Happy New Year and Merry Christmas

Here we are again.  The end of the year is here, all presents bought and wrapped, waiting for the midnight, kitchen full of smells and sounds, occasional looks at the clock, phone calls, chats, and messages with friends and family.

So, how was this year?  How does it compare to the previous few?  Looking at my archives for the last year and the year before that, I have to say that this year wasn’t as fast flying through or as hectic as before.

I spent the first quarter of the year mostly working at our ImpreStyle startup and consulting Easy Forex.  That was the time of learning a lot of new things, both technical and business.   Such an arrangement also provided plenty of opportunities to meet new people, especially, in the case of Easy Forex, people of different cultures, the ones that I don’t know much about.

Roughly by May, it so happened that we had to take a break from ImpreStyle.  So I joined Easy Forex as a full time employee, filling the shoes of both a web developer and a team lead.  A new team, a new department, and a very challenging project all occupied my attention for the rest of the year.  Again, learning new things and re-thinking old ways.

The result of all that work is being launched over these days – Easy Forex’s website rebuilt on a WordPress platform.   It wasn’t as easy as it might sound.  The team had a lot of constraints, shooting at a moving target.  The site itself is a monster, with multiple cultures, multiple languages, static and dynamic content, consuming and providing a variety of APIs, deployed over a very complex architecture with Akamai CDN, load balancers, clusters, and so on.  On top of that, the specification of the project required an identical implementation to the previous CMS, which meant that a lot WordPress native concepts had to be worked around.  The end result, even though still a bit messy, is a rather elegant solution based on WordPress with both public and custom plugins, advanced multi-branch git setup, over 20 KB phing build script, and more.  And even if it doesn’t look the part (yet), I am quite proud of what has been achieved by the team.

Looking back at my previous end of the year posts, travelling seems to be an important part of my life, with not too much of it happening in the last few years.  Well, at least this year I had an opportunity to travel to Israel.   The next is also looking bright with a few possibilities marked down in the calendar, but not yet fully confirmed.

But enough about technology and work.  What about friends and family?  Well, it was a rich year in family affairs.  The highlight of the year is my brother’s marriage, with a few relatives flying over from Russia and spending a few days with us here, in Limassol.  That also gave an a chance to spend some time with my dad, who I haven’t seen in six years or so.

In summer, my wife and son flew to Siberia to catch up with some family affairs over there, and, in September, we were entertaining one of my sister-in-law’s family in Cyprus again.  It was nice.

As mentioned before, with my work changes back and forth, I had plenty of opportunities to meet new people.  I am glad to say that a few of my new work acquaintances became personal friends.  Also, sadly, it seemed that I’ve parted ways with a couple of people.  Maybe it will change, maybe it will not.  That’s not entirely in my hands at this stage.

Judging by the sounds and smells from the kitchen, I should be wrapping up.  Overall, I think it was a good year.  It was, as always, different from what I was expecting, but it still brought me more joy, happiness, and new experiences that sadness and sorrow.  Hopefully, the next one will be as good or better.

With that, I wish you all a very Happy New 2013, and a Merry Christmas.  I hope your wishes will continue to come through, that you’ll be full of health, joy, will, and strength to explore life and to find new things.  All the best to you and your loved ones!  Have a good one.

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