February 2020

3 minute read

During February I escaped to warmer climate and had a great time with family and friends. Back in Belgium things are moving slowly but steady and I’m really enjoying my time here.

Guatemala

My wife and I spent three weeks in Guatemala. We had almost perfect weather every day and got to eat some of our favorite local dishes. As part of our getaway got a chance to visit The Most Beautiful Lake in the World. More important than the places we visited, the food we ate and the perfect weather was the people we got to spend time with.

During the time in Guatemala I barely opened my laptop, so I came back fully recharged. I think I needed the time off more than I realized. I’m planning to write more about this need for rest.

I was impressed about all the economical growth in the city. It is a slow development but opportunities for software developers seem to be getting better every year that I come visit. I’d go as far as saying that this was the first time, in the past eight years of living abroad, that I felt I might be able to come back to my home country and continue my career. This of course will depend on the economy and also on how my wife’s career develops but being able to feel this way was very exciting for me.

No matter how reassuring it was, to see Guatemala’s economical growth amidst all the corruption, there’s much to be fixed. One example would be all the new apartment buildings and fancy malls. This growth isn’t properly planned, which means that traffic is getting worse every year (from my twitter feed I get that sometimes you can easily spend 2.5 hours in traffic) and air quality is very poor. We Guatemalans need to address this issue ASAP.

Belgium

On my return to Belgium I was able to continue the process for my residence permit. This is the third European country where I do this so I was not impressed by the slowness or bureaucracy of the process. However, after eight years working in Switzerland and Germany, it feels silly to read the “not allowed to work” statement in my ID card. I find it hard to understand how this benefits the country so I wrote a post about how the Reunification Visas for Students are Broken. I’m just glad I finally have the residency because now I can finally finish some pending errands I had in Germany. Once all that is settle I’m hopping I can get back to figuring out what I’m going to be doing to kill time while here.

We also had a few visitors. A friend of my wife came from Guatemala and so did the friends we met in Amsterdam last month. We had a lovely time drinking coffee, eating Indian food and chatting. The climax of our evening was to see us all dancing to Bruce Springsteen and laughing real loud. Multicultural hangouts are simply the best.

Out of the Reading Stack

  • Cult of the Dead Cow: This is a book about a group of hackers and how they influenced the early stage of the internet and later on ended up taking important roles in big tech companies. If you like to read about early stages of our software culture the first chapters have something for you. The book does a good job exposing the need for ethical frameworks in our field but unfortunately doesn’t offer any answer besides “look at what the old hackers did and replicate”. My personal view is that the book is interesting but not captivating enough. If the author would have focused at only making it a compilation of events or a only a philosophical/ethical book, it would have been much better.