2012 began with a new year’s resolution — to learn how to cook — and throughout the year the results of my efforts were regularly foisted upon friends, none of whom appeared to suffer visible ill effects.
One emergent theme for 2012 was visiting — in many cases revisiting after many years — European cities. In February a skiing holiday in Switzerland with friends was twinned with a visit to Zurich (cue the Kunsthaus) and Bern. A work visit to Malmö led to a jaunt across the Öresund to Copenhagen (cue the Glyptotek and the National Gallery). A birthday party took me to London in April, and June saw my annual pilgrimage to New York (cue Personal Democracy Forum) and Washington DC. Late July saw me spend a weekend in Prague on a whim, and in October I touched base with friends in Berlin:
In November I finally made it to Bilbao (to visit the Guggenheim after trying all these years), while a layover in Frankfurt led to a brisk walk through that city. November also saw me visit old friends in London (cue a great photo exhibit at the Barbican) and December, finally, saw a return to Amsterdam (cue the renovated Stedelijk Museeum).
Family was also in the picture, of course: Easter was spent in Antwerp (with a family excursion to the newly opened MAS), and my parents and sister and her family came to Sweden in July, to spend a week on the island of Utö in the Stockholm archipelago, where we rented a house and some bikes and went exploring daily. I visited with my sister and her family South of London in November, and of course the entire family reunited in Antwerp for Christmas.
As for what I actually did… My Chinese slowly got better, via Skype lessons with my teacher Rose in Shanghai. Together with the digital design agency Söderhavet we pitched to build Sweden’s new digital identity, and in June we won the contract. By October this collaboration had resulted in me working there full-time, including on a number of other big Swedish clients.
Midsummer was spent on the island of Sandön, where I inaugurated my new camera:
In July I was invited by Sweden’s national geospatial agency to discuss location-based services at Almedalen, Sweden’s annual political talking shop in Visby, on Gotland. In September I helped the Swedish Institute with their Young Leaders Visitors’ Program, giving a talk on cybersecurity. I continued blogging about Google Earth, although at a much reduced pace, but also did some research for Google in that space. In December, unexpectedly, one of my 360-degree panoramas was enlarged to room size and used in an exhibit about Japan in Florence:
The weirdest thing that happened me this year is that I was apparently bitten by a tick while on Utö. An initial fever died down long enough for the visit to Prague, only to return with a vengeance. It took several visits to the doctor and then seeing double before a lumbar puncture confirmed tick-borne encephalitis. As a result, most of August was spent overtired and feverish on the sofa, channel-hopping between the Olympics and Animal Planet.
And that, as succinctly as I can put it, was 2012. Meanwhile, 2013 is well underway. My new year’s resolution this year: To never use Swedish cash again. It’s proving far too easy.