2023 in 12 pictures


I started the year with a trip in beautiful (although rainy) Amsterdam. The cold and moody weather made for the perfect excuse to stay indoor and sip cappuccinos. A weekend of simple things—visiting the Lord in the Attic Museum, enjoying walks along the canals, and having brunch with friends. Not so tiring as to start the week exhausted, just the ideal weekend to close out the holiday season and kick off the year.

A group of people having brunch


I joined Meilisearch in January, but the first month was relatively slow with the onboarding and all. In February, we launched the first major version of Meilisearch. It was vibrant moment for the company and a thrilling time for me working in DevRel. The communication around this v1.0 was success, which did set some high expectations for the rest of the year—for good and bad. With everyone back to work and my onboarding completed, February was the real beginning of my Meilisearch journey.

Meilisearch v1.0


This picture is not a summary of March, but a very special day. I've taken it at the premiere of the movie Ziskakan, une révolution créole (“Ziskakan, a creole revolution”.) Although the event only lasted for a couple hours, it was a meaningful moment in March. The movie depicts the early days of the Ziskakan band, which find its roots in the recent history of Reunion Island. It tells the story of creole culture in the aftermath of slavery and colonization.

A movie theater


For a long time I was searching for a new fiction book to read. I went through a drought period, unable to find a book that whose writing would compell me to dive into a new universe. With The Name of the Wind, it was love at first sight. I still vividly remember googling the PDF and reading the first lines to see if the words would move me. And I was hooked. From the very first lines. Patrick Rothfuss is a master storyteller and its Kingkiller chronicles is a highlight of my year.

The Wise Man's Fear

The Wise Man's Fear is the 2nd book in Rothfuss' trilogy.


This year, I decided to use my ability to work remotely to spend more time closer to nature, and less time in my home office. In May, I stayed for two weeks in Normandy, enjoying a peaceful retreat in the countryside. The change of pace compared to life in Paris was already relaxing. The different environment and the pleasant weather encouraged me to take the time and do things as they came. I spent my time reading and coding, and taking lungsful of fresh air.

Someone on a tractor


In June, I took a photo of this document that testifies that I took 1 year of beginner classes in Mandarin. It doesn’t much administrative value, but it was a small token of progress for me. I also think it's fair that it appears in my 2023 review. Throughout the year, my Saturday-morning Mandarin classes we the recurring highlights of my weeks. Learning to read and write traditional Chinese, discovering the culture, and speaking the language, brought a unique feeling I can't quite explain.

Mandarin classes certificate


This summer, I had to cancel my hiking trip in the Ardennes because I broke a toe. It turns out the big toe is useful for most things and I couldn’t do much this summer. I stayed at home and made the best of my time by playing a ton of Magic: the Gathering. The latest expansion release was based on the universe of The Lord of the Rings. The cards and the stories I know and love were a nerd-match made in heaven. Diving into Tolkien’s world through a new medium was refreshing.

A ‘Magic: the Gathering’ game


Opportunities to see friends gets rarer as we grow older. I’m grateful that so many of my friends gathered with me to celebrate my 30s birthday. The Airbnb we rented had a view upon a charming tributary of the Seine river. The sunny weekend was just the perfect addition to complete a one-of-a-kind BBQ with people I cherish. It was also a hell lot of eating & drinking to commemorate my entrance into life's 3rd decade.

30-shaped balloons


Esports has a most special part in my heart. I would never allow myself to miss a LoL competition happening in France. This September, I met with my ex-colleagues from PandaScore in Montpellier to attend the LEC season finals together. I’m delighted that we still get to hangout together considering how common it is to lose touch with coworkers after leaving a company. The event was nice despite a 3-0 finals and the summer weather in Montpellier added a holiday-vibe to the trip.

Arena filled with supporters


They say we should follow our curiosity. Curiosity led me to learn Chinese a bit by chance. And through the school I enrolled with, I was brought to discover Taiwan’s culture. So for my first holiday of the year, I decided to follow my curiosity to the island of Formosa. I watched the sun set over a sea of cloud flowing between the mountains of Alishan. I was enraptured by the out-of-time calm of the rural villages among the tea farms. Taipei was a mesmerizing capital with its mix of skyscrapers and old-fashioned narrow streets. Everything was just delightful, which means—most importantly—the food was delicious.

Tea farms with mountains in the background


Autumn has a special flavor about it for League of Legends fans. It’s the time of the worlds championship, the pinnacle of esports for many. This year, the stage was set for the Chinese superteam JDG to complete the golden road. The League of Legends equivalent of a grand slam. But this edition was a special one in another regard: it was happening in Korea, the birthplace of esports and of the game’s most accomplished player, Faker. I could write about Worlds 2023 forever so let’s just say I very much enjoyed it.

Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok


I've found that I reflect better about my life when I'm physically away from my daily environment. It helps me escape the stream of thoughts of my daily routine. Reunion island is the natural place for me to take a step back, as it is where I grew up. There the warm summer rains made Paris’ winter feel like an alternate reality. The things that made my every day were distant and seemed on hold, non-existent. I try to use these moments to think about where I’m currently going with my life.

Last updated on January 5, 2024.