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To recap, my 2019

/Rathes Sachchithananthan
To recap, my 2019

If you look at what I had set as goals for 2019 in the review last year, you will see that I hadn't had many plans or goals for this year and still this year felt like a big disappointment. That is why I decided to change a few things to make 2020 my year. But let's start from the beginning.

First Tech Talk: Readme Driven Development

The year started with something new. During one of the PHP Gent meetups at the end of 2018, I got convinced to give my own talk and so I prepared one to give my first ever tech talk in January. I even gave a smaller version of this talk at the Unconference during PHP UK.

But that was all. Even though I really enjoyed the experience of giving a talk, I didn't manage to give another talk. I didn't even manage to prepare another talk that I could have submitted or approached meetup organizers with.

Talking about talks, I had the chance to visit three conferences this year: PHP UK Conference in London, Laracon EU in Madrid and Full Stack Europe in Antwerp.

As usual at conferences, I had the opportunity to meet old friends, make new friends and at the same time to take away one or the other insight about web development. I hope that I can make in 2020 to at least three conferences as well, they are a big opportunity to grow! One day, I want to be able to organize a conference myself as well.

A Tamil Grammar book

Apart from that, I spent most of my free time writing on my very first book that aims to teach the basics of Tamil grammar to English speaking people. I managed to come up with the scope and a proper table of contents for this book.

I also managed to write the actual content of the book in a first draft and I was confident that I would be able to reach the goal of publishing the book.

I started searching for publishers and I had good talks with some people that were ready to take over the editing and publishing part from me. I trusted them and focussed on finishing the book just to learn that they copped out.

This was not only disappointing and had a negative impact on my motivation, but it also had an impact on the future of the entire project. I decided to publish the book entirely myself and do all the work on my own.

That means creating the layouts, editing it and bringing it to the readers. I also decided that I would give out the ebook versions for free.

But that means a lot of additional work and it also means that the schedule of publishing the book this year won't work out. So I won't be able to reach the only goal that I had actually set for this year.

Trip to Eelam

With this feeling, I went to visit my family in Eelam. There I had the best time of this year, maybe even of the entire decade.

After 2010, this was the first time that I saw my grandparents (the two still alive), my uncles and aunts and all my wonderful little cousins living there that I never saw growing up. You can't imagine how happy I was to see them.

I also managed to visit many places in my Tamil homeland for the first time, even if it was for a small amount of time only and I wasn't able to see everything. I was able to see how my people were living in various places and how militarization impacted the people's lives.

Back from my trip, I started questioning everything. I started questioning I was actually doing this year, I even started questioning parts of my book that I was actually confident of.

My dream was and still is to help my Tamil people, to make sure that the Tamil language and culture will not be erased but what have I done so far?

I also realized that with me living in Belgium with not that many people from the Tamil community around me, I had excluded myself from the Tamil community. Something had to be changed.

Changes in 2020

After thinking about it for the second half of this year I decided that I had to move closer to where the Tamil community lives. As a result, I decided to move to London at some time next year.

My focus next year will entirely be on moving to London and finally reaching the goal I had set for this year: Publishing the Tamil Grammar Book. Feel free to subscribe, I promise to keep you posted more often than I did this year.

Moving to London also means leaving my current position at Teamleader. I'm super thankful for the opportunity I got here but at the same time, I am looking forward to the new opportunities that are waiting for me.

Not everything went bad

While I didn't actually reach my goals there were a few things that went well. Not everything this year was that bad.

12 books in 12 months

In 2018, I did not manage to read as much as I wanted. This year went better, I managed to read a book every month.


While I did not manage to publish my book, I actually finished writing the first draft of it. Additionally, I also published a few blog posts that I'm really proud of.

Another last thing, something unexpected, were my kitchen stories on Instagram. Sometimes when I would cook things in my kitchen, I would share the process.

Those stories were received pretty well so that I am playing with the idea of making it a regular thing. But that will depend on where in London I end up. I need an apartment with a decent kitchen first.

Let's see what the new decade brings us. I'm for sure looking forward to 2020.

Photo by Amin Salehi on Unsplash