My 2022 in pictures
Another year down. In a move that will make me (again) unpopular: I liked this year. It was full of friendship, laughter, togetherness, learning, purpose, and seeing new things or revisiting old ones.
I decided to find one picture I’d taken each month, that expressed best what stood out about that month. I’d keep it small, only some text to outline the month’s wins and losses. After all, I am writing those things for myself more than anyone else.
I spent a lot of time exploring the island. This picture is a sunset at Turtle Beach in Cyprus. We drove a good hour to get there, through feet-deep mud, water rushing across the narrow unsecured cliffside road, and more. In a sedan, with broken down 4x4s lining the road. It was a scary drive in the dark, the abyss (a 100 ft drop) looming next to us at all times. The next day I learned, that three tourists had died in two incidents, trying to drive there.
I returned to Germany in February for a brief period. It was a nice and warm Munich February, I ate a lot and walked even more. I also started some of the preparations that should allow me to spend 2023 and 2024 mostly in Germany with only short trips to Cyprus.
The invasion of Ukraine changed the landscape in Cyprus drastically. Many of the businesses in the south of the island are owned by Russian oligarchs, and thus there was and is much pro-Putin sentiment among expats here. Still, Cyprus as an invaded and divided country very much empathized with Ukraine and, for the first time in their lives, probably, the oligarchs faced stiff opposition and even exclusion.
I had (very) minor surgery in April and flew back to Germany (again), but this time to move on to Holland for King’s Day.
This was the first post-lockdown event for the Netherlands, and an experiment of sorts. The response was a little more muted than 2019, but incidences did not go up after two days of every Dutch citizen spending time in crammed busses and trams, bars, and on the street.
May was a busy month. I was not quite sure if I would pass all my exams for the next stage of my training, and given that I suffer from extreme test anxiety, this month was a blur. The breakdown of Twitter after Musk’s announcement he intended to buy the network and following ingress into the Fediverse (mainly through Mastodon, blech!) did provide for some levity, though.
I finally saved the money and made the jump to a monitor. After six years of laptop only working, my back really thanked me from day one. I also hit the gym daily instead of three times a week, just to get away from test anxiety.
I passed. That’s the big news of the month. Not as well as I had hoped (and certainly not as well as I could have, had I not blacked out a few times from anxiety), but I passed. And that’s all that matters.
Flew back to Germany and spent the month traveling, mostly in Bavaria. I really enjoyed the early summer weather, a crisp wind in the alps, naked people in Munich’s English Garden, surfing on the Eisbach River, diving two alpine lakes, and more. The best part was meeting up with all my friends, of course. Received my fourth vaccine shot towards the end of the month and had my traditional two days of malaise.
The second part of this month marked the start of my 42 day hike across Spain. First, however, I had some more Bavaria-exploring to do. I went to Regensburg and took a boat to the Walhalla monument, visited celtic burial grounds and old forts, explored a haunted forest, and more. It was an amazing start into an even more amazing month.
Whole books could (and have) been written about what happened this month. I started in Pamplona, Spain, in July and walked over the next 42 days to the ocean in the west of Spain. The first week was blazing hot at 43°C average in the afternoons, but the weather cooled down a bit before I hit the Meseta, Spain’s High Desert. It was an amazing walk, full of new friendships, levity, exhaustion, and small and big success stories.
September meant back to work. Cyprus was warm and welcoming, but I did not find any time to hit the beaches or mountains. I also did not take any pictures, so here’s one of the few I took, a picture of me.
I began working at the Thalassemia and childrens’ oncology clinics. This is probably the most important picture this year for me, a dragonfly pendant made by a seven-year-old patient of mine with acute lymphocytic leukaemia.
There are moments I enter this clarity of mind that explains to me, why I am doing what I am doing. This was such a moment. “For the funny doctor” she said, and handed it to me. In Ukrainian, but her mother translated for her.
November, unfortunately, put a stain on this otherwise outstanding year. It started with our annual International Biomedical Congress in Nicosia, which I am the volunteer organizer for. On the second day, I had to eject a person from the team for very unprofessional conduct. Together with another person who felt she had been passed over for the position, they concocted a number of accusations that ranged from professional to personal misconduct.
I was presumed guilty and, without being given any data or the names of the complainants, informed that I would have to face the grievance committee omn those unnamed charges. Only days later, through scuttlebutt, did I get more details.
I am still awaiting my “day in court.”
Professionally, things were amazing, though. I took shifts at the German Oncology Center in Limassol, enjoying the views of the bay and a wonderful team of professionals.
I left Cyprus, sweating in my T-shirt, and touched down in Munich to -14°C. “Finally,” I though, “a white Christmas.” Alas, it was not to be. On the 23rd things got so warm, I had to dig out my T-shirt again.