A dev newsletter

Almost there

(Illustration from absurd.design)

After one year of covid19 lockdowns here in Ireland, we finally see the end of it. Vaccination is still slow, but the new daily cases are stable, and we have a schedule for when the whole population will be vaccinated. As life starts to go back to normal, with restaurants reopening, people drinking in the parks1, it’s time to ask ourselves: “do we want to go back as it was before”?

Current, at my job, on our retros, we normally make a list of keeps and changes. I will try to do the same for different areas of life now that this “Lockdown Sprint” is ending:

Work

One year working from home show me a different way to think about offices. The open-plan office is not a great environment, people talking around you, interrupting your concentration and randomly peeking at what you are doing. And if you think open-plan offices increase face-to-face interactions, well, you should read this.

I enjoyed working from home: I had the possibility of walking during the day; If I need to sync with another team in a different timezone, I could just do something else during the afternoon and go back to the computer in the evening. Not having to commute is excellent as well; Dublin is not famous for its public transport situation, and bikes are not safe with the current state of roads and drivers (I know way too many people that got hurt commuting).

So yeah, I don’t want to go back to the office. Not as a “everyday” thing at the very least, maybe once a week? A month? I have the feeling other members of my team have similar feelings. Most people I talked to about this were thinking of a hybrid work-from-home and office week when we are allowed to go back to “normal”.

Keep: work from home

Housing

Dublin is also not famous for affordable housing or its quality. Living in a one bed appartment while unable to spend some time in a coffee showed me the necessity of having a bigger house. It’s tough to watch TV, eat, work and hang out in the same exact room 2.

Also, I learnt the importance of a good community and parks around the home. I was lucky because I have several gardens around here (including the fantastic Dublin’s Botanic Gardens). But I wish I had more places to visit/go without getting a bus/train.

So I don’t want to “go back to normal”, I would instead move away from the city centre and get a bigger place in a nice neighbourhood. Since I will not be moving out of Dublin County, I don’t think I will suffer from wage cut.

Change: Without commuting, focus on getting a bigger house to live in3 if possible, even if far from town.

Food

Spending more time at home, I was also able to cook even more than I would normally do. Nothing wrong with restaurant food, but it’s hard to get something exactly as I want. Especially as a Vegan and an immigrant! Sometimes I want a weird combination of food to remind me of something I have done in the past or a ubiquitous Brazilian cuisine plate that is not available around here as a Vegan plate.

Also, I feel a bit better at controlling the ingredients. It’s kind of like software. I want to have the option to change something or know if it’s still good.

Keep: Eat more homemade food.

Socialisation

In Brazil we usually think that we should socialise inside places paying for something, you should go to a cinema, a mall, a restaurant. We have amazing parks, but we seldom go there. Here in Dublin, given the few days with sun, I got used to spending more time hanging out in parks when it’s sunny, mostly alone reading a book. This past year because of the lockdown, the only way to see people was going to parks, which was amazing! It was pretty cool not to have to spend money to hang out with friends.

Keep: Avoid alcohol and indoor activities, keep going outside to socialise during summer. Only go to restaurants, coffees and pubs during Winter4.

Blogging

I’m not sure if I should keep blogging or at least in English. I may keep annotating what I’m reading/watching/working on in this blog, but maybe without a starter text. I enjoy writing down a bit about whatever is troubling me. It’s an excellent way to free my mind of those topics, and also, it’s easier for me to follow up the evolution of the top issue on my mind at a given time. I could, in theory, do the same in private, but IMHO it feels like I’m better to organise my thoughts when I have to give it to someone to read, instead of just “faking” someone will read. Though English is not my primary language, I have to spend a lot of time trying to fix grammar issues instead of thinking about what I wrote.

Going out of the isolation (and something else that I won’t comment on here), I also notice how my thought patterns were affected by it. It’s a vulnerable position to have it in the open. I’m not sure if I want to keep those texts, and if from now on I start to auto-censor myself, what is the point of maintaining this exercise public?


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  1. Which in theory is illegal, but given the current situation and the summer approaching, the Garda does not seem to be enforcing it. ↩︎

  2. My bedroom is small, so I cannot work from there. ↩︎

  3. This is done, just waiting for the last details on it. ↩︎

  4. Well, it’s way too much uncomfortable to stay outside when it’s zero degrees. ↩︎