My first car
I have always dreamed of owning a car. I like cars. I like driving. I can tell a car’s model by just looking at some parts of it.
Purchasing a car is a big decision unless you are a millionaire. For me I had been planning a lot and very long before I came to the final decision: how much mileage will I drive per month; what makes it better than hiring a taxi. I had to calculate the petrol cost, the maintenance cost, the insurance cost and the resell value of each car in my options. Environmental impacts were also considered.
In the end it was the Toyota Corolla Hybrid that made the cut. I prefer hybrids over pure ICE’s because of lower first-hand carbon emissions. I like how I could drive into the garage without blowing toxic gas into my house. It is quiet, too.
EV’s were also in my consideration but there were not so many options here where I live. They were either newer Chinese brands or luxury European brands. As a first car, I would rather buy something very reliable that I can build my experience upon.
The Corolla is undoubtedly renowned for being one of the most—if not the most—reliable cars. My family has relied on Toyotas for a long time and I experience that first-hand.
This topic will be long and I would rather keep this for its own separate blog post. It has been 12 months. Overall I have been very happy with my Corolla and have had multiple road trips with it.
Career and self development
This year I did not see a significant progression in my career. The first half of the year was quite quiet but I was able to make some remarkable achievements in the latter half. I would say my technical skills did not improve starkly this year compared to the previous year.
I wanted (and want) to do some side projects but the ideas did not provide enough value for me to code them by myself instead of using what was currently on offer. Still, I want to get back into frontend web development.
Ich studiere noch Deutsch. (I am still learning German.) After my trip to Japan I also learnt how to read Hiragana and Katakana. Big kudos to Tofuku for the easy and effective lessons!
Earlier this year I tried a new-to-me kind of tea, tieguanyin, at Peace tea house. Since then I was in search for other tea houses offering that same kind of tea. Then I found teanity. At first they had only offered delivery but the place finally opened in November. I went to the tea house and that experience has opened me a new door to Chinese and Taiwanese tea.
Of course I am still enjoying matcha but Chinese tea now has a place in my shelf. Now I brew tieguanyin at home in addition to matcha.
If tea was a person it would be my person of the year. Tea brought me new people. Tea was like a quest that always had me in search for it wherever I went. Tea sparked the curiosity in me to find and follow its story. Tea tasting has become my new hobby. Exploring new tea houses and enjoying a sip of quality tea will easily make my day.
This year I have found my travel style: slow and immersive. I knew that I traveled to feel relaxed and to let myself rest. This meant I just wanted to enjoy the moment: spend time there like a local. To be immersed, I would say. I did not need to visit a lot of tourist attractions. A walk along a street with buildings casted in golden sunlight would do me good.
Japan was the only country I visited this year. As a matcha lover I wanted to go to Uji and shop for matcha at local tea houses. And I did that. Happy me. I have written blog posts on the trip, but have yet to cover the whole trip.
Apart from that, I had several road trips with my friends and family. The notable ones were the Nan trip, the Petchaboon trip and the Chiang Mai trip, with Nan being my first ever long-drive trip as a driver. Although these destinations were far away from Bangkok, I enjoyed them because I liked driving.
One more special thing about the Nan trip was that it was the first time I had traveled with a new group of friends. It was a really unexpected group, as many of our friends had said.
I was very skeptical about buying a game console because I knew I would not have a lot of time to play games. At last I decided to buy a PS 5 because I had wanted to play Gran Turismo 7. This is my first ever game console purchase, and the second one I have ever owned. The previous one was a GBA from when I was around 13, maybe.
I am happy with the purchase so far and have been enjoying Gran Turismo as a means of entertainment and driving skill improvement.
I am proud to have accomplished one of my biggest dreams: owning a car. I am proud to have been able to fulfill my hobbies and travel. I would say this year I succeeded in putting experience over materialism.
This year I spent time and lived for myself. I enjoyed taking random photos without worrying what others would think about them, and without trying to get attention, because I rarely shared any at all. I took the photos for myself, my enjoyment. Nobody needs to know your life.
It is important to prioritise your mental health. Not everything is under your control. It is OK to leave something behind—even if it used to make you happy—because things change. You deserve a good and healthy relationship. Honour yourself.
To those we had memories together: thanks for being part of my 2023.