Another year, another review! For those new here, I like to post the past year’s highlights (and lowlights). This year, in particular, was incredible and filled with unique experiences, and it only improved as the year went on. My year did not start tremendously, as I had some leftover sorrow and hangups from the previous year. So let’s start there – the lowlights.
Those closest to me know that I ended my long-term relationship with my past partner in 2021. However, I had difficulty letting go of the relationship entirely. I still wanted to hang on and be friends with her. I also still had the lease on the apartment we lived in together up until May. This proved to be a difficult endeavor as I found it very difficult to move on emotionally. I was always awaiting the next argument, and it felt like we were both walking on eggshells with one another. I am not writing this to slander my past partner. She was a great (and I am sure she still is) person, and I wish her the best. We simply did not mesh well with one another, and I believe our relationship went past its due date. I told her how I felt, and we parted ways. It was painful because we had a lot of history, and picking apart the apartment we put together was extremely sad. There are still memories that pop up that hurt, but I recognize that it’s part of the healing process.
The beginning of the year is hard for me. It’s dark and cold, making it impossible to spend time outside. This is usually when my seasonal depression settles in, and carrying in pain from the year before made it even worse. I spent much time sleeping and lamenting about still being stuck in my parent’s basement. To make matters worse, the New York DMV suspended my license because I had switched my car insurance from New York to Connecticut to save money. I had no idea I had to register my car in Connecticut before switching (you’d think Geico would have told me beforehand). Anyhow, 2022 wasn’t all doom and gloom. Let’s get to the good parts!
Making the best of it
As I was spending a lot of time in the basement, I figured I would make the best of my space. I cleaned up the living room space and set up a TV. I also made many improvements to my office, including painting an accent wall (shoutout to Saulo and Joe for helping me), building a new standing desk, setting up a coffee station, and adding prints and lights to the walls. The basement became more of my own, making it easier to spend a lot of time there.
From Slack…..to a relationship?!
While my license was suspended, I couldn’t do much outside the house without getting a ride, so most of my time was spent working or playing video games. The people I talked to the most (apart from my parents) were on one of two text communication platforms: Slack is one of them. One colleague that I started talking to a lot was Aquant’s content writer, Janice. In the past, we had checked up on one another maybe once a quarter. We always bonded over discussions of nature and life updates. One day in late January, we started a Slack conversation that eventually evolved into texting, and the dialogue still continues to this day! We weren’t looking for a relationship or love, but our chemistry was too potent to ignore.
We spent months texting back and forth, and I finally found the courage to ask her on a date. I took her on an extravagant date to a jazz club in the city, and we hit it off instantly! A couple of months and a few dates later, I asked her to be a more permanent fixture in my life. Thus began our long-distance relationship, and I am living out of a suitcase again. We kept our relationship a secret from most of our other colleagues for most of the year, which was quite exciting. Although I have difficulty keeping secrets, it proved a little tricky for me to keep my mouth shut about it. We finally officially revealed our relationship to the company at the holiday party at the beginning of December. Everyone that we told was extremely happy for us. I am grateful that we met; she has become a massive part of my life. We have already started making plans for the future, and for the first time in my life, I feel overly confident about it. One of the important things I learned this year was how a healthy relationship looks. In the past, I always bent to the wants and needs of my partner and cast aside mine. I learned how to be my own advocate and speak up about what I want out of the relationship. That being said, Janice is one of the most emotionally intelligent people I have ever met, and she always accounts for my emotional needs. I am excited to see what the future holds for us.
Lots and lots of work travel
As I mentioned, the beginning of the year brought a little cabin fever. However, this did not last long as my job started to send me on many trips. My work travel started at the end of February and didn’t slow until late April. There’s a lot to go through so let me bullet it out first.
- February: San Diego, CA – Conference
- March: Irvine, CA – Company kickoff – I won an award!
- March: Dallas, TX – User meeting
- March/April: Tel Aviv, Israel – meeting up with the R&D team at HQ
- April: San Diego, CA – Conference
- April: Irvine, CA – my home base in between conferences
- April: Scottsdale, AZ – Conference
Not all of my trips are worth mentioning, but I wanted to highlight my trips to California and Israel. I want to start out by saying I love California. I really dig the weather and being able to go to the beach every day. I love being outdoors, so being able to spend a lot of time there this year was very special. Having our company’s yearly kickoff, there was super fun, and it was great being able to see most of the company. It is something that we do not have a chance to do often since the team is so distributed throughout the world. I also want to mention that I was nominated for an award, which was presented to me at the closing ceremony of the kickoff. Another California highlight was staying at my boss’s old condo for two weeks while I was in between conferences. I had a conference in San Diego at the beginning of April and then another in Arizona at the end of that month. This was a wonderful opportunity as I could take advantage of the nice weather and explore SoCal after work every day. I rented a car and drove to a new beach every afternoon. I also took a weekend trip to Joshua Tree and took a reflective walk through the desert.
I moved into Product Marketing at the end of 2021, and with that came the need to understand and collaborate with the team developing Aquant’s products. While at the kickoff in California, it was decided that some members of the Growth and Marketing team were to head to Israel and get more acquainted with the R&D team in Israel. So I spent ten days in Tel Aviv with the team, and while there, I could explore the city for what it had to offer. I really appreciated how the city was situated right on the beach. There was also a ton of great cuisine to sample! We were also able to do some excursions on the weekend, including walking around the old parts of the city, hiking the Ein Gedi, and floating in the Dead Sea. It was truly an amazing experience, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to go. Not to mention I got to spend time with some folks I usually only get to see on the other side of a Zoom meeting. I’d say the only low light of Israel was the twelve-hour flight back in coach. I think every baby in Israel was going to NYC that day! I immediately bought the best pair of noise-canceling headphones when I got back to avoid any future painful flights.
Lots of personal travel too!
When I got back from Israel, work travel basically came to a halt. However, that did not prevent me from planning some personal travel. Janice and I spontaneously planned a trip to Puerto Rico for the week of my birthday. It was a big year for me, considering I turned thirty!
Janice and I booked an Airbnb in San Juan. It was a small condo with a balcony, beach access, and a pool. It was such a nice place and so conducive to relaxing, which is what we wanted to do mostly. We spent our days visiting different beaches and sampling Puerto Rico’s cuisine. We also rented a car so we could easily get around the island. We did a lot of relaxing, but we also did our fair share of excursions.
El Yunque Rainforest
On one of the days, we booked a tour of the El Yunque national rain forest. The tour included transportation and a lunch stop at one of the local eating spots. We also got to slide down a natural water slide, and rope swing into a watering hole. Janice was quite scared to do the rock slide, but she overcame her fear and had a great time! However, she did ruin her all-white Converse, as the hike was quite muddy!
Another cool excursion we did was a nighttime boat ride in one of Puerto Rico’s bio bays. It was located pretty far from San Juan so we got to go on a little road trip across the island and eat at the fishing village that the boat was taking off from. The bio bay itself was incredible. The water there is inhabited by a species of phytoplankton that glow when agitated. So when we jumped into the water and moved our arms around, it produced a glittery substance. It was a magical experience!
Old San Juan
We spent another day walking around Old San Juan. There were so many old buildings and military structures to explore. We also stopped at a local cigar shop to buy some cigars. The cigar shop clerk was super nice and let us stay awhile to play Jenga and dominoes (this is where I discovered my love for dominoes). He even made us coffee and chatted with us for a couple of hours. Truly a wonderful day.
A couple of months after Puerto Rico, I took a trip to Germany to visit my buddy Joe who was stationed there for the Navy. I stayed on the military base in Stuggart most of the time, but we also took a brief trip to Amsterdam. I really enjoyed the architecture in the old cities and how bike and scooter friendly all of the cities were. I also got to go to a couple of soccer (football) matches. I was delighted to see how much energy the crowd had and appreciated the game’s fast-paced nature. This trip was my first time in Europe, but it won’t be my last. I am grateful to my friend for hosting me and joining in on my excursions.
Autumn in Vermont
After my Germany trip, I spent the month of September in New York but got back on the road in October. I rented a house near Mt. Killington in Vermont for the month to experience peak foliage season. I could remotely work there for the entire month and have a bunch of my friends visit. Janice also came to visit for the last couple of weeks. The house was on a massive piece of land surrounded by beautiful trees. The house itself was very cozy and had everything I needed. It was nice to get away from my parent’s house and experience life alone for a little bit. There were a lot of hiking trails around, so I could go hiking pretty much every day after work. Janice and I really enjoyed our walks, and experiencing the golden hour in Autumn was incredible. Janice and I also took a few short trips while there. One weekend we went to Burlington to explore the city, and another weekend we visited my old mentor Garth and his family in St. Johnsbury. We also made a short pitstop at the Ben Jerry’s factory for some ice cream!
I got back from Vermont at the beginning of November, which brought me into the holiday season. I am usually not a huge fan of the holidays, but this past year was really enjoyable. Aquant’s holiday party was exciting this year as we announced our relationship to the rest of the company. Janice came up from NY to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family and me. She really meshes well with my family, which is super important to me. I celebrated New Year’s with Janice’s family, and I was able to sample a ton of Guyanese traditional cuisine.
2022 was an amazing year for me. I experienced so many new things and felt like I had accomplished a lot. I know this year’s post just seemed like it was me spewing a bunch of good things that I did, but honestly, it’s the only way I could have conveyed it. There were so many good things to write about, and I couldn’t fit them all into this one post. I am grateful for how amazing 2022 was and am genuinely excited for what 2023 brings. See you next year!
2022 Photo Highlights