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Now - April 2022

·4 mins· from Amsterdam Schipol

This is my now page - it's what I'd tell my friends if they asked me, "What are you up to right now?"
If you have your own site, you should have one too!

I’m sitting in the Amsterdam airport after a fantastic trip to Les Menuires in the Alps and a short stopover in Lyon. I had a rough go in the first quarter of this year with depression and burnout, after grinding through yet another pandemic winter. I’d lost joy in things I previously enjoyed - things like streaming, seeing friends, working on hobby code projects - and found myself deep in a lonely and empty spiral of doomscrolling.

Recharging with actual time away and actively disconnecting has been awesome - and what an incredible ski week it has been. I arrived in France to a snowstorm, and while I was frustrated by the airport delays (a centimeter of snow should not wreak the havoc that it did!) it translated to a solid 15cm of fresh powder that we could ride all week. Made some new friends with Mimio’s friend group and we had a blast tearing up and down the mountain. I also set some new personal bests in top speed (breaking 85 km/h on a downhill 💨) and really squeezed every ounce of energy out of my legs. Honestly really loved the Alps and the huge and varied runs, and think I’ll try to make a point to do it again (next year?)

I also made some time before and after the four days in the Alps to explore and eat my way through Lyon, which is known as the gastronomic capital of France. Some highlights:

  • Atelier des Augustins serves a chef’s surprise menu and was absolutely incredible fine-dining - a must-visit, as far as I’m concerned, and very affordable at 37 euros per person. Making a point to go back next time I’m in Lyon.
  • Zeste Gourmand is also fine dining (Michelin starred!) and serves an excellent set menu with very intense flavours. Much more reasonable at 50 euros pp than many of the more famous Michelin star places (often 200+ euros pp without wines!).
  • Vieille Canaille and Chez M’man are “Bouchons Lyonnais” and serve traditional Lyonnaise cuisine - (features a lot of organ meats!) - very much enjoyed both places while avoiding said organ meats though.
  • Comptoir du Boeuf and Iode specialize in beef and seafood, respectively - while I recommend the Comptoir du Boeuf, I’m a little more hesitant about Iode (but apparently I chose poorly in not getting mussels there)
  • Ate a whole bunch of croissants every morning. Very spoiled for choice, there are bakeries everywhere you turn and they’re all great! Also enjoyed a few apple turnovers and chocolate croissants.

Overall a great trip, and getting to work out some of my rather rusty French language was fun! I think my pronunciation and accent was quite good, but my working vocabulary has more holes than Swiss cheese. Once I got some of the common phrases down, things went a lot smoother (pro-tip: you want to ask for a “carafe d’eau” and not just “d’eau” in order to receive tap water every time - otherwise you’ll pay for bottled!)

In other news, I’ve shifted gears from focusing on fasting and pure weight loss in favour of a focus on lifting and improving fitness. Prior to my trip, I’d completed eight consecutive weeks with at least three workouts per week - building up towards a four day lifting routine. I’ve adapted my previous pure calorie deficit via fasting approach to a more level eating approach, and focusing on getting sufficient protein on my maintenance/slight-deficit calorie budget. I can’t tell if the fasting was adding to the overall burnout, but I’m sure that lifting has boosted my mood significantly and eating to support it is a fine priority for now.

I’m looking forward to joining some sort of team sport this year - frisbee, soccer, or rugby? - and also looking forward to RStudio Conf, where I’ll be TA-ing a workshop and possibly even giving a talk? Either way, I’ll be incredibly glad to meet some of the wonderful friends I’ve made in the R community since I joined in 2020.