Year in Review: 2018

Well, another year, another Year in Review. This is my.. third time writing these? And it seems like the common theme is that every time I write one I’m surprised a year has passed already haha.

Maybe it’s just another aspect of getting older, but it really seems like every year passes by quicker and quicker. At the same time though, when you look back and think about things and events earlier in the year it’s like “wow that was this year?”.

Anyways, as I wrote in the 2017 Year in Review, that year was a rollercoaster year with “change” as the common theme. This year, on the other hand, had practically zero change. In a way, it kinda felt like the epilogue or post-credits scene of my time in Korea. It was just a year of me settling back into my life in Canada and adapting to a life of regularity and routine.

The Toronto skyline from the Exhibition Go station.

In a way, it’s a bit nice in the sense that the year wasn’t super crazy, but at the same time I’m feeling a bit antsy since it feels like my life just isn’t as interesting as it used to be. Granted, it probably still is quite interesting to some people, but it’s just not really on the same level as many of the other years of my adult life.

I think that’s reflected with the number of pictures I’ve taken this year as well. Looking at them now, since 2013, 2018 was the year where I took the least amount of pictures. Which is a bit odd too considering how I’ve officially had a full year with the Pixel 2, which to this day I’m still amazed at how amazing the camera is.

For the most part, I just spent the year working while travelling whenever I could. Between personal trips and business trips, I actually flew out of Toronto seven times in 2018, which I think might be a record for the number of trips I’ve ever done in a year.

My first flight of 2018.

The first trip I did was one to South Korea and Hong Kong. That was a legit vacation and I wanted to go back to South Korea to see my friends and check out the Olympics. That trip was fun. I’ve talked about it in my post about the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics already, but essentially it was nice to be back in Korea and to see the country so festive.

However, the main point of the trip was to see my friends again. Back in February, it was only like six months since I last saw them but honestly I really missed them (and still do!) so it was really nice to see them all again and just hang out over food and drinks.

I visited Seoul a lot when I lived in Daejeon but they were generally just weekend trips. Even though I was there this time for like a week and a half, it really just felt like one of those trips. I didn’t really do much sightseeing and really just spent the time like I would if I still lived in South Korea. It really did feel like temporarily jumping back into an old life.

The hangout district in Sinchon.

In the middle of my trip to Korea, I took a few days and went to Hong Kong as well. It was a natural addition to the trip since I was already in Asia and I really wanted to see my grandma, relatives, and other friends over there. Plus, I’ve been to Hong Kong every even numbered year in the 201Xs so I just had to go back in 2018 as well.

Despite living in South Korea for so long, I still think that Hong Kong is my second home. Considering how my family is from there and I speak the local language, it’s always nice to visit Hong Kong. Every time I go it’s always cool to see the new subway stops, check out the new things that have popped up, and to hang out with people.

The entrance to Lan Kwai Fong.

My entire trip to Asia was two weeks. I burnt through all of my vacation time in one go so I had pretty much nothing left for the rest of the year. But it went by so quickly and next thing I know I was on a flight back to Toronto and had to go back to work the next day.

But despite that being my major trip of the year, that was just the first trip of many. In May, I flew to Philadelphia for a long weekend to attend my cousin’s wedding. That was my first real visit to the States in a long time so it was a neat trip but little did I know that that was just the start of my 2018 American tour.

An Indian guy marrying a Chinese girl in America, multiculturalism at its finest.

From June to December I ended up going on five business trips, with four of those being to the States, so I ended up going to the States five times in 2018.

Honestly, looking back at that it’s been a crazy time. My first business trip was to Chicago and even though it was only six months ago, it already feels like forever ago since I’ve been so busy at work. Now, I consider myself a relatively experienced traveler but it was still my first time going for work, so there were a few things I was unsure about in terms of etiquette and stuff.

However after that first trip, I also went to Vancouver in July, San Antonio and Chicago again in October, and San Diego in December. After all these trips I can safely say I’m pretty comfortable travelling for work haha.

The INVIVO team at ASH 2018.

It’s been really nice though. For places that I’ve been before, like Vancouver, it was nice to re-visit, especially since I have family there. Other places, like San Antonio and San Diego, are places that I probably wouldn’t plan a trip to if I were thinking of vacation places. But I’ve always wanted to go to Texas and California and and so it was a great opportunity to go.

All of the places I visited for work also ended up being amazing places in general as well, so pluses all around really.

I even managed to extend my time in California a bit and travel to Santa Cruz to see a concert, and to quickly visit San Francisco as well. I wrote a blog post for Santa Cruz and considered writing one for San Francisco as well, but considering how I was only there for 24 hours and still have a lot more to see, I think I’m refraining from doing so until I get a proper trip in.

Pre-concert selfie in my new Slaughter to Prevail shirt.

Considering all the traveling I’ve been doing for work, it’s understandable that I’ve been pretty busy at work. It has been busy, especially the last couple of months, but for the most part I’ve been enjoying it. I’m no longer the new guy and I know what I’m doing now. The company has even recognized my hard work and efforts with a quick promotion this year.

So really, no major complaints. Especially since the work culture and environment is so great.

Overall, I think this year I’ve definitely settled into a regular routine. When I first came back to Canada there was an adjustment period where I wasn’t really sure what to do, who to see, where to go, etc. But over the span of this year I think I have a better understanding of that now and definitely feel like I have a life here again.

I have a solid group of friends that I see on a regular basis and I’m able to hang out with my family and watch my nephews grow up. It’s nice.

CN Tower with Christmas colours.

I still think about my life in Korea every once and a while, but with each passing day those memories get further and further away. It’s weird to think about it like that since I wouldn’t trade those memories and experiences away for anything. But at the same time, the life I’m living now is so different and disconnected from that now.

For one, it’s nice having an actual source of income haha. I still can’t believe I lived off of $1000 a month for three years.

But yea, 2018 is over. I think 2018 injected some stability and normality into my life, which I really appreciate since it helped me transition back into uh, a “normal life”. But like I mentioned earlier, life is alright but I think it could be more interesting.

I’ll have to find some ways to spice up my life a bit more in 2019.

2018 Achievements and Statistics

  • 4 countries (South Korea, Hong Kong, United States of America, Canada)
  • 10 platinum trophies (Life is Strange, Batman, Uncharted 4, Uncharted: Lost Legacy, Guardians of the Galaxy, Kamen Rider: Climax Fighters, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, God of War, Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls)
  • 1 concert (Ten Years of Exile with Whitechapel, Chelsea Grin, Oceano, and Slaughter to Prevail)
  • A promotion to Senior Interactive Media Developer