Time to look back and reflect on how the year which is about to end developed. Brief recap of my 2018. (1)
The main events of the year: Luca switched jobs and started working for Airbus, and Andrea switched languages and her default language is now English.
Having said that: other personal objectives for 2018 have been moderately accomplished to different extents. Now, let’s review the year in more detail.
Flying. It took me until March 30th to make the first flight of the year, but since then it has been the year in which I flew the most, with above 23 flight hours, including 29 take-offs and landings. This year we could not manage to make our flight excursion to San Sebastian to have lunch but we did one to Auch. This year as well, together with my friend Asier, I took part in the aviation rally of our aeroclub (see here the post about it). But above all, I will remember this year by the incredible flight excursions we made to England and the Balearic islands.
Together with Albert, a work colleague, we flew to England over a weekend to attend the Flying Legends air show. We took the opportunity to visit the Shuttleworth collection and see its flying display. And on the way back and forth we over flew some Loire valley castles, the Mount Saint Michel, the racing circuits of Le Mans and Silverstone, the coast of Normandy, the Isle of Wight… it was an amazing experience. See here the post about it.
A couple of months later, we flew over another weekend to Menorca and Mallorca with the children. We bathed at the hotel pool and the beach only one day, but we over flew the wonderful coastlines of both islands in another memorable excursion. See here the post about it.
These two excursions have meant a learning and experience leap forward in terms of planning, flying and radio communication skills, and equipped with that experience and confidence no doubt that in 2019 I will be preparing other flight excursions as interesting as those.
If I recall it well, this year my work colleague Alex, fellow pilot Albert, Pablito and my sister Beatriz flew for the first time with me at the controls. I flew as well with Luca, Andrea and David a few times, and with Asier. Believe me, there are very few things more enjoyable than flying with friends. I am sure that in 2019 that will be the case with some more.
Other things aviation. This year, I finally visited the aviation museum of Toulouse, Aeroscopia (opened in 2015). I also visited the Imperial War museum at Duxford (England) and the Shuttleworth collection, as referred above. In that trip, I attended two air shows: Flying Legends and the display of the collection. On top of that, I read a couple of aviation books, “Tintin, Herge – et les avions“, and the classic “Skunk Works“.
Airbus. After 4 years of development and 11 months of flight test campaign, the A330neo, the Airbus project in which I have been working since mid-2015, obtained its type certificate on September 26th and the first production aircraft was delivered to TAP Portugal airline, two months later, on November 26th. Those have been great achievements for the teams; and on a personal level, as well. And that also means that in the coming year I’ll be switching jobs again.
Believe it or not, there were other things than aviation in our lives in 2018:
Public speaking. One of my objectives for the year was to become a bit more active in the in-company Toastmasters public speaking club, and was able to meet it: I prepared and delivered a few speeches (4) and participated in contests; I came in second place at both club and area level, not being able to participate further. See here the speech that I gave at area level.
Blogging. This year I managed to write 36 blog posts, more than in 2017 (13), though less than the years before (70-100). The blog received nearly 41,000 visits in 2018 (about the same than in 2017) and above 368,000 since I started it in 2010.
Reading. Since moving to our new house, we have dedicated one of the rooms to be a family library (call it a pet project). We keep on buying books that we consider good enough and place them there, keeping our curiosity and the thirst for good reads always alive. This year I kept up with the reading pace, trying to read 25 pages a day (which on average I managed), for a total of over 9,200 pages (over 1,100 more than in 2017) and 27 books. This permitted me to tackle some classics which I had wanted to read for some time such as “War and peace”, the “Aeneid” or “Le rouge et le noir”. For the complete list of books, see the post I wrote about my 2018 reading list with a brief description of each book.
Running. In 2018 I have run just above 1,100 kilometres, another “minimum” yearly mileage since I arrived to Toulouse in late 2010. I started training well in January but fell ill at the end of the month, which forced me to stay in bed for a week. It then complicated into otitis and I found myself in March not having almost run for weeks. Since then, I found it difficult to find the motivation to run systematically. Nevertheless, I did run 10 races, including 2 marathons (Vienna and Dublin (with great feelings and better than expected time)), 3 half marathons, a couple of trails (Ronde des Foies Gras (26 km) and Trail du Cassoulet (32 km)) and a few other races.
Skiing. In 2018 we have repeated the wonderful all-family skiing week in the Alps (Vars) as we did in 2017 and as we will do again in a few weeks in 2019. This year, Luca and I were placed in the same group and Andrea continued making progress, earning her “Blanchon” medal. In the afternoons we enjoyed going altogether to practice some luge near the hotel with David.
Cycling. Did I ever write about cycling in this blog in the previous years? No, right? Long story short: we climbed the Col du Tourmalet last August with my friends of the university in what was a great excursion. See here the post about it.
Bull fighting. This year again, I managed to attend a bull fight, it was in May during the Feria de Pentecôte at Vic Fezensac, a small lively village in the Gers (France). Later on, in August, while touring Navarra and Pamplona we visited the Plaza de Toros and its wonderful museum, very informative and descriptive of the world famous encierros of San Fermin.
Travelling. This year we visited Madrid, San Lorenzo del Escorial, Gap (Route Napoleon), Avignon (Pont and Palace des Papes), Bruniquel (castle), Vienna, Eurodisney (in a wonderful weekend for the kids… and even more for me!), Vic Fezensac, Bordeaux, Nantes, Saint-Malo (a wonderful city), Mount Saint Michel, Omaha beach (WWII), Honfleur, Compiègne (WWI Armistice), the Château de Cheverny (Tintin), England (see flight excursion above), Navarra (Olite, Pamplona, Javier, Roncesvalles), Sarrant, Lavardens (castle), Luz Saint Sauveur, Pont d’Espagne, Menorca and Mallorca (see flight excursion above), Ireland (Dublin, Cashel, Kilkenny, Killarney, ring of Kerry, Glendalough), Auch, Saint-Benoît-du-Sault, Château du Clos Lucé (Leonardo da Vinci), Empel (“miracle of Empel”), Somme (WWI battle), The Hague, Breda, Amiens (cathedral), Château de Chinon, San Sebastian… Many of these places have meant repeat visits, but they are lovely and we’ll continue to go there.
Most of those travels were road trips. And for us 2018 started with a grain of luck (and use of chains) by we being able to get out rather quickly from the snow-covered A-6 road out of Madrid on the evening of the 6th of January that made the news for a few days for having thousands of people blocked in the road over night.
Other reasons for joy in 2018 have been:
- My family: my sister started working for Accenture in Denmark and in November came to visit us in the new house for a first time. My brother (despite of my calls for him to come to France) keeps enjoying Sevilla with the high pace job at the last stages of A400M deliveries with increased responsibility, learning and teaching opportunities. My father keeps attending the university (50 years later) to enjoy history lessons, having frequent meals with friends, attending conferences and even started going to the gym (!). My mother keeps being as energetic as always doing massages, visiting the family, travelling (she went to Saint Michel just a couple of months after I went), reading, teaching Andrea Spanish and swimming (or anything you ask her for!), etc.
- Some more friends got married: Marisa and Laurent.
- And we welcome some newborns from family and friends: Adrian, Benjamin, Thijs. (2)
Now it’s time to rest, celebrate and soon to plan how we want the 2019 to turn out. For me it will include a change of jobs, the starting of my son David into pre school, another all-family skiing week in the Alps, lots of flying (hopefully with one or two amazing excursions) and running (including at least a marathon in Cracovia), some books to read, museums to see, trips and excursions to enjoy… For now, I will close 2018 celebrating my sister’s birthday, running the San Silvestre Vallecana in Madrid with several friends and enjoying a last dinner with the family.
I wish you the best for 2019, enjoy it!
(2) So far, I have never written about it to keep an uplifting tone for these yearly posts, but, as we grow older, you can imagine that every year we have had also our sad moments of having to say good-bye to fellow family members and friends. Today is a good moment as well to think about them.