Friday, December 28, 2018

A few things that made my 2018 interesting..

A day in Monaco
2018 is one of my most favorite years. It gave me lots of happy moments. Adhering to the habit I started in 2012, this post summarizes 30 things that made my 2018 interesting.

1. Submitting my Ph.D. thesis
I planned to defend by 2018 October. But it got delayed, and I will defend early next year. However, I have submitted the thesis, and my Ph.D. research is complete. :)

2. Return to Emory University, Atlanta
It is nice to be back at Emory BMI for a long-term after my previous short stint in 2016. Everything felt the same and different at the same time.

3. A day in Monaco, walking across the entire country
It is trivial to walk across a country if it is as small as Monaco. :)

4. The conclusion of Ph.D. collaborations
It is important to conclude the collaborations on a positive note. As my Ph.D. nears the end, I am happy that my collaborations from URijeka (SDSC) and KAUST (NetUber and Dynam-IX) also came to successful completion.

5. Sleepless nights in Shenzhen, China
When deadlines come, you get to work wherever you are. I ended up working overnights for the successful submission of Óbidos.

6. Shopping in rainy and windy days in Jeju
I was lucky (or was that Jeju, which indeed was fortunate to receive me?). After I left Jeju, in a few months, I learned that Jeju does not offer visa-free entry to Sri Lankans anymore.

7. Best Paper Award at SDS'18
I received the best paper award at SDS'18 for my paper on Software-Defined Data Services (SDDS). It was an exciting moment.

Barcelona, once again!
8. Random Walks in Barcelona, once more!
This is a city I adore. It was nice to be back yet one more time. I think I am getting familiar with this city more and more.

9. Cruise in Zurich Lake
Zurich was still cold in May. Of course not as cold as my last visit for the 2017 New Year's Eve. But still raining.

10. IFIP Networking 2018 with an overdose of caffeine
IFIP is a conference I always wanted to participate. Had the chance to present NetUber there this year, finally.

11. Spending a whole day in Sesimbra Beach
Sesimbra is a beach town close to Lisboa in the Setúbal district. I always wanted to go there. I got the chance finally this year.

12. First journal papers and book chapters of my Ph.D.
I started working on 3 journal papers (Évora, Óbidos, and SD-CPS) and 2 book chapters (SDN for big data and SDN for service compositions) last year. They all got accepted and published this year!

13. The views of French Riviera
Despite the predicted weather that it would be warmer than Barcelona, Nice turned out to be cloudy and colder.

14. Fresh Seafood in Jeju
Watching the show of octopus, squids, and several similar sea creatures being cooked alive for me.

15. Leaving Portugal and EU after 6 years
I don't think I will ever forget those sweet memories of Lisboa. Experiencing 'saudade', as we call it in Portugal.

16. Almada, just across the Tagus River.
Pleasant environment, but busy days.

17. Presenting my CAT at IST
I should have tried to make the IST's CAT and UCL's confirmation as a single presentation. But due to the difference in UCL and IST requirements, I chose to make 2 different presentations. With the CAT and my thesis submission, I have met all the requirements for the thesis (ABD/All But Dissertation).

18. A slow-paced year, quite the opposite of 2017
2017 was way too fast with several migrations and travels. 2018, on the other hand, was more stable and slow-paced. This was the first time during the past 6 years that we stayed home during the new year's eve. Feeling somewhat old.

19. Becoming a morning person in Atlanta
Love those early morning commutes to work while it is still dark and cold outside.

20. Hopping on to random buses in Jeju, hoping to reach the destination eventually.
Rainy days in Jeju
And we did. I even made an algorithm out of this.

21. Bus Commutes from Calçada de Carriche to my lab

My apartment was in Calçada de Carriche, a bit farther from my lab, INESC-ID Lisboa, compared to my previous neighborhoods. Therefore, needed a relatively longer bus commute.

22. Parque das Nações revamped.
Parque das Nações is my favorite spot in Lisboa. It has improved within the past few years with new restaurants, yet maintained its charm. It felt nostalgic to be back there.

23. Exploring more of greater Lisboa
Even after 6 years in Lisboa, we realized that there were a few places that we hadn't visited. This year, we visited the Loures region and its big shopping mall for the first time. 

24. Évora after 4 years
Évora has its historical significance. It is also where I was informed that I was selected to the prestigious EMJD-DC program with the grant, 4 years back.

25. Trying to relive moments in Portugal
As we count the last days in Lisboa, we tried our best to visit our favorite places just one more time, with mixed success.
The entire botanical garden was shining in colorful lights and music during the December nights.

27. Ponce City Market, Atlanta
I like the interiors of this small-scale shopping mall, especially its food court. It gives strong memories.

28. Assembling Furniture from IKEA
IKEA furniture shopping and assembling them for the first time. A fun experience.

29. Atlanta Christkindl Market
Christmas markets are a significant part of the festival season. This market in Atlanta reminded me of the ones I experienced in EU during the past 6 years, such as, Lisbon, Stockholm, Helsinki, and Louvain-la-Neuve Christmas markets.

30. Poble Espanyol, Barcelona
An open-air museum that summarizes entire Spain. Not too big. But it was a pleasant walk with architectures and some snacks from different Spanish regions.



Every year, I have one new year's resolution - to outperform my previous year. :) I already have high expectations for 2019. I wish you a happy new year everyone. Thanks for reading my list until the end. You may also read the blog posts of all the previous years (2018 - 2012) as well.