As 2023 is over, let's see what were the 12 major events and lessons of my year:

Name Change

A year has gone by since I've got my new name identity papers. The most interesting thing about the process was that they had to reissue my birth certificate also. It felt very empowering to know I've got a birth certificate with the name I wanted. It's said people shape their personality, their self, and this was a very physical proof of how I am becoming who I want to be and how I am writing my own story. My parents and godparents were also very respectful about my wish and I appreciate them for this.

First time in Greece and Lake Como

We couldn't have picked a more beautiful island for our first trip to Greece. The views of Chania, its harbor, The Botanical Gardens of Crete, Samaria Gorge as well as the crystal waters of Agia Roumeli and Loutro made our Greece stay something a tale I'll never tire of telling. In 2023 I also got to visit Lake Como, Bellagio and Varenna with it's incredible Villa Monastero Gardens. Italy truly is heaven on Earth.

Learning Italian

Which takes us to me learning a lot of Italian this year. I am very proud of my 500 days streak (I only had about 10 days when I didn't study cause we were away on trips). I realised how much Italian I learned in the past year when I heard a song on the radio and I was able to easily understand all the words. I was bawling my eyes out listening to L'Appuntamento as I was figuring out the sad story that the song recounts. An Italian Institute's test placed me at an A2 proficiency, so still at a basic user level, ma mamma mia, io ho imparato tanto italiano! Forse un giorno vivro d'estero anche se solo per un mese. 

Playing the piano

Another mountain I managed to climb this year was learning to play the piano. I was always mesmerised by piano songs and spent a couple of nights on the streets of Bucharest eavesdropping on houses were people were playing their piano. So I purchased one and got my self a very patient teacher and here I am, dedicating songs to my family and friends on their birthday. Now I have moved on to learning more about art, and maybe one day I'll tell you more about that.

Clean food

This year I finally got free of the pain I've dealt with for the past 20 years of my life. Apparently I have a very sensible microbiome which makes it nearly impossible for me to eat sugar/flour or drink alcohol without needing an antibiotic treatment to get rid of the infections they bring to my system. So after figuring this out and eating clean for months I became for the first time in so many years, pain free. Probiotics seemed to help for a while and I relapsed for a while thinking myself safe, but after a not so jolly infection on Christmas I am back on my regimen.

Got hacked

September was a dark month as I found myself without my Facebook account in just a couple of minutes after receiving an email that someone changed my Fb's email address. My 2FA was useless as it was most likely a case of cookie hijacking through a marketing extension I had installed on my Chrome from their web store. But before figuring this out, not knowing HOW they did it and how to stop them from doing more harm, kept me up for so many days. So now I am doing my best to spread awareness. 

Invested in cybersecurity

Before the hack I thought I had one of the most secure device and account, with an up to date OS, antivirus running for years on my laptop and mobile devices, a 12+ characters password and 2FA activated. So it hit me really hard to learn how much I didn't actually know about cybersecurity. And I learned so much going to trainings and hackatons that I was thinking about changing jobs for a moment. In the end I decided to invest in two international cybersecurity companies where I see immense growth potential, my first actions in individual companies, and I'll leave it to that. Cyberattacks as well as cybersecurity are on a rise and I've decided to see this event as something that opened my eyes to this opportunity. If this isn't making lemonade out of lemons, I don't know what is.


Family genealogy

This year I hired a researcher to track down my family's roots. He studied the archives (written in cyrillic, the main reason why I needed help) and sent back a very detailed report on everything that could be found on my ancestors dating back to the 18th century. Now that you've learned about my piano interest you might not be that surprised to find out my mother's family side is full of musicians. Here's my grandfather below on a national TV channel singing his grandmother's song.  While on my father's side we have an old line of priests. This might also explain some wierd interest I have in churches and cemeteries. 

Apartment Renovation

I finished off the year with an infection, a cold and no appetite, but it was actually a very productive time, as being on vacation and unable to visit our relatives, meant lots of free time for me and my husband to start renovating his place. We painted the tiles, the walls and the furniture and I'm delighted how much a coat of paint (alright, maybe three :)) ) can change an apartment. And talking about improvements, this year I've also started doing some cosmetic procedures and following another skin care routine and I am so happy with the results! I love feeling my skin so nice and smooth.

Some relationships cool down

I was a bit sad this year to see two of my new friendship relationships fade. Maybe they weren't even so strong to begin with, and I misinterpreted politeness, I don't know. I kept hoping and trying to revive them but in the end it takes two. So one of my lessons this year was to let go of friends if they don't feel as close to you as you do to them. Learn to sometimes give less of yourself to others, and try to just reciprocate what they can give in a relationship.

Some relationships get better

Another huge lesson I learned this year is that trust can be regained. Under the right circumstances and with enough time and effort, things can get better and better, no matter what you've gone through. So far I am very pleased with my courageous decision and the persistence with which I held on through a difficult situation. I hope the future will keep showing me I was right to do so.

AI rules

Finally, 2023 was the year of AI as ChatGPT and Bard are getting almost 10% of Google's hits, and I must say probably about a thousand of them came only from me :)) My wish for 2024 is to keep a very good SEO game as AI will start changing Google's results and influence buyer's decision more and more.

And that is it folks! Hope your year was great and that this new one will be even better!