Shit Year

It’s September of 2021 now, but to me, it feels like 2020 is wrapping up. Lingering effects of that year are finally starting to wear off and I can finally look back, at least a little bit more objectively and maybe even find good memories.

Most of the year was spent watching a screen (or two), even more so than before. My life was work. The day started with a meeting and ended with noting down work for tomorrow (sometimes the day didn’t end. We would burn the midnight oil, pair programming and debugging). I was creatively starved. I tried going out to shoot street photography, but the streets were emptier than usual and… well I was scared too. I did join Eric Kim’s virtual workshop a couple times and while it was great to meet likeminded people and discuss art and philosophy, it was no replacement for a real one where you go out to make art with other people. Oh I missed that. I missed that a lot.

I missed my family and I missed my then girlfriend. Korea was doing a lot better with Covid, air travel was proven relatively safe (given that we all wore masks), and I could really, really use a break.

This was my view growing up. It will be the only view for the next 14 days.

That of course mean that I would be quarantining for 14 days (and I was quarantined at the airport for having a slight fever, but tested negative). I quarantined at my childhood home. My room was no longer mine since my brother took over. But first-born laws dictate that I get my room back for the visit.

I had home cooked meal 3 times a day. which was 1-3 times more than usual.

Most people I know told me that they weren’t fond of the quarantine. And honestly, that’s very agreeable. I probably wouldn’t be able to do it for an extent period of time, but for 14 days? Well I could do 14 days. And I excel at it. I did nothing but work, eat, workout, work and sleep. I was debugging an issue in a postgresql proxy where a deadlock kept happening during the SSL handshake process. It was 14 days of what I thought I needed, and I was right.

But all good things must come to an end. I was soon out and about

Streets were a lot emptier than how I remember
and there was a bit of tension everywhere

I visited Jeju Island before I left. It was a first real vacation I had in years.

Jeju was calm and peaceful. There’s a certain sense of slowness.
This is perhaps my favorite image of 2020

There was a sense of hope. When I was outside, I could, for a second, forget that there was a pandemic going on. There were 100 shades of blue and I was just happy to take it all in.

Oh to be young and adventurous
Empty airport. Iconic 2020.

This time it was actually a little hard to leave. I miss it. I miss it a lot.