To say that nobody expected a global pandemic to happen this year was an understatement. Like it always does to many of us, I had so many plans in early January about the things I look forward to be doing for the rest of the year. I was even planning to send my parents here for vacation in March and take them around Europe.
The first quarter was a mixture of many things. I had a scary bus accident, and thankfully came out with nothing but a bruise. Things were looking fine at work. And, it may have sounded cliché for some but I met a good man on the day after Valentine’s Day 🙂 And then, the half of March came and things have never been the same.
It seemed like everything went by in a blur during the lockdown period in France from March to May. I could not remember anything significant except that I was able to finally complete a 1000-piece puzzle and baked a lot. Working from home has become the new norm, and I was able to manage and set boundaries between my time at work and at home.
When I celebrated my birthday in June, the lockdown just ended a few weeks back. I was trying to hold myself together as I go through mental, physical, emotional and spiritual stress. I guess, it’s been common for the rest of you, as well. I planned to visit my family and celebrate my birthday with them, but with everything that’s going on, I just could not simply go, especially when my resident visa was expiring.
Thankfully, I got it renewed in November.
Summer came, and I’ve witnessed people in Europe come down here in the south of France to experience the good weather. I met my friend from Amsterdam, and with all the safe distancing we could manage, me and her family (I miss her kids!), got the chance to visit the lavender fields for the first time. I also had the chance to re-discover nature after the spring lockdown. I was able to explore the nearby forests and mountains, and did some hiking and found it enjoyable. Just like a lot of people during this time, I was able to practice baking, too, hahaha!
It should have been fine to try to go back to what we were used to, but we also all knew that we’re still in the middle of the pandemic. I tried to go out and walk around like I usually would, explore new things in the area (since I just can’t go anywhere else right now). I also tried to make myself busy with reading new books and organizing plots in the book I want to write. I also tried to focus more in writing in this blog by establishing its own site address. Gosh, I even tried to remember how to draw again. I also started a small vegetable garden. I thought we’re all going to be fine soon, but it seems like when everyone started relaxing on the health protocols, it was no wonder that the Covid cases shot up at the end of the summer. Soon, we found ourselves locked inside our homes once again in France. It’s already bad enough to the economy and the livelihood of many people, and it’s sad to hear that announcement in late October.
When the lockdown ended, it’s already December. Everyone is gearing up to celebrate the holiday season despite the pandemic. My acquaintances were looking forward to a festive season as I listen to them plan about their vacations with their families. I admit that I envy them, because they can just go up and drive to reunite with their families here in France or anywhere in Europe. I did not have that kind of luxury because mine is in Asia. So, I was looking forward to have a Christmas eve dinner with a few of my friends. I need it so much, to have that feeling of community and belongingness, especially at this time.
As I look back to this year, I come down to a conclusion that despite the difficulties we’ve had, there is a lesson learned from this. So much has happened that tested us to our limits: physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Being alone during this pandemic has taken its toll on me. There were things that had become stressful. I lost count on the times I laughed, but mostly when I cried. And it was during those down moments that I decided to turn to my family, especially to my sister. It was during those moments when I realized that I don’t need anything else but the relationship I have with the people that matters most. It was also during those moments when I re-discovered myself and realized the things that I want for myself.
We don’t need a lot to feel content. This pandemic taught me a lot about it. And as we come to the last week of this year, I wish you to be hopeful of the better things to come. We might not be seeing the light in the end of this pandemic tunnel yet, but let me tell you this, surround yourself with enough self-love that you need and deserve, and family and friends who will always be there for you. 🙂
Wishing you a blessed new year, my dears. May 2021 be better for everyone. 🙂