My Year in Review, 2022.

This was a good year. I said last year that Toronto would define my 2022 and I think it did. But, it was also a year where I spent a lot of time on self improvement and well being. Here’s some highlights:

  • After a couple of months of packing and preparing, I moved myself and my cat Max from Los Angeles to an apartment with my partner in downtown Toronto! And I really, really love living here.
  • I started working with a personal trainer. I had major spine surgery about ten years ago which has made me very inflexible (all of my thoracic vertebrae are fused) and since then I’ve been afraid of injuring myself while working out. A personal trainer has been an amazing way to get back in shape safely, and it’s also nice having some regular habit that gets me moving and doing stuff. In fact, I just spent the last day of 2022 (today) at a “glute camp” at my gym. Feeling spaghettified, in a good way!
  • I’ve gone all-in on learning Cantonese which has been super fun. I started with taking a weekly class at the University of Toronto (which I resume again in the new year) and I’ve recently started working with a 1:1 tutor. My Cantonese-speaking boyfriend has been super supportive. It’s tough to learn especially since I can’t read, but very rewarding so far!
  • My kitchen is really nice so I’ve been cooking quite a bit. I got an amazing deal on a Staub Dutch oven that I’m in love with. I also got a portable induction cooktop because I got frustrated with the electric stovetop in my apartment. I still miss gas, but the induction cooktop has been great.
  • We made a few trips this year. Nothing too significant since I’m new to Toronto and we’re enjoying life here together. My boyfriend came to NYC with me during a work trip, we visited D.C. to see Beach House in concert with a friend, we visited my family in Minnesota over the summer, and we took the train to Montreal and Quebec City for some tourism. We were supposed to see my family again over the Christmas holiday, but we both got COVID so it’s postponed until January. In addition to NYC for work, I also traveled to Seattle.
  • Work has been good. I successfully completed the paperwork on a ladder transfer which was a very long time coming. I’m thankful to everyone who supported me through that. Right afterwards, I got promoted to L6 PM which was also nice (I took a huge pay cut to move to Canada, so the pay bumps are very welcome). I’ve been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work and efforts to get more investments for Kaggle which have paid off, so I’m looking forward to some big changes in 2023.
  • My divorce that I started last year was finalized. It’s a good feeling to close that chapter and I’m thankful that it was a smooth process.
  • I’m making more and more progress towards becoming Canadian! After getting my work permit, I’ve just begun to assemble my documents to apply for permanent residence. One requirement was doing an English proficiency test which was kind of funny as a native English speaker. In a few years I’ll apply for citizenship!

With that, here’s the rest of my year-in-review!

Top film

Triangle of Sadness (2022)

Triangle of Sadness is like Zoolander, but made in a year that spilled a lot of digital ink hating on the uber wealthy class (e.g., Succession, White Lotus, Glass Onion, etc.). And I LOVE Zoolander AND all of these other TV shows and movies. It felt to me like Triangle of Sadness hasn’t gotten a lot of attention after winning the Palm d’Or this past summer, but I highly recommend it. It’s funny, unexpected, stunning, and the sound design is its own character entirely. It’s definitely a film that watches better with an audience in a theater with great sound, though.

Some of my other highly rated movies from the past year:

I’m glad that I was able to see all of these movies in a theater. I live about a 5 minute walk from a decent theater complex. It’s not quite the same as living in LA, but I’m satisfied! Mostly I miss Alamo Drafthouse. Toronto location when?

I also spent a lot of December watching movies with my partner since we both got COVID and were stuck at home for a while. He’s more of a TV show person, so there’s a lot of movies he hasn’t seen, but I personally think he still has great taste. A couple of movies I was excited to introduce him to (and delighted that he loved) were Mulholland Drive (2001) and Parasite (2019).

My 2022 stats are on Letterboxd where you can see everything I watched and rated this year.

Top record

Closure/Continuation - Porcupine Tree (2022)

My favorite artist of all time is Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree, but his band had been broken up since 2011. It was a huge surprise when Porcupine Tree announced a new studio album and tour. Last year their single from the new album was my song of the year, but now they’ve released the full album and completed their North American tour. I saw them with my partner in Toronto and it was one of my most memorable live music experiences ever. I’ve waited so long to see Porcupine Tree live and never thought I would!

The whole album is great. So classically Porcupine Tree, yet still something new. Here’s one of my favorite songs from the new album:

Some other highlights this year were Carly Rae Jepsen’s The Loneliest Time (2022) and Taylor Swift’s Midnights (2022). It’s not really music I listen to, but my boyfriend does. And we put on their albums when we took a small roadtrip to Niagara-on-the-Lake and at home when we cook together.

Top TV show

Succession (2018 - )

I binge-watched Succession the first few months of the year. It got me through many days and weeks of packing and paperwork as I prepared for my move to Canada. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming new season, but this time I’ll have to watch while my partner is doing something else becaues he’s not a fan. ;)

We did watch a fair bit of TV in 2022. Here are some other things I enjoyed at least somewhat:

  • The Rehearsal
  • White Lotus
  • Sex Lives of College Girls
  • The Bear
  • The Morning Show
  • Severance

I honestly wish I could rank The Rehearsal as my top show. I think Nathan Fielder is a genius, but his new show just doesn’t have the same kind of staying power with me that Nathan for You and Finding Frances have.

We also just started to watch Twin Peaks. It’s a rewatch for me (so I can finally check out the third season!), but it’s my partner’s first viewing, so I’m excited for that in 2023.


Genshin Impact

I don’t remember why I started playing Genshin Impact, but since starting I’ve discovered it’s the perfect game for me. It’s free, it initially feels a lot like Breath of the Wild (a very good thing), and I don’t really have an addictive personality so I can play very casually without buying into the gacha mechanics. I’ve even streamed it a couple of times on my Twitch.

Genshin Impact according to Stable Diffusion

I’ve also continued to play my favorites from last year: chess and Woogles (Scrabble). I even created another Woogles (Scrabble) competition on Kaggle to predict player ratings from gameplay data. The Wordle craze this year got me back into doing the NYT Crossword occasionally as well as Spelling Bee.


Cantonese Sunday

Obviously I’ve been learning Cantonese, so I was looking for some Cantonese podcasts to listen to to kind of immerse myself in the language a bit. Most of the language learning ones I’ve found are shorter than what I was looking for. I stumbled upon this Cantonese radio show called Cantonese Sunday. I have no idea what they talk about, really, but I started listening to it. Sometimes I’ll listen to an episode multiple times just to try to pick up more words that I know. Listening comprehension is really hard! I’ll probably try to find more Cantonese podcasts for the new year.

Otherwise I’ve kept listening to my usual slate of podcasts, but I also listen to them at night and lately I’ve been sleeping extremely well. I fall asleep within a few minutes every night. So I’ve absorbed less from the podcasts that I am listening to. Oh well! I’m happy to be sleeping so well these days.

I have to end this blog post by giving an “honorable mention” to my own “micro” podcast that I started as a way to practice Cantonese. I wrote a blog post about it. You can follow it on Instagram or Twitter.

祝您新年快乐, 身体健康! Happy New Year!


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