November 28, 2019

The decade 2010-2019

The 2010s are almost over. I started the decade strongly with frequent posts on the blog. I am ending the decade by trying to get back to blogging. The decade saw very few posts. I didn't post anything between 2015-2018. So yeah, there has been a hiatus in the blog. So I decided to expand the decade meme to include a brief highlight of each year in the decade. It was busy few years with a lot of moves and changes. Let's get started.

2010: I affectionately call 2010 as my thesis year as most of the year was dedicated to writing, editing, submitting, and defending my PhD thesis. So I commemorate the year with the picture from my PhD defence day. My advisor, Gary Mavko,  also features in the picture for obvious reason.
I also started a job in 2010. This entailed the first move of the decade from Mountain View, California to Houston, Texas.

2011: 2011 is my Canadian year. I spent about 5 months in Canada to get my H1B stamped. I feel slightly guilty complaining though. Canada is beautiful during the summer months. I did take full advantage of my stay. The picture I picked to commemorate is from Lake Morraine in Banff.

Although I don't count my days in Canada as a move, I did feel nomadic as I stayed in hotels, moved from Ottawa to Calgary with little luggage to sustain me. The year ended with me moving to London in late November. 

2012: The Olympic year. So I crossed off 'attend Olympic' from my bucket list in 2012. Being in London during 2012 meant I attended several Olympic events. The picture shows me supporting the US and the UK during the Olympics.

In yet another move, I moved from East London to West London to be closer to work. 

2013: Another item crossed off from my bucket list: I finally managed to visit Taj Mahal. The picture proves that I have indeed been there and done that. 
I again moved houses. This time I moved from South-West London to North-West London.

2014: Yet another move. This time I stayed in the same area but moved flats. I felt at home for the first time ever since I left Mountain View in 2010. I stayed in this flat for 2 years.

I also earned my British driving licence and bought a car. Life became so much easier. As a result, I started volunteering with professional society, Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). 

Career-wise, 2014 is what I call a dead year. I worked on projects that an intern should have been given, and not someone with about seven years of experience. Definitely not to someone with a PhD degree in Rock Physics. Even when I specifically asked to work on the projects that are more closely related to my expertise. Luckily for me, I could still salvage the products and got something useful out of the projects. Not that that made a difference. Thankfully, I had SPE to distract me. 

Oil prices took a dive in mid-2014 which had long term impact on my career. 

2015: I was able to turn around things at the job using my dead-end projects. Again, it didn't help me in the long run but I did earn respect from colleagues. To be honest, that is what is important in the long run, isn't it?

Anyway. A big event of the year was a family wedding. I travelled to India for the wedding. The picture for the year commemorates the wedding.

2016: The redundancy year. As the oil prices continue to be low, I was made redundant from work. It was quite a stressful time. However, I took this opportunity to transition my career from science to trading. I became an analyst on the trading floor. It was a sharp transition with a very steep learning curve but it was a fun, fast-paced working environment that I enjoyed very much.

Since we are counting the number of moves I made in the decade, I moved back from West London to East London to be closer to work.

I also received recognition for my volunteer work with SPE. The picture is from the award ceremony.

2017: The MBA year. The major part of the year was consumed by preparation, application, and admission to the Executive MBA programme at London Business School. despite my busy schedule with my job on the trading floor and my volunteer work with SPE and SCGB, I managed to arrange and connect with most of my classmates even before the classes started. Looking back, I really don't know how I managed that but somehow I did. I even found time to roughly write the draft theory for two papers - one related to energy economics, another in social equality, in the middle of all this. 

In addition to all this, I also managed to buy a flat. My first fixed asset. I moved into my new home in the middle of the year. 

I am sharing two pics for the year. First one is my Executive MBA profile picture. Second is the welcome pack from my mortgage bank. 

2018: The tornado year. Honestly. I can't find a word strong enough to describe the year. It was an upside-down kind of year. A whirlwind. So much so, that parts of it are a blur to me. I can't place the events in their chronological order.

In the normal order of the things, receiving my British citizenship would have been the biggest event of the year. It is still a big event of the year, just not the biggest. In fact, I remember counting down towards the date of the ceremony because it would have meant the end of daily torture.

I resigned from my job. I quit the Executive MBA. I "moved" to India. Well, if you call staying at one place more than a year, then I definitely moved. If not having my stuff counts, then I am just spending time in India. Choose one.

There are so many good things that I want to associate with the year, apart from citizenship. I am picking two messages that I received (hopefully) that I want to keep. 

First came from Google Doodle on the 90th birthday of Dr Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

The second one was a message from Amazon:

2019: The recovery year. Well, that's what it was. The year I did nothing. Unless you count gaining weight as doing something. My medical test reports have been all over the place. As we move towards the end of the year, tests are getting back to normal range. So hopefully I will start the new decade with good health.

I also attended yet another family wedding.

That's my decade done. How was your decade?

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