We bought a house in Tuscany

Here’s some fun news: we bought a house, in Northern Tuscany of all places. We’ve been thinking about getting a little escape from the city and have been missing the mountains and coast we had in Seattle. So, we started virtually exploring Europe to find places where the “mountains meet the sea”, as my wife put it. Our journey landed us in Northern Tuscany. Last summer we visited the area, checked out some houses, and fell in love with a little place a little north of Lucca, nestled in the Apuan Alps.

You can find out more in a little introductory video I put together:

We’re still quite early in the renovation process, and will be sharing more on our new YouTube channel. So go like, subscribe, comment, and all that fun stuff!

Travel journal: Freiburg, the Black Forest, Alsace, and more

With pandemic restrictions easing in Europe, our thoughts turned to travel and a needed break from Berlin. After much consideration, we settled on our first destination: Freiburg in Breisgau. A town situated in Germany’s far Southwest corner, Freiburg is known for a few things. Due to its location, it boasts one of the sunniest and warmest climates in Germany. The town is also home to the University of Freiburg, an old and highly regarded institution. Lastly, and of particular interest to us, Freiburg is also considered a gateway to the Black Forest and is a short drive to France’s Alsace region, renown for its wine and well-preserved medieval villages.

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Sketch Plugins: Not seeing updates after building

I’ve started playing around with creating Sketch plugins and have run into a few challenges here and there. One of the most annoying issue I’ve found is when you build your plugin, but you don’t see the changes reflected in Sketch. It seems this most often occurs when something has happened with the symlink between your development version and Sketch’s plugin folder. To fix this, you need to delete the version in plugin folder and recreate the symlink.

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June update: Apartments, learning German, and more

We are about two and a half months into our Berlin adventure, so I thought an update is in order.

Landing an apartment and settling in

In my last report, we were still in corporate housing, namely a hotel in a Berlin suburb. After a pretty brief search, we landed on an apartment at the Northern edge of the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood.

Our new neighborhood is dominated by blocks of 5-story apartment buildings, most constructed in the early 1900s. Originally built for factory workers, these blocks were dark, crowded, and cheap. This area was largely spared allied bombing during the war, making it one of the few neighborhoods where you can get a sense of pre-war Berlin. After the war, this was East Berlin, and largely neglected by the GDR authorities and their grand plans to reshape the city. With the fall of the Berlin wall, Prenzlauer Berg became known for its counter-culture movement, and many of the buildings were home to artists and squatters. Now, with rapid gentrification, high rents have pushed out most artists (and, sadly, many native Berliners), while chic restaurants, bustling cafes, and trendy boutiques have moved in.

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