My 2018 – A Google Photos Review

I’m a big fan of Google Photos. Even though I should probably be an Apple Photos person, given my Apple hardware usage, somehow Google Photos was first to the punch for me with cloud-based photo storage and it just stuck.

I especially love how all my photos from my phone, computer, camera, and even sent to me by iMessage, What’s App, and Messanger, or simply screen dumps, all end up in the cloud. Sure, it means there are a lot of photos uploaded, some that really have no rhyme or reason for taking up precious bytes of data, but provides for a really fun trip down memory lane when looking back at 2018 in retrospect. I can scroll through each month of the year and based on photos uploaded think back to what took place at that time.

So without further ado, here’s my 2018 in Google photos, highlights chosen randomly from photos per given month.

January

  • we saw Wroclaw’s Bethlehem, a Christmas themed concert at the centennial hall
  • snow hiked with Fado dressed in his winter getup
  • started a new job on the 6th floor of a building overlooking the city
  • started commuting every day to the city center for work
  • traveled for work to a small German town of Wangen for proper ‘new-guy’ introduction
  • did some sightseeing at Lake Constance
  • Ania made great fruit Jello
  • I found out that my desk was still miles away from being the dirtiest work desk ever, photo of Łukasz’ desk (sorry Łukasz)
  • GOVECS team sent me a photo of their project shirts with my face on the CORTAS project logo (my last name is Kortas, so it was close enough) *PS: miss these guys!

February

  • new job: working in Agile (retrospective meeting seen on the photo)
  • new job: my projects shrunk in size (PCB product) but scaled up in volume produced
  • winter froze over the city
  • Wroclaw’s main train station is sweet looking after renovation
  • trying new commuting routes with tram->train transfer
  • new job: I now work in a futuristic looking square tower…
  • …but I keep enjoying the view
  • Fat Thursday doughnuts are sweet for the soul (and bad for the body)
  • colorful photo from the lobby of our building
  • attended a Nokia Garage PMI Wroclaw seminar on virtual reality
  • Nokia Garage has a pretty cool office space, too
  • local drunk in my neighborhood got themselves a chair set and apparently cleaned their ‘living room’ area
  • our local dog-whisperer neighbor Andrzej during our pre-work morning walk

March

  • Poland is still frozen over
  • as part of my new job, I travel about once a week to our production facility some 70km away, but the sights on my way are sometimes pretty cool…
  • …like this overturned boat on the highway
  • we went bowling with Łukasz and Agnieszka
  • spent a day in Kraków
  • the real reason for going to Kraków was to buy my motorcycle, a Honda Transalp 650
  • I begin riding my motorcycle pretty much everywhere: to work and on muddy weekends
  • new job Scrum project meetings are fun
  • I also travel to my project customer to Slovenia where I do little sightseeing around the small town of Velenje
  • our customer has a pretty cool appliance test facility
  • I also get to drink Slovenian beer, and then old school Polish beer, and then Ukranian beer I think…
  • my old buddy Tomek came by to see my new work HQ
  • the weather is improving and we spend much needed time outside walking Fado
  • Ania tries to read a book
  • Happy Easter!

April

  • I sign up, run, and finish my very first half marathon
  • my new license plate arrives with a cool DX in it (local city identifier)
  • mother in law brakes her arm and we take in her chocolate lab while she recovers
  • I get to walk to labs now, but these are chocolate labs, and I love it
  • training at work
  • first grilled chicken wings of the season
  • the auto detailing shop below my flat gets a cool Corvette to work on
  • we celebrate my moms birthday
  • first Transalp ride together with the wife
  • PMI Wroclaw hosts another cool seminar on teamwork
  • Fado’s first swim of the season
  • we take our lab’s hiking
  • seasonal tire change, winter is over
  • first strawberries of the year, great looking, but not great tasting

May

  • Ania works on her garden project
  • we meet up for a first May grill with our gang
  • I take a day moto ride with some friends around local mountains
  • non-alco beer and pizza during the ride
  • I also continue to ride my electric scooter to work
  • Łukasz and Agnieszka invite us to a wine tasting evening with some Polish celebrity dude…
  • …I get to taste kangaroo meet for the first time
  • I travel for training to a very cow loving german town
  • the beer there is good, but we drink Polish vodka with the owner instead
  • grilling season is in full swing
  • we attended Amelia’s first communion and the afterparty by a lake
  • dog-whisperer Andrzej now has four dogs to work with
  • I co-project manage a PMI Wroclaw conference with Tomek
  • the conference was a lot of fun and even my former boss Nicholas gave a talk there
  • the afterparty was fun, too

June

  • we spend a few days by the Polish seaside with our labs
  • they absolutely love the beach
  • my sister and her family arrive in Wroclaw from California and the world goes nuts for a couple of weeks
  • my niece Emma is absolutely fantastic
  • we go hiking in the local mountains…
  • …Emma does the Sound of the Music thing…
  • …and we stop by the annual beer festival in Wroclaw
  • grilling season continues
  • I have a Bud
  • we hike around some more with Fado
  • back to Slovenia with my project team where we see the final product…
  • …take a dip in a local lake with a cool beach…
  • …and stop by good Czech beer on our way back

July

  • the shop downstairs continues to have cool cars to work on
  • I attended Ania’s flat warming party with work peeps
  • PMI Wroclaw hosts a workshop for its volunteers
  • I keep riding the Tramp everywhere
  • we take a weekend trip to the southern border with the Czech Republic and walk a lot of kilometers together with Fado
  • Piotrek attempts his 240km run around the southern mountains…
  • …we show up to cheer him on…
  • …and see him cross the finish line with 30 minutes to spare
  • summer rains make for cool photos
  • summer heat calls for cool beer
  • work Ania leaves the company but leaves us with muffins instead

August

  • I retrofit the Tramp with side cargo boxes and give ’em a test ride in the local forest in preparation for a trip later that month
  • raspberries from our garden
  • we get a new neighborhood dog, Baxie
  • Andrzej the dog-whisperer continues his magic
  • summer is in full swing
  • we bike ride around Wroclaw
  • first long-haul Tramp journey begins
  • we spend 5 days visiting the unknown south-east of Poland near the Ukranian-Slovakian border
  • ride motorcycle/hike/shower/sleep/repeat
  • we visit the Łancut castle and visit the city of Sandomierz, too

September

  • raspberry season means raspberry preserves, syrups, and liqueurs, all homemade of course
  • we spend our vacation in Montenegro this year
  • while in Montenegro, it would be a shame not to visit Dubrovnik which is only 50km away, so we do that of course
  • we also drove around Montenegro and did some sightseeing of this beautiful country
  • seafood and local beer are mandatory
  • grilling at home continues
  • Andrzej the whisperer keeps us company
  • Beer Inbetween Projects begins its monthly installment of good beer/good project management talks
  • we visit Wroclaw’s dog show

October

  • we bid farewell to my grandma Helga who passed away at the age of 82
  • it was the first time ever that I saw the circle of life, meaning death, complete
  • we miss you, grandma, I wouldn’t be able to write this blog in English if it wasn’t for you (she’s the person that we emigrated to from Poland in 1994)
  • fall arrives and with it fall colors
  • we attended the annual pumpkin festival
  • having a chestnut tree in our yard we roast our first batch, ever
  • PMI Wroclaw hosts Psychology in Business conference
  • I have a picture taken with the host, a semi-celebrity level dude in Poland
  • my wife makes Halloween fingers for my work colleagues.

November

  • fall colors are awesome
  • I fly to Warsaw for the annual IPMA project management conference
  • I meet my old buddies from Govecs
  • I try to steal their trophy for almost the best PMO of the year
  • I watch GOVECS have the best PMO presentation of the day, super awesome job Marta!
  • more training with my current coworkers over a financial game
  • my building looks creepy in the fog
  • I walk Andrzej’s dog Szanta every day while he’s on vacation, she’s an awesome German Sheppard
  • I attended the first Wrocław LinkedIn meetup
  • I also attended a PM Breakfast where we discuss SAFe
  • Ania and I make 50 sandwiches for the homeless
  • we attended Wroclaw’s Christmas market and have mulled wine
  • I fly to Germany for an intercompany training
  • flying on the cusp of winter isn’t fun and I’m always afraid that my flight will get canceled

December

  • together with all of Diehl Controls Wroclaw, we help out a family in need so that their Christmas is a little merrier this season
  • work people are awesome for making this happen!
  • we attended my other grandmother’s name day celebration, 85th I think
  • I’m a commuter pro by now and know train schedule by heart
  • one last training for the year with cool Scrum discussion in between teamwork games
  • we attended a sea chants concert…
  • …and follow it up with an old punk-rock concert the next night
  • evening walking around Wroclaw reveals a new I (heart) Wroclaw sign
  • we drive to Dresden for the Christmas market but decide that it’s too crowded for our liking
  • my neighbors have a huge moose in their yard!
  • I drank Christmas beer
  • I also finally hang my goodbye present given to me by the project team at GOVECS
  • I was the PM on the Schwalbe scooter, and that yellow part is the lamp cone that actually lights up on the wall!
  • we host Christmas Eve at our place…
  • …and we spend it together with Ania’s mom, her brother Arek and his family
  • kids love presents
  • my mom has a health scare and spends Christmas in a hospital bed
  • my parents are kind of awesome to have that big of a smile during that crappy of a time
  • we ice skate for the first time this year, and the last I suppose
  • one last stop at Wroclaw Christmas market before they tear it down tomorrow
  • I get out running, in winter, during the Christmas break. This blows my mind. I’m not a runner, but there I was, leaving a warm home for a two-hour run!
  • I finished the year with 732km on the clock. I ran 40km in all of 2017.

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