha and my new bathrobe from Yasminka with my name embroidered! How cool is that? 😉
On the 1st of May I went to Lanzarote, Canary Islands, to make a very old dream of mine come true: surfing! I had 5 days on the island and 3 days of surfing lessons. It was very very very hard! Physically I was completely destroyed after those 3 days, but it was a good introduction into the world of surfing. I have written a blog post about this experience, so if you want to learn more, check it out! Overall it was a great adventure and I am happy I tried it out, but I am not sure if surfing will be “my thing”. I am willing to give it another chance, but my hopes are not too high =)
In the end of May I went to St. Petersburg to do some paper work and Pasha joined me for a couple of days. We had a very intensive cultural program, so intensive that as an afterthought I think we should have kept it lighter! Too much sightseeing and too much culture! Hehe. But I hope he liked it anyway 🙂
The famous white nights and the Peter and Paul fortress in the background. It must be around 2-3 am.
Watching the bridges opening during the night is a must for a summer visit to St. Petersburg!
Another must do is a visit to the Mariinsky theater to enjoy the ballet! A friend of mine has offered us discounted tickets and we had a chance to see the fantastic Russian ballet!
In June we went to Sardinia for a week to explore the island and to enjoy some sea time. With the latter I have to say it didn’t work out as well as I expected. Somehow we ended up driving around a lot and spent too much time on the road. I always struggle with finding the right balance between sightseeing and relaxing. I always do too much of the former and not enough of the latter.
I have been preparing for my job interview for several months starting from April. I knew I would be having different types of interviews (technical, analytical and behavioral) and was working hard to make it a success. The vast majority of my time I invested into technical interview because the new job was in a different domain and I lacked knowledge in it. In the middle of July it was finally the time to go for the onsite interview and to give it a try.
The day of the interview. So ready!
After my 3 back to back interviews I was completely exhausted! I knew I did well but I was by no means sure if it was well enough for THE company known for its hard recruiting process.
In the evening after the interview we went to visit Pasha’s friends in Passau – a small but very beautiful town in Bavaria. We stayed for the weekend and enjoyed some great time.
After the interview several nerve breaking weeks have passed before I got my final offer in the middle of August. I was ridiculously happy and we celebrated my contract with champagne (sorry, no photo of champagne glasses, just coffee)!
This year we decided to make one of Pasha’s travel dreams come true and we have chosen Norway as our vacation of the year. 10 day road trip to see the fjords and to hike some famous mountains. The fjords were stunning and the hikes were hard but very fulfilling! I had a lot of doubts if I should do the 20km long Trolltunga hike with all the back problems I have. The way back (especially the last 4km) was very very difficult for me and I was in a lot of pain 😦 Nevertheless, I am very grateful to my body that it kept up as well as it could and we were still able to do it!
After coming back from Norway I had only 3 weeks to finish my work and to hand over everything. I had a lot of stress both from finishing my tasks and from all the conversations I had with my colleagues. I had a lot of people coming to me, asking questions about my new job, about the reasons for leaving and so on. It was not easy for me and I wish I could have just disappeared from that place and started at a new place =) I know, I know, these talks are absolutely normal, I was just somehow not prepared for them.
In the middle of September I had yet another short trip with my friends. This time it was France again as last year. We went to Marseille for 4 days and it was absolutely marvelous! We had 1,5 day in Marseille, one day in Aix-en-Provence and one day hiking the Calanques.
This month I started my new job at Google! From now on everything got even crazier and my life seemed to run at 2x speed constantly.
Before I knew I would change my job I planned a trip with my friend Yasminka to Marrakesh! Luckily I had no issues with taking days off right after starting and we went as planned for 3 days to Morocco. Marrakesh was as beautiful as expected and I would love to see more of this country.
Every couple of months we have special events at the office and my first one was pumpkin carving for Halloween! I have never done pumpkin carving before and it was soooo cool!
Me and my masterpiece:
Every new employee at Google is called a noogler and he/she is supposed to attend the noogler orientation. Mine was on the 2nd of October in Dublin, but as I needed a visa for Ireland and I did not get it on time, I missed it 😦 Instead I went to Zurich in November! Which was fun as well =)
Wearing the famous noogler hat.
Later that month I went to London for another training. 4 days with other nooglers were awesome and I enjoyed my time a lot!
As a bonus I got to see two friends of mine living in London: Olya and Nika.
Some pics from the Google office in London
In December I had three friends of mine visiting our office in Munich. We spent 6 hours in the office exploring all the cool stuff we have there! I didn’t know office tours could be so much fun.
We decided to celebrate Christmas and new year at home. We had some friends over for Christmas and for the new year eve there were just two of us. And it was the best decision ever! I enjoyed a lot staying at home and having a very relaxed and chill end of the year. Doing nothing!
That’s a wrap! It was a good and successful year for me. I didn’t fulfill all my NY resolutions, but one coming true made up for all of them! 🙂
Thanks life for having me in 2019!