Today I’m turning 24, so it’s quite nice to summarize that’s been happening lately.
How I dropped out of my Master’s degree
First half of the year was pretty much the same as usual - I was working, doing my Master’s thesis and making Tomb Painter (read its first dev log here. But then something happened - I completely burned out and couldn’t do my Master’s thesis anymore. It just didn’t go very well, no matter how hard I’ve tried. I just didn’t have faith in what I was doing. It was hard to get any meaningful results and I just got extremely tired and depressed about all this. So I’ve quit my MS.
Here’s a good thing though - I can easily go back if I want for the next 4 years, and I can finish my MS only by writing a Master’s thesis. We’ll see if I really need MS, but so far I do well without it. And maybe I’ll just finish MS in some other place and field, who knows? Data science and machine learning are kinda fun, but they’re not really my thing.
Looking for a place to live
After I’ve quit, it was time to find a place to live. Previously, I’ve been living in dorm for 6 years and it was pretty painful - I had terrible sleep because of noisy neighbours. I also like cleanliness and comfy places - but with a dorm it was impossible to achieve this. Well, at least my room was clean, but shared kitchen was always a mess even if I cleaned it often. So, finding a nice place to live was a huge quality of life improvement for me.
Moscow has crazy prices for rent. You can find nice place with 1 or 2 rooms for $500 a month, but it’ll take you a long time to get to work or city’s center. And the closer to the center you go, the crazier prices get. And the funny thing is that flats themselves don’t get much neater - you always see postings for an ugly 1 room flat near the center for more than $1000 a month!
It was critical for me that the place should be comfy and not have any ugly furniture or design that makes you want to cry. This was quite a challenge, because most of the flats I’ve seen were not pretty. But finally, I’ve found the place. Here’s how it looked:
I only have a photo of the kitchen, but the room was very nice too
And turns out Sokol district, near which I lived, is one of the most beautiful places in Moscow:
So, life certainly turned for the better. My job was really rewarding - while I was porting a huge portion of Align’s code to Linux, I’ve learned quite a lot about Linux and how MSVC didn’t really care about C++ standard (it really got better in the recent years). Becoming more comfortable with Linux really made me happy and more knowledgeable about a lot of things. I’ve also started using Vim (which I’m using right now to write this post) and I can’t believe how good it is for development and writing.
Summer was pretty neat - I went to Georgia with my friends. First, we explored Tbilisi (the capital of Georgia). It’s beautiful:
We’ve travelled by foot for a long time and I didn’t know I had so much endurance, pretty awesome! The hardest day was going for around 9 hours uphill in +30C with a huge backpack. We’ve started at around ~1.5km above the sea level and when we finished walking, we were at 3.2km. We went up for a bit the next day and the view was gorgeous:
I also went to Afisha Picnic festival and it was quite awesome: Belle and Sebastian, King Gizzard & Lizzard Wizard and Arcade Fire! It was incredible, what a great line-up!
Arcade Fire at Afisha Picnic 2018
Autumn and sad times
As the summer ended, a huge threat for my happy life was near - conscription, a.k.a. 1 year in army against your will. Yeah, that’s still a thing in Belarus and Russia. I have a medical condition that eventually saved me from going there, but I wasn’t certain if I could really avoid the army, because it’s known for ignoring people’s health problems and trying to bring them in no matter what. And if I went, not only would I have completely wasted a year of my life, it could be really dangerous for my health.
It took me quite a long time to finish dealing with all that army stuff. I went to Belarus and back to Moscow around 5 times in two months. It was really stressful, I’ve spent a lot of money on train tickets, I wasn’t certain about my future and was in some kind of hibentation mode. It’s hard to start or do something when you have such a huge threatening thing so close. Amidst of all of this, my relationship of 4.5 years ended…
Well, at least I’ve managed to not go to the army, but the next few months weren’t very happy. I’m really glad that I didn’t let my mood and depressed state greatly decrease my productivity and motivation.
One thing that impacted my productivity negatively was a commute to my work. It took 1 hour in one direction! So, I was spending 2 hours every day just commuting. Of course, it wasn’t all wasted - I was reading, but I think I was getting around 1 hour of reading each day during the commute, the rest was spent walking. I worked for 8 hours a day with a 45 minute lunch break. So, each day I was spending around 11 hours for my job. It only gave me around 4-5 free hours each day, but I was so tired that I couldn’t do a lot.
New job and things got better
I’m changing my job starting next week. I’ll be working in IPONWEB, a company that does ads in web. I’ll join a team which does their fork of LuaJIT! I’ll be writing in C and assembly and working on compilers! That’s quite a change from what I’ve previously done and I’m very excited about it! I’ve always wanted to work on low level/compiler stuff and now my dream finally came true. What’s also cool is that it’s a Lua compiler, so all my Lua knowledge will also come in handy here.
I’ve also started to rent a new flat in December. It’s quite close to the center of Moscow, I can go to Gorky Park (most beautiful park in Moscow) in 20 minutes and here’s the greatest thing… To get to my new job, I need to take 7-10 minute walk. In Moscow, it’s rare to live that close to your job. I didn’t imagine it was possible at all, but here I am. I think this will definitely make me much more productive - I’ll get more free time and won’t be tired from the commute! So I expect to do some awesome things this year, stay tuned!
My working space. Quite happy at how it looks
The view from a new place is gorgeous. That’s Shukhov Tower you’re seeing - it’s a broadcasting tower built in 1920-1922.
I’m also not single anymore. I’ve met a wonderful girl with whom I’m having a great relationship, which makes me happy and hopeful for the future.
A lot in my life has changed. I’m really glad about how all of this turned out, though. There’s a very exciting year ahead, so let’s see how it goes! Thanks for reading.
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