I've been putting off writing this because frankly, I look back on 2015
and it really doesn't stand out too much. Especially when you compare
it to previous years. In 2014 for example, I visited Australia and
New Zealand. In 2013 I moved in with Christina, and in 2012 my parents
came to visit me and we traveled to Paris, London, and Dublin. 2015 had
its ups and downs, but honestly, I feel like a lot less happened this
Two big things happened though, but you'll have to keep reading if you
can't remember what they were.
As best memory serves, I only did 5 bits of significant travel this
year, and only one trip was New and Exciting. I guess I can't complain
though, these were all good trips.
Brussels & FOSDEM
As I do every year now, I went to FOSDEM
for the annual Free conference. If you've never been, I can't recommend
it enough, not the least because you get to meet the people who build
the tools you use every day and thank them in person. You also get to
buy all kinds of cool stuff that helps support these projects, which
doesn't suck either.
Madrid & Seville
The most exciting trip of the year for me, not the least because Inga
and Gerardo were getting married in Seville! I took a couple weeks off
and did a solo trip to Madrid for a week before heading down to Seville
where I met Christina for the actual wedding. The event was so pretty
and both cities were lovely. It was a fabulous trip.
Another important trip was to Cardiff, not because it was Cardiff
(because frankly, I didn't much care for the town), but because it was
for DjangoCon Europe and I was giving my first public workshop
wherein I taught a small group of people for an hour or so complete with
exercises and a presentation
I put together in advance.
It turns out, I really like this sort of thing. Maybe I'll be able to
do it as a proper job one day.
Max and Julia, friends of Christina's from her law school days were
getting married in a little town about two hours south of Vienna, so we
flew out to the land of lederhosen and beer (seriously, there was a
festival in town and everyone was out in their traditional garb) for a
beautiful wedding in a castle.
The ceremony was long, and Catholic, and German, but the bride was
gorgeous and the reception was excellent. Everyone had a lovely time.
The last big trip of the year was my annual visit back home to see
friends & family. Violet is getting so big, and I worry that she really
has no idea who I am. Like any 3 year old girl though, she's friendly
and inclusive when it comes to strangers, so we still got along fine. I
hope that one day we'll be able to stay in closer contact, but that's
still a ways off.
It was also my last opportunity to see my grandfather alive.
My Grandpa died in 2015. It was harder on me than I'd expected,
especially since he had spent much of the last few years essentially
waiting to die. He'd become more isolated and frustrated as his body
continued to fail him, and rarely if ever left the house. Still, I'm
glad I had one more opportunity to spend time with him before he died,
even if an unfortunately large portion of that time was spent in
disjointed arguments and yelling about cable TV signals.
I wrote a eulogy for him, and then I rewrote it
because the first one wasn't right. Every once in a while I re-read
Before my grandfather died though, Christina and I were able to give him
the news that she and I are getting married.
I proposed on a warm August day, but Christina didn't get her ring until
months later because I left that part up to her ;-) We ended up
getting a modest white gold ring with a manufactured diamond for
ethical reasons and Christina seems very happy with it.
Unfortunately, actually setting a date has been tough thus far, but
only because our professional positions are a little chaotic at the
moment. More on that later.
Moving to London
The biggest news of 2015, and probably the primary reason this year
didn't involve all that much travel is that Christina and I packed up
our lives in Amsterdam and moved to London. The idea was that she would
start at an exciting new job, and I would find work somewhere in a Big
City -- something I've missed a lot since moving to Amsterdam 5 years
The visa application process was completely insane:
- £956 application fee
- £850 NHS surcharge
- €500 expediting fee
- £860 visa agent fee
On top of this we had to compile a ridiculous amount of information
including a complete list of every out-of-country trip I've made in the
last 5 years. That one took a lot of effort, but the number came down
to 53 trips -- yes, I'm rather proud of that one.
We also had to find a flat and sign a one-year lease without actually
seeing the apartment. Our new home is cold, damp, small, and on the
ground floor. It used to be a stable. We're stuck here 'til November.
It seems that every year that goes by, I adopt a new hobby project. In
In 2013 I restarted Spirithunter (turns out Nintendo is going build a
game just like it), in 2014 I had my father's RxLenses
site, and in 2015 I started TweetPile, a
project to help me collect all the tweets about anything in particular.
It took a lot of work, and I learnt a lot about asynchronous Python, but
in the end, there didn't seem to be a lot of interest in it out there.
The biggest problem is that people typically don't know what they want
to collect on twitter until after the tweets have gone out. Twitter
doesn't have a comprehensive historical API though, so you can't get
all tweets in the past about "x", only stuff Twitter thinks is
relevant. Long story short, TweetPile was fun to write, still works,
but sadly isn't very popular.
RIPE Atlas Tools Magellan
After years of talking about it amongst the team and with the community,
we embarked on actually writing a comprehensive command line toolkit for
RIPE Atlas, the project I'd been labouring on
ever since I started working there back in 2012.
This project was my baby, and I took point on it, dictating structure,
choosing the license (GPL3!), and writing the lion's share of the code.
I also worked with Andreas to adopt a proper pull-request-and-merge
methodology, which was a nice change from how we had done things until
The result was a solid, thriving, community project
that opens RIPE Atlas up to thousands of engineers all over the world.
I'm really proud of this one.
Of course, just as I started on an exciting new project, it was time for
me to leave. I'd put in more than three years at the RIPE NCC, longer
than any job I'd ever held, largely because I loved working for them.
It turns out that London has a lot of opportunities for Python nerds
like me, so there were no shortage of jobs available. I had been spoilt
by the NCC though, and wanted to continue working for a non-profit, so
this tainted my search process. In the end, I ended up choosing to work
for the British government. If you want to know how that's going
though, you'll have to log in and see my private post about it ;-)
When I wrote this post for 2014, I talked about how I had big travel
plans and possibly even dance classes in mind for 2015. In retrospect,
I have no idea what I was thinking. I don't even remember what I was
talking about then.
2016 promises to be interesting (new city, new friends, new job), but
much of it is still up in the air. Christina is applying for a job in
Edinburgh, and if she gets it, we're moving again -- as early as August.
If she doesn't, then I have to figure out what I'm going to do about my
work situation (more info in the private posts). This potential job
also means that we're not likely to get married this year as there's no
sense in planning a wedding in Greece when you're not even sure where
you'll be living in a couple months.
I've also joined a choir here in London which is pretty awesome, and
while I've managed to lose a little weight in my last year in Amsterdam,
it's creeping back up living here in the land of fried and salted
I have no idea which way things are going to go, and to be honest, I'm
annoyed that I don't find this exciting.