Thursday, December 31, 2015

A few things that made my 2015 interesting..

The beautiful view from the Mayan Palace, Mexico
2015 was a wonderful and probably the best-so-far year for me. This year had traces of a few previous years, remarkably 2013.

Abiding to my tradition of writing an annual summarizing post, I am listing below a few things that made my 2015 interesting. The list is in a random order, and the order does not represent anything.

1. Data Quality (QD) module. 

ok, I never thought I will start this list with a course I did at the university. But there are multiple reasons.

3. Graduating. Twice!

This year, I graduated from my masters double degree, from IST Lisboa and KTH Stockholm, and attended two graduation ceremonies (in Portugal and Sweden) to receive the degree award.

4. My comeback to FOSS.

It was always in my new year resolutions in the recent years. This year I got active with OpenDaylight community, leading the Messaging4Transport Project, and also created an OpenDaylight user group in Lisboa.

5. The HOT Summer! More beaches, across continents - in Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Sweden, Italy, and Croatia. Portimão beach in Portugal was unexpectedly pleasant.

6. Floating in the water with fish, in the clean water beach of an uninhabited island of Maldives.

8. OpenDaylight Summit in Santa Clara. I never thought I will have this much of information from a single conference. This was my second time to SJC, and first time to encounter a delayed flight and changing the flights to avoid missing the connecting flight.

9. God Ganesh Temple and getting soaked in the rainy night in Colombo.

10. Cooking for my parents in Sri Lanka.

I have cooked for friends many times before. But first time for my mom and dad. That was truly remarkable. I missed this during my 2013 visit (and I was not capable of cooking before 2013. :) )

11. A long walk in a burning day in Belgrade. Till that point, I was under the impression that nothing can burn me.

12. Ljubljana. I was impressed by the river side wifi and game meat. :)

14. Backpacking to Andorra. Never thought I would be able to go light weight. An achievement of the year for sure. 

15. A helicopter ride in a pleasant winter day.

16. More presentations! First time I presented my work in another university as a guest speaker.

My presentation at ASU, in Tempe for IC2E 2015 was remarkable. Loved that conference, and active involvement and enthusiasm from the participants during many of the presentations.

17. A late summer vacation in Sri Lanka. Not really a vacation. I was getting married. ^_^

Also experienced being a 'tourist' in Colombo. Never felt like a tourist in my own country before.

18. My first short-term scientific mission (STSM) at the University of Rijeka, Croatia. Sounds fancy, isn't it? :)

This also includes working with my computer with the noise of frogs, while sitting outside the University of Rijeka in the stair case, in the mid night! They just close the faculty by 10 pm, and I did not have internet connection in my big and beautiful apartment (that was supposed to be a professors apartment. The topmost floor of the students' dormitory. Loved it).

All the COST actions of the same program are listed here, including mine.

19. Long flights. This year I had many long flights.

I enjoy watching movies in the long flights, because they have English subtitles for foreign language movies. Sometimes I just fall asleep in the flight while attempting to watch a movie. :D

This year, for the first time, I got my luggage delayed (by a day, and it was in PHX). Another first - this year, when I reached SJC after completing a trip, I was informed that there is a flight delay that might lead me missing my connecting flight in LAX. Hence, I was given a free shuttle ride to SFO and sent to LIS in an alternative route. :)

20. Stockholm, once again! It was loads of loads of loads of memories! I actually went to Stockholm twice this year. But somehow missed Kista during both trips.

21. Kayaking once more from Fejan! Never did I guess in 2013 that I would visit this place for another EMDC Summer Event.

22. An unhealthy lunch at Trst, Italy. All while keeping an eye at the hungry, persistent, and bullying seagulls.

23. Planning for the events in 2016 starting from early December!

Already have 3 confirmed events in my list in Berlin, Portland, and San Francisco.In addition, have a planned trip to Shenzhen, and planning another long term journey to Atlanta. Many of these events are outcomes of the collaboration with Emory BMI. It was a pleasant surprise that we got many papers as outcomes, which I am in fact going to present in 2016. We have 4 accepted papers; 3 to be presented - MediCurator, Data Cafe, and SPREAD, and MEDIator already presented.

24. Barcelona once more. This was my first EMJD-DC Spring Event. Nice to meet all the colleagues for the first. We are so distributed - In Portugal, Spain, Belgium, and Sweden.

25. Renting an own apartment. No more apartment sharing, at least as long as we are in Portugal. More privacy.. ^_^

26. Random walking in many new cities alone. Often with a map. Often without; asking strangers for information. It felt like a virtual reality game, finding random places with no knowledge of the local language.  May be an increased level of confidence? Well, to be fair, many of the youngsters I met in these cities speak better English than me.

27. Some successes (xSDN, ∂u∂u, Cassowary, MEDIator, Data Cafe, MediCurator, SPREAD, ..) and some failures (SDCO, S²DN, RAVANA, SMART, FIRM, ..), and... some mixtures (SENDIM, ..). I am talking about my projects, if you are confused.

28. Spring flowers in Frankfurt, Germany.

29. International border crossings by land, and long bus rides. 

This includes US <-> Mexico, Croatia <-> Slovenia, and Croatia <-> Serbia. Never really did this before this year (not counting Sweden <-> Denmark (2013) and Spain <-> Andorra (2015) as real borders due to the Schengen open visa policy).

30. Multiple plots and locations. Spent most of the time in Portugal, with one month each in Croatia and Sri Lanka, in the mid-year.

Other short-term locations include US (twice), Mexico, Germany, Sweden (twice), Spain, Andorra, Italy, Slovenia, Serbia, and Maldives. This made 2015 a year full of travels for me.

Thanks for reading my list till the end. If you are really interested, you may also read the blog posts on the previous years (2015 - 2012) as well.

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