I was interviewed for capital.bg for an article about people who had a good 2020. The original is in Bulgarian, so a moderately edited (in line with my original answers in English) machine translation is below.
Cate Huston – a pandemic love story and a new dream job
The Englishwoman Cate Huston, engineering director at the Internet search engine DuckDuckGo, told “Capital” how quite unexpectedly 2020 turned out to be her happy, lucky year. “I changed jobs, moved in with my partner and got to know Ireland,” says Cate. A surprising side effect of the canceled flights is that instead of traveling the world and discovering new places, Cate gets closer to her friend. Before the pandemic, Cate traveled so much that there is even a site dedicated to her travels – WhereTheHellIsCate.com, where people can sign up to receive emails from her with curious details from around the world.
And suddenly her life changes dramatically. So far, she has rarely seen her now-boyfriend because he lives in Hamburg, Germany, and she lives in Cork, Ireland. “Our relationship is the absolute pandemic love story” – they met in 2018 during an event in New York, where Cate Huston is the host, and he gave a talk. Two years of development of their relationship is expressed in sporadic chats, but this special 2020 comes, when both, locked up during the lockdown, spend more and more time talking. “One day I realized that our relationship was deepening, and it was starting to get weird, and I told him, ‘You had better get over here.’ He came and we’ve been together ever since,” Cate said, adding that four months later they are happier than ever.
Another very happy event for her was the change of job – in June she became an engineering director at DuckDuckGo. “For me, the change has been extremely positive because my new position and my new commitments are much closer to what interests me and my career goals,” said Cate. According to her, the fact that she is subjected to much less stress than in her previous job is also important – “and this is very useful when the whole world is on fire anyway.” DuckDuckGo is releasing many improvements to its users this year as the default browser for iOS14.
Until now, Cate Huston has lived in Canada, Australia, the United States, Britain, China, Colombia, and in 2020 she could not go further than the other side of the island. “We had a serious lockdown here in Ireland – long periods during which we could not be more than 5 km away from home.” Although she has lived in Ireland since 2017, until recently she knew almost nothing beyond Cork. “This year that has changed, I fell in love with the Lis Ard Estate and the James Turrel art installation.” She also enjoyed taking a boat around the Skellig islands. And lately, she and her partner are spending more and more time in the beautiful resort of Castlemartyr in East Cork.
Although she seems to have had an amazing year, Cate admits that she put a lot of effort into feeling good during this difficult period for everyone. Cate tries to stay connected to her friends despite the physical distances that separate them. “I send flowers to some, gift boxes and various little things to others, especially on important occasions such as a new job or relocation” – according to her, the pandemic has taken over the year for people and when an important life event happened to them, it seemed to be drowned out by the news about virus. Demonstrating gestures of attention, she shows that these important moments in the lives of her friends have not gone unnoticed for her. Cate Huston realizes that although she has a good job, many people are experiencing financial difficulties at the moment, so she supports small local businesses at every opportunity. And she challenges herself to try new hobbies, watch movies she hasn’t seen before, and explore new walking routes. She thinks it’s a good idea and a source of variety to subscribe to all sorts of things: boxes of tea, chocolates, even socks with different patterns at home. There are even boxes with a selection of cheeses!
It is thanks to all this diligence on her part that the quarantines so far are “cozy” for her and her boyfriend, and she hopes that they will be the same in the coming months.