When 2017 began, I was very depressed.
My boyfriend, Rai, was rolled off his project at work and had to return to India a few months prior – shortly after we had began living together. I now had to return home from work to nobody. I cried after getting home from work until I managed to numb myself.
My hopes for the first woman president were dashed and anger and fear and dread were my feelings as the new year came around. If Clinton were president, I would at least have had some optimism about the future. The double whammy of losing my love and no longer having faith in anything as basic as are we going to fight climate change and have a future was hard.
But, one has to keep living. I threw myself into my work and attended protests and sent postcards to the president and called my representatives.
A big stress in 2017 was trying to think of some way that I, as an independent programmer, could make something to improve the world in some small way. I committed to letting my students know that my classroom is a safe place, and that I am there for them if they need an advocate, but I also wanted to know what more I could do.
While I don’t think I achieved anything big, programming-wise, in 2017, I at least have been experimenting and trying. I’ve also achieved things not programming related – because I’m not a robot.
So here is a reflection on things I’ve done in 2017, because it’s so easy to forget what we’ve achieved. It’s really easy for me to slip into a feeling of uselessness and start beating myself up for not meeting my own standards, and part of that is learning to accept myself for being myself (not just doing stuff), it’s also good to put things into perspective; not the warped, exaggerated perspective that anxiety and depression-glasses make you see through.
What I did
I got married
Rai finally arrived back in the K.C. on November 15th, after having been gone since November 1st of the previous year. We made it!
We had a small ceremony at the Olathe courthouse, and poof! Married! We did it in our own way – low stress, simple, etc. Though we still need to plan our reception party for 2018!
I went to India
We submitted our fiancé paperwork in April, but a 6-to-9 month wait would have been too much time to go without seeing each other. During the semester break (a couple weeks between Spring and Summer semesters), I flew to India and spent time with Rai, where we became “officially” engaged.
We spent time in New Delhi, where Rai was living, in Agra, and in his parents’ village in Uttarakhand.
- Rachel’s trip to India – New Delhi
- Rachel’s trip to India – Uttarakhand
- Rachel’s trip to India – Agra
Rai and I worked on the fiancé-visa paperwork
Rai was sent back to India in November 2016, and at that time neither of us were sure if we (as individuals) were ready for marriage. But after the time apart, and after eventually getting his father’s approval, we started on the fiancé visa paperwork.
I’ve spent time with my sister
After a couple of years in Seattle, my sister moved back to Kansas City and I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with her multiple times per week.
I completed an easy-reader comic
I finished the first in a series of comics I’d like to make – an easy-reader meant for language learners. It is available on Itch.io here, and as of writing has versions in English, Esperanto, Finnish, French, and Hindi.
I began taking Hindi classes
It was serendipity that I learned about the Hindi class at our local temple – I had taken my friend Aishwarya to the temple and there was a board there with the information. I signed up and, even though I’m the only adult in the class, I’ve been learning a lot and really enjoying having a Sunday tradition! I love language learning and taking the class has really helped me build a good foundation.
I started gradschool
Although I only completed one semester and dropped out of the Fall semester due to work, I did effectively start gradschool. Even though I’m overall underwhelmed by my experience so far, at least the momentum is going. Even though being a teacher isn’t my be-all-end-all career goal, having a Master’s Degree will at least keep doors open to me no matter where I move to.
I also vlogged!
- 1: GREpocalypse
- 2: What am I doing?!
- 3: New Engineering Graduate Student Orientation
- 4: First day of class
- 5: Parking and learning curve
- 6: AdvisorQuest
I taught a new class
After an emergency at work, one instructor’s classes were split up between the other teachers. I landed with Discrete Math II, which I had been wanting to teach for a while. Before, I had only taught Discrete Math I. While I got some really nasty (and some good) reviews on the end-of-semester anonymous surveys, I feel like I did an alright job… especially considering that I was teaching 6 classes… 20 credit hours. I survived.
I reclaimed my YouTube channel
My original, humble rise on YouTube (8000 subscribers) was due to my game programming and educational gamedev content. For the longest time I felt like I couldn’t post about other interests or parts of my life because of “my subscribers”. But the
controversy showed us that not all gamers are good people. So fuck ’em. I’ll post what I want, I don’t care about losing subscribers (and I did lose subscribers). It’s more important to visibly show your support for a cause than cater to assholes on the internet.
Some of the videos I posted that made people mad were:
- Inauguration Day Protest & Women’s March – Kansas City
- Sending postcards to my representatives – Against the Muslim ban!
- Protest against the Muslim Ban – MCI Kansas City Airport
- On repealing Obamacare (a visualization)
- Super Punch-a-Nazi
I protested, called, and donated
I invested what I could of myself to trying to make political changes in the only way I know how. I protested, I contacted my representatives, and I donated to various causes and activists.
I did some coding
I did take time to explore code, even though it was small. Just little experiments here and there. I made the visualization of how many people could die if Obamacare is repealed, I worked on things to procedurally generate characters and dialog, I made a couple of Twitter bots, a painting app for toddlers, and so on.
I made some YouTube videos
I did manage to publish some YouTube videos this year. In addition to the ones posted above, I also did a Robot Let’s Play, a video about Cyrus the Dog, some of my lectures from my classes, vlogs about gradschool and going to India, and some videos for my Conlang-oriented channel.
One of my goals in Moosader is to learn to delegate, and to offer opportunities for others to do some commission work that I pay them for. I did have a friend, Kuĉjo, work on conlang videos,
Did some freelancing, met a deadline, mentored Shawnee in working on the game as well.
I made a board game
As a joke Christmas gift, I made a board game for my cousin based around one of her biggest pet peeves – people not changing the toilet paper. It was a lot of fun to come up with pieces and the board, and test out the rules with my sister.
I explored business ideas
I like to make different types of things, and I’m trying to find a way to funnel my creativity into different business ideas. This has included making educational videos, language apps, punny Esperanto t-shirts, a web-portal for conlang games, and more.
I saw John Carmack give a talk at UMKC
Ever since I read Masters of Doom as a tween, John Carmack had always been one of my biggest role models in the programming world. This year, he came to give a talk at UMKC – a university that he briefly attended, and where I got my B.S. from – and I went to see him. <3
I’ve always been a crafty person but I made some cool crocheted things this year, as well as painted, drawing, and even doing nail art.
I lost my dog
I’ve made a blog post about this already, but our childhood dog passed away this year, which was very hard. He’s been in my life for more than half of it, and now I still tear up to think about how I won’t get to hang out with him anymore.