We’re 16 days into 2016 and I can’t believe how quickly January is going by. I’m still saying goodbye to 2015 and catch myself writing the wrong year on my paperwork more often than I’d like to admit.

2015 was a great year, and before I say farewell and onto the next, I want to share some of my highlights of last year. True to my appreciation for listicles, here are my five words for 2015.

But there’s something new! I had my thoughts illustrated by the talented surrealist artist and illustrator Patrick Evans. Enjoy!

#5 Hobbies

Ballet Slippers Original

2015 was the year I learned ballet, took up pilates, and signed up as a junior ambassador at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

Music Notes OriginalMy lifestyle is pretty sedentary, so I’m glad I was able to adopt hobbies that taught me more about my muscles and posture. Ballet and pilates were something I’d wanted to do for a while, and well, I always enjoy the symphony, so why not make it official? (Call me if you want cheap tickets.)

#4 Travel

Bags Illustration OriginalI’m not much of a jet-setter because most of my travel money and time are spent visiting grandparents and siblings. That being said, 2015 was still ripe with opportunities to leave town. The first three months of the year were a bit rough because my second-floor condo experienced major water damage two weeks into January. From January to April, my roommate and I lived in a temporary apartment courtesy of some hugely generous friends.  Despite the situation and tight budget, I was able to discovered the beautiful city of Rimouski on a whirlwind weekend trip up the Saint-Lawrence river.

In July, I went to Kelowna, British-Columbia, for a quick vacation and much-needed family time. In October, I was in Toronto for five days, catching up with friends and attending WordCamp Toronto. In December, I was in Philly for WordCamp US, and then travelled to New York where I met Jeff Goldblum. The year ended with a trip to Kansas City, where I’ve made it a tradition to spend Christmas with my brother, his wife, and their two boys.

#3 CommunityMap Original

Community is important to me and in 2015 I was asked to become events coordinator in my church community. Between all the commitments involved, I’m also the sound technician a few times a month, which was a fun skill to develop. I can wire a five-piece band and know what most of the knobs on a soundboard do. Yay for skills!

Teacup Original

I’ve also spent quite a bit of energy investing in my neighbourhood and getting to know the locals. In case you missed it, check out my post on how to become a regular at your local coffee shop.

#2 Family

In 2015, I spent a lot of time focused on family. In June, my maternal grandmother Patricia passed away in Calgary, where my mother had spent the last few weeks caring for her. A few weeks later, I flew to meet up with my parents in Kelowna, British Columbia, and spend a few days vacation with them and my paternal grandmother.

Andrea with Nephews OriginalA week later, I was in Ottawa for a family reunion. I am the youngest of six children, and most of my siblings are married with 2-5 children each. Between Kansas City, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Grand Rapids, we somehow managed to convene for three days in July at my sister’s house in Ontario. September was a huge baby boom in my entourage. Two sisters and a friend gave birth to little cuties. Welcome to the world Kees, Adèle, and Margot — you are loved.

#1 WordPress

Wordpress Logo Original

My #1 word of the year for 2015 is WordPress. Not because it was more valuable than family or community, but because of its impact on the many life events and decisions of the year and likely the years to come.

In February, I accepted a contract at Dawson College, working on the relaunch of their WordPress website. The position was brought to my attention by Kathryn Presner, Happiness Engineer at Automattic and instrumental member of the Montreal WordPress community. During my six months at Dawson, my knowledge of WordPress grew exponentially. I was also mandated to teach more than 80 Dawson faculty and staff to use WordPress, which was a joy and a privilege.

In July, I took a chance and applied to be a speaker at WordCamp Montreal, a tech conference centred around the WordPress software and community. After only attending two WordCamps, I decided to pitch a talk about getting into technology as a writer.

September was also the start of an exciting chapter in my career. I was given the opportunity to come back to Automattic as a contract consultant, working in Marketing with my previous boss and overall incredible woman Sara Rosso. I was over the moon at the chance to work on WordPress.com with some of the most amazing and talented people in tech. I could never express how life-changing working with Automattic is, but I’m truly blessed and am excited for what the future holds.

In October, I was able to take my WordCamp talk on the road and speak at WordCamp Toronto. It was an enriching experience to speak in a different city than my own. I was more comfortable with my content, but I was less comfortable with the city and the audience. I’m looking forward to my next speaking engagement — stay tuned!

In December, I attended WordCamp US, the very first US-wide WordCamp. It was very impressive and I enjoyed sitting back and enjoying it as an attendee. Contributor Day was one of my favourite days of the conference, and you can read more about it here.

That’s it for 2015, folks, but onward and upwards, as they say.

See you online.


3 responses to “2015 in Five Words”

  1. Jeff Goldblum encounter FTW!

    1. Andrea Zoellner Avatar
      Andrea Zoellner

      The best.

  2. Katherine Moe Avatar
    Katherine Moe

    Like the illustrations by Patrick Evans!

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