2015: A Look Back

I have to be honest, it’s really hard remembering everything this past year, so I am cheating a bit. This is apparently the second year in a row I’m kicking things off from the West Coast. In fact, I haven’t celebrated New Years from back home on the East Coast since 2013. This year it was on a MAX train in Portland, last year was with family in California, and the year before that was while I was abroad in Australia.


So I guess I’ve gotten used to celebrating away from home at this point. This was absolutely a busy year. Shortly after getting back from California, it was back to Drexel for my last year, and the snow hit pretty quickly. 2015 was a big year for SEPTA, with a lot of tech upgrades, including some very welcome new departure boards at Suburban Station. SEPTA Key still didn’t go-live, but we came very close.


February was just as busy, with new busses to ride, a re-design of the TechServ site, and plenty of re-organizing of things. I said goodbye to my Surface and hello to a server rack. In my dorm roomInk and Gold: Art of the Kano opened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and it was my favorite exhibit to see while I was a member (I very much miss the regular trips I would take.)


The arrival of March meant the arrival of my last quarter at Drexel, with just one-hundred days left. I finally finished Bunny Drop, one of my favorite anime/manga series ever. IKEA Day was a thing, and so was the Apple Watch at last. In other series finished, I read the last volume of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which was the second anime and manga I discovered – back in 2007. SEPTA dared passengers to take route 13 on Friday the 13th, and I accepted. The first of Spring was celebrated back home – with snow. The month ended with the start of a ten-week journey in entrepreneurship.


April was a hell of a month. It started with learning how to ride a bike. ai|inc also became The France Hopper Company. Philadelphia got ready to launch a revolutionary new bike share. The Apple Watch arrived in stores. I volunteered for the last time (for now) at the Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival. Drexel finally got a Saxbys. I made the crazy decision to lead one of Indego’s first rides with only two-hours of experience riding a bike. And then proceeded to ride all over Philly for the rest of the month.


May saw the retirement of my Sony V6s and I re-designed this blog yet again. But then tragedy struck. Amtrak 188 derailed, leaving hundreds injured, several dead, and many questions unanswered. It was the worst crash on the NEC since 1987. It was both a route and train I took regularly, and even with the derailment, traveling by train remained my prefered method of travel. A few days later, the countdown to graduation really began. The month closed with Apple replacing my MacBook Pro with a new top-of-the-line model, free of charge.


June meant it was time to graduate from Drexel after five long (and expensive) years. It started with a bang, as my team’s Senior Design project was awarded second place in the annual competition. Rather than get an Apple Watch, I got a Pebble Time instead. June 4th was my last day of class at Drexel, and it felt really weird. When Marnie Was There was released and while I hope it’s not the last Studio Ghibli film, I would be OK if it was. With just six days left at Drexel, the goodbyes began, as did packing, and I retired from TechServ in the best way. The end was really here. June 13th was my last day at Drexel. Vacation started the next morning with a trip to New York to see The Book of Mormon. Sound! Euphonium proved to me that anime trailers are deceptive little buggers. Finally, while I’m working at neither Crunchyroll nor Apple right now, I announced that I would turn down a job at Apple for one at Crunchyroll.


In July, I finally did get an Apple Watch and said goodbye to my Pebble Time. Incidentally, that review of Pebble Time was the most viewed post on here in 2015. After a month with my new laptop, it became clear my Mac Pro’s days were numbered. I made one last visit to Philly as I got ready to move from New Jersey.


In August, I wrapped things up back home and said goodbye to the East Coast. Just days after arriving in Portland, I started my first job out of Drexel. On the last day of my reservation at my hotel, I signed the lease on my first apartment. I was very quickly reminded of my time at Drexel.


September started with managing to not burn my apartment down while getting used to cooking after five years of having a meal plan. I made the formal announcement I moved to Portland for those that missed it, celebrated my birthday away from home again, and celebrated the opening of the Orange Line with TriMet. I saw Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions again and completed my first major project at work the next day. With about six hours of sleep. On the 26th, my diploma from Drexel finally arrived, becoming the most expensive piece of paper I have in a frame. September ended with an unexpected announcement from home: mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.


October was mostly a quiet month. The first of TriMet’s HOP poles began appearing, starting yet another countdown in my mind to replacing passes with fare cards. Even with delays, it looks like SEPTA will beat TriMet. October remained an uneventful month right up until the end, when cutbacks marked the elimination of my job at my former workplace. I became unemployed for the first time, and with the clocks ticking on student loan repayment, not at a good time either.


And so November meant the job hunting process started anew. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t a particularly great time. But it did mean I finally had time to actually tend to the apartment. It also meant having some time to explore Portland some too. A new Ghost in the Shell movie came out, and it was pretty good. My third month in Portland came and went, almost as quickly as the fully-loaded Tesla I drove.


December was about the same. I got my first Portland haircut, made The Perfect Insider my pick of the Fall 2015 anime season, started the onboarding process for a new position, turned a boring Friday into a productive one, and made Your Lie In April the third anime series to achieve a Masterpiece rating in my book. I celebrated my first Christmas in Portland via FaceTime with the family, had my first Portland snow a couple of days later, and ended the year riding all of MAX (after a couple of Streetcar loops of course.)


So here’s to 2016. I have no idea what’s in store, but I’m hoping the clear skies and beautiful sunset in Portland right now are a good starting sign.

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