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A Look Back at 2023

··1481 words·7 mins

Summary #

What a year. We completed one full calendar year of living in Sydney and got to experience a glimpse of what Australia has to offer. We had some nice road trips, but towards the second half, due to a change in regulation, I was not able to drive anymore. That said, we went to a lot many concerts (averaging one a month). I got better at Typescript, did a few long-haul flights for work and vacation, and signed off the year with a relaxing stay at home, watching the fireworks.

On the tech side of things, I continued helping out with the CDK Day, went to a few Meetups, got to give a talk at re:Invent, and worked on a couple of small side projects (spotify-dl and ynab-exporter). And of course, our weekly Discord calls with my friends Saurabh, Fossil, Cruise, Karthik, Ninad, Aman went about as usual, with me missing a couple of them due to being on the airplane 😆.

By the months #

Here’s what happened by the month:

January: We got a taste of what Summer in Sydney is like. With increasing temperatures and an ineffective air conditioning system, we bought a Vornado whole-room air circulator and liked it so much that we bought another one last month. Inspired by Thej’s Weekly Notes, I started writing my weekly notes in the third week of January and have been writing every week since - it’s become a habit now to write my weekly notes as I talk with my friends on Discord every Sunday afternoon, and I want to keep at that. I also started helping out for Barcamp virtually. January ended with the Chinese New Year celebrations and we went over to Darling Harbour for the show.

Happy Lunar New Year!

February: February started with one of my most anticipated concerts - the Red Hot Chili Peppers performing in Sydney. Check out my blog post about this experience. We checked out the Maroubra and Bondi beaches. We also completed 6 months in Sydney. Finally, the last week of February brought about my first travel of 2023 - a visit to Singapore thanks to my employer, The Trade Desk’s annual Palooza event.

Maroubra Beach
Macquarie Lighthouse

March: In March we got to experience the Piano Guys concert at the Sydney Opera House. And then for my birthday, we did a road trip to Newcastle where Jo and I chilled. I got a Steam Deck for myself as a birthday gift.


April: With the fall season coming up, the temperatures started dipping forcing us to get our jackets out. Vinayak and his family visited Sydney and we made a road trip out of it - using this time to visit the Blue Mountains and the famous Three Sisters lookout (check out my travelogue of Blue Mountains visit). We wrapped up April with Prathamesh publishing a transcript of our conversation for SRE Stories.

Lincoln’s Rock
Three Sisters

May: In May, I got my first taste of Diablo IV, and I knew I’d be playing it for long. We went back to the Blue Mountains to check out the fall colours. While exploring the Blue Mountain roads, we made a detour and that ended up being the best detour - we reached Bathurst.

I met my classmate from engineering and we had a good time reconnecting. We wrapped up May with a concert by José González at the Opera House, as part of Vivid Sydney.

Harbour Bridge lit up for Vivid Sydney
Can you spot the Moon, Venus and Mars?
José González at the Opera House

June: June started with not one but two concerts the Wooten Brothers and a Candlelight tribute to Queen.

Diablo IV was finally released and I then flew out spending the next three weeks in the US on a work visit, with the first two weeks in Boulder, Colorado.

July: I spent the first week in July, meeting a lot of friends, family, and former colleagues. I met my teammates as well and we went for dinner. Meeting people, and talking over cioppino was fabulous. I also got a free GPU upgrade to a RTX 2080Ti, thanks to a colleague. I filed my first income tax returns in Australia for the year and was amazed by how simple it was. Having completed a year in Sydney, we contemplated moving to a new house as our rent was due to increase but decided against it after some research indicated an increase in rent all over. With the change in driving license regulations coming, I could not drive anymore. We wrapped up July with Jo starting to work after more than a year and a half of job hunting.

Best Damn Crab Cioppino

August: August was a slow month. I bought Baldur’s Gate 3 and was instantly mesmerized it by, spending many hours in the game. We celebrated Jo’s birthday at a nice Italian restaurant and loved the food.

September: We saw our first movie in a theatre in Sydney! We went to watch Oppenheimer. We also went to my first musical, Beauty & the Beast. We started a weekend paper delivery for the Sydney Morning Herald, and have been enjoying reading the weekend newspaper.

Capitol Theatre is amazing.

We wrapped up September with a sunset harbour cruise, redeeming the Blueboard experience from my first-year milestone reward from The Trade Desk. Check out my blog post about this experience.

Sunset Skyline

October: October started with another successful CDK Day. Being in Australia, I couldn’t do my traditional event hosting duties for the entire day as the timings were way too late for me to run the whole track. But I pitched in for the first two hours and had a lot of fun. We had a fire evacuation drill in our office building, and having to walk down 31+ a few more floors was… not pleasant. My talk for re:Invent was proposed and finalized, and I started preparing the slides for the talk. To wrap up, I flew to India, taking a two-week vacation and spending the rest of October at home. One of the highlights of this trip was being able to do my first-ever business-class flight experience, and boy do you get pampered!

November: November started with us having no mobile and Internet connectivity for over 9 hours thanks to Optus having a major nationwide outage. We then had a Def Leppard & Mötley Crüe concert that we enjoyed. We also went to a Kandinsky exhibit. In between these, I was pretty occupied with my re:Invent talk preps. Before flying out for re:Invent, I got my second booster dose, so that I’d have some levels of immunity. I wrapped up November with the final long-haul flight to Las Vegas via San Francisco.

Artwork at Kandinsky Exhibit

Artwork at Kandinsky Exhibit

Def Leppard Concert

December: I started December with a week of re:Invent. You can read up on my re:Invent experience on my previous weekly note. Jo and I completed our 10th anniversary. We went to our final two concerts of the year: Kraftwerk and Foo Fighters (the Foo Fighters concert was the best live event I’ve been to till date). We also went to a Ramses II exhibit at the Australian Museum. We did South Head Trail, taking the ferry from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay, and from there went walking. We also walked over to the Christmas market at Martin Place. Finally, we welcomed the New Year by relaxing and chilling at home.


Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters

Christmas Market in Martin Place

Other wrapups #

Check out my previous post on the wrap-up of wrap-ups to see the full breakdown of what I played on Steam and the other related wrap-ups.

The Video #

Thanks to Apple iCloud Photos for generating this

What’s for 2024? #

For 2023, I was looking to travel, drive, and blog more. While I did do a lot of travel, I didn’t get to drive a lot. For 2024, I want to continue my weekly notes, write more posts on my tech blog perhaps even dive into YouTube. More importantly, I need to get my driver’s license done stat and start planning for my permanent residence in Australia.

Wish you all the best in 2024!