This year was truly the most challenging and changing year of my life so far. As a fan of thoughtful retrospectives, here goes my snapshot of this crazy year.
These were the core events of this year:
- Emigration: Moved from Portugal to the Netherlands
- New job: joined Channable
- Preparing for parenthood
They say that emigrating, moving house, changing job, and getting a kid are some of the most stressful events in one’s life. And this year brought them all together.
Next to the challenges and stress, we had a amazing, recharging and remarkable holiday time in Austria.
From Portugal to The Netherlands
The question I am always asked by Dutch people is “Why did you leave Portugal”? And they mean to talk about the weather. I am not a big fan of being warm, and I am being rather discrete in describing my hate for it. But sure it was not the cooler temperatures of The Netherlands that convinced me and my wife to move.
My wife is Dutch, therefore moving here is not such a surprise. Neither is as stressful as I can imagine it being for anyone moving alone to a foreign country they have no connection with.
I love The Netherlands, simply put. This country is beautiful. The mountains are not spectacular here, but the price of peanut butter compensates for it. I find Dutch people incredibly simple, friendly and light. In Portugal, we have a rather complicated and dramatic way of living, therefore living in The Netherlands does me good.
Aside from that, I was working for worth.systems since the summer of 2014, and I intended to keep working in a Dutch company. Not only because the salaries are more interesting, but mostly because the working culture here is, in my experience, amazing.
But despite loving The Netherlands and live here, the transition was harder than expected. Leaving my parents, sister and friends behind is a difficult process. Not seeing my little nice and nephew growing is painful. Actually moving to a different country is different from visiting it regularly. Like it is different to get married and to just move in together.
Now, 12 months later, I feel like the transition is almost complete. I am somewhat struggling with this dark winter, but I feel at peace with living here. It is hard to wake up and get back home while there is no point of light in the sky, but on the other hand, I love getting on my bike every day. I can even ride without hands now!
I very much miss Portugal food though. And I miss being a few hours at the table eating good food and enjoying long conversations with good laughs with friends.
Early this year I made the decision to leave Java behind and get out of my comfort zone. I was probably inspired by the example of George Carlin, who was committed to dropping all of his existing material and starting over every year.
Long story made short, leaving your comfort zone is way, way scarier in action than in words. There were many aspects that motivated me to move to Channable:
- The first was the opportunity of writing Haskell at work.
- The second was working for a Product company, where software design, beautiful code and performance play a fundamental role.
- The third was the opportunity to work on very interesting problems on a daily basis
- The forth was to work with people who were much better than me
The experience has been amazing. The days, the weeks, and the months just fly since I am working there. My colleagues are simply top at very young age, which is incredible. I’d describe it as the developer paraside. The office is in Utrecht, which turned out to be my favourite city in The Netherlands.
I have never felt so overwhelmed, though. I don’t use any of the technologies I had mastered the last years, therefore everything feels new. And even the things that, at the core, are not exactly new, there still is a mental blocking process about it not being the same. That takes time to pass by and requires a lot of energy and perseverance.
It was also difficult to leave my previous colleagues. They were pretty much my only friends in this country, and they were really great and I still miss them up to this day.
As you see, having changed jobs was not a single transition process, but many at the same time. Overall I am very happy I had the courage to take this step and I am very much looking forward to being a bigger and better contribute for Channable in 2018.
Preparing for parenthood
Checking the test and find a positive is a unique experience. As one gets married, a deeper self-discovery takes place. And when you and your partner bring a life to this world, it goes even deeper.
It is scary, though, to realise that if I mess up in life I affect directly the life of another inoffensive and dependent being. But that’s the beauty of life and the strength of commitment and therefore freedom.
Seeing my wife sick grew in me a stronger sense of respect for her. And being next to her in every step of the way has been an incredible experience. It has brought us even closer and opened our eyes to what it means to live a life of vulnerability together.
It is a beautiful time but also a tiring one. There is so much to think about and to prepare, and not time enough to get in peace with it all.
Overall, I look back to these eight months with great happiness. In about a month our little one will be in our arms and I can only imagine the indescribable joy!
Diapers, here I come!
2017 was a crazy great year, and the next year comes with a lot of things to look for as well.
It will be a year of personal and professional maturation, but also a year of complete revolution as our baby arrives in our lives.
I will definitely look back to this time of my life with a smile and I can’t wait to see the person, the man, the husband, the father and the software engineer I will become next year.