2018 Recap - Part 2

As promised, I'm back with Part 2 of my 2018 recap, looking back at everything that happened between July and December last year. It still feels weird referring to 2018 as "last year" but that's just how it is, isn't it? It always feels like time flies but looking back, it's mindblowing how many things happened in the span of just twelve months (or even six, going by the length of these blog posts :D).



I'd completely forgotten about this until now but as you can see, on Sunday the 1st of July, I was sitting on my couch (yes, that very same couch) minding my own business when Shane decided it would be amusing to wrap a blanket around my whole head. Got to love his idea of what constitutes as funny.

Last time in London

On July 2, that massive pimple on my cheek and I flew down to London for what appears to be the last time in 2018 to attend a Team Leader orientation at the Head Office. I arrived at my comfort-home in London - Madam Madan's old flat in Camden - by the time she got home from work. We then packed up what was left of her belongings as she was moving to Milan that week. It was truly the end of an era.

Notice how tired we look (giant zit included) in that photo? And yet there was enough time and energy to have gin & tonic.

Last proper full day in London

It was the sunniest, most colourful summer day in London and my heart still skips a beat when I remember it.

This was the venue where I hung out with the Team Leaders from the Manchester Google digital garage, Misha (my co-TL) and folks from the Head Office that day:

And at the end of the day, I accompanied Madam Madan as she walked her neighbour's puppy, Milo.

I'd always heard about Milo and was very glad to have been able to meet him before she left London. We then proceeded to a local bar to watch the football worldcup match that day (England vs Columbia). I can't remember what the outcome was because...I couldn't care less.

At least someone was interested:

The next day, before making my way back home, I met up with my cousin after a long time and later, Shane and I had dinner with friends of my parents who'd last seen me when I was a baby.

Shane's closed eyes in that last picture (the only one we both got with them), and the fact that he stands a whole foot taller than all the other humans in that frame is my absolute favourite thing.

Pre-launch of the Edinburgh Digital Garage

On 13 July (two days before the launch of our garage), my colleagues and I walked over to our nearly finished store and got to see what the interior looked like. It was also the day we got our official Google t-shirts.

Launch of the Google Digital Garage, Edinburgh

I paired my Google t-shirt with a plaid skirt that day because Team Scotland!

There were these ads up on every single bus shelter lining Princes Street in Edinburgh - basically my entire walk to work.

If you want to see what a day in the life of a Google Digital Garage employee looks like, check out my collection of story highlights titlede 'Google DG' on Instagram.

Louise's birthday

This is Louise, one of my favourite people I met through the Google project.

On her birthday, some of us got to hang out with her cutesy puppy Harley and part take in the festivities that followed :)

Visit from the Secretary of State for Scotland

On July 23, when David Mundell, the Secretary of State for Scotland visited our garage, I happened to be TL for the day and had the opportunity to show him around.


Soaking wet

It tends to rain quite a bit here in Edinburgh during the month of August, and on one such rainy day, Shane and I got caught in the thick if it while walking home from work. I'd never invested in an umbrella until that day.

Festival Glitter

In the spirit of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, we hosted free glitter face painting at our garage. We've never had so many toddlers walk into the garage in a single day, and as a result, so many parents signing up for Intro to Coding courses with us :P #marketing

Just Cause

We're not celebrating anything in particular here. It was just a normal day and we were happy. That's all.

South of France

Madam Madan, Shane, and I traveled around the South of France this summer with Nice as our base, making day trips to Cannes, Monaco, Èze, and Villefranche-sur-Mer.

You can find more photos on Instagram and check out the story highlight collection titled 'France' to see everything we did day-to-day during our week-long holiday :)


First time coaching on a bus

Until December, the Google Digital Garage also operated out of a bus (yes, a literal old-timey bus) that traveled to various locations in and around Glasgow to teach people digital skills for free. I got to work from the bus just once, and that was on Wednesday the 26th of Septemper.

I delivered Social Media Strategy to a group of enthusiastic social media managers from STV. Ended up learning a lot from them in the process too :)


Chop Chop

On 4 October, I went from this

To this

Short, dark, and blunt in preparation for winter ;)

Birthday surprise

This happened the very next day. It still makes me so happy to look back on this day :)

The Return of Kasha

Kasha's parents (our new neighbours) went away on holiday for two weeks and guess who got to keep her for the first week. We would have loved to host her for the entire duration of their trip, had we not planned to go away ourselves. Because on Friday the 12th of October, Shane and I flew out to Milan to be reunited with our favourite Madam Madan during my birthday weekend.

Birthday in Northern Italy

I mean, did you see that birthday cake? I think this may have been my best birthday so far :)

We explored Milan where I got this birthday dress from:

And we also explored Venice, Como, and Crema. We went to Crema on my actual birthday because back in March when the three of us were in Wales together, we'd watched 'Call Me By Your Name' and fantasized about visiting this quaint little commune in Northern Italy. How some things work out, eh?

Team Workout

Alex (far left) is my HIIT trainer and one of my favourite people in Edinburgh. On Wednesday the 24th of October, I got her to come into the garage to run a session for the Digital Garage team after hours. Don't be deceived by our smiles in this post-workout groupfie, we were all dying a little bit inside.

Asian Media Awards

Earlier in the year, Meenal and I had been nominated for the Asian Media Awards in the 'Best Blog' category because they are yet to create a podcast category for the awards. On Thursday the 25th of October, we flew down to Manchester to attend the ceremony. We didn't win, but we were in a room full of people from the Brit-Asian community who inspire us endlessly and for that, I am grateful :)

Halloween at work

Nothing like a bunch of digital marketers in Google t-shirts and strange wigs, taking sessions on Adwords and website building.

First big training in London

As it turns out, what I mentioned above as my last time in London was in fact, not my last time in London last year. That said, I think it hardly counts because I was in the city for just about five hours. I went down in the morning, delivered the training, and then returned to Edinburgh the very same day.

This however, was my first time delivering Google training to a group a this big comprising of a majority of very young apprentices. This was also my first time delivering training at the Google HQ. It's an experience I will never forget!


A week without Shane

This photo was taken right before Shane went off to the airport and I went off to work on the day he was traveling to Seattle for work. This was the first time in our marriage that I've stayed home without him for an entire week. A month or so before this, he'd traveled to Poland for a few days but that doesn't compare to a week-long absence. Him being away in the second week of November was truly a learning opportunity for me. I indulged in self-care (including but not limited to watching a movie in my bath with a nice glass of wine in hand) and honestly learned to enjoy having my whole house to myself. I even cooked myself an extravagant meal and you guys know that I never cook on my own!

The Bromance moved into the neighbourhood

That's right, he's now our neighbour and practically lives at our place. And let me also add that he's not at all subtle about his joy at getting Shane all to himself during some of the weekends when I have to work.

A new tradition

In November, what with Shane and I traveling for work quite a bit and life being generally crazy, we came up with a new weekly tradition of going on date nights where we leave our phones to the side and just talk for a few hours. We try to go out every Thursday and we each pick secret venues every alternating week. So far, I've taken Shane to a pub close to our old apartment that we always walked past, always said we'd go to, but never did (until recently). And he once took me to a restaurant I've tried and failed to get a reservation at multiple times. It's good. Life's good.


Work Christmas Party

I think the caption on that album says it all ;)

What I didn't enjoy though was being back at work the next day after twelve hours of drinking and partying. Not fun at all.

Special thanks to Louise again for having me at her place earlier that afternoon to do my hair!

My first Christmas tree

And no, this wasn't a Christmas tree I got for my home, it was the first proper Christmas tree I got to experience in my life thanks to one being sent to work on 6 December. Quite pleased to say I even got to place that star on top.

Weekend getaway with my lovelies

Every time someone says hygge now, I think of that cozy living room with the fireplace at our Airbnb from this weekend in York. I love these girls and can't wait to catch up with them again in the new year :)

Edinburgh Christmas Market

Barring December 2017 when we had to rush to India, Shane and I have been to the Edinburgh Christmas market every single year we've been living here together. The best part of it is listing in advance all the things we're looking forward to eat and drink at the market. It's a tradition I hope we get to keep alive for many years to come.

Christmas & New Year's getaway to Europe

This year, we spent Christmas in Budapest. We even had cake for breakfast on Christmas day by visiting the 200-year-old family owned Ruszwurm Confectionery.

On boxing day, we arrived in beautiful Vienna where every corner we turned blew our minds. Also, no place does cafes like Vienna. I already miss all the food and culture there!

Finally, to chime in the new year, we headed to Prague where we walked so much that Shane's ankles got swollen :D

Just everything about this past year gives me hope. Hope that things do in fact get better and more hope because there are good people in this world. It also taught me the life-changing lesson that barring certain natural heartaches that are out of our control, we're quite capable of surrounding ourselves with people, places and things that bring us true happiness. Going back to the quote I put up at the beginning of Part 1 of the 2018 Recap,

β€œHappiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

I hope you all had a lovely 2018 too and wish with all my heart that this new year is even better for you. You'll be hearing from me a lot more this year so until next time, take care and have a great day!