I am sure that it’s not only me who has been taking those mental breaks since it dawned on us that this pandemic would be here in a while. When the 1st lockdown ended here in France in mid-May, I was able to adjust to the new norm – that we’re all going to be working from home longer than we thought. It’s not only me who needs this. We need this. We live different lives, but I’m sure that we go through things, and we need to have that opportunity to pause and re-group ourselves. A new year has arrived, the vaccines have been developed, but I’m still working from home for almost ten months. Not that I’m complaining. I am grateful for the work I have and love, and I was able to find a balance between life at home and at work.
And that’s where the mental breaks come in. There was so much happening personally and at work in June. It’s my birthday month, but I was sad. And even when I love my job, it was also causing some strain in me. That’s when I decided to take the break during the week of my birthday. It did me some good, even for a short time. I had the time to relax and rest my mind and reset it for the coming weeks. Since then, I decided to take those breaks once a month. Besides, I need to use my holidays, and I have about forty-five more.
We just got over the seven-day trial of 2021. Of course, we do not have any choice but to take it and continue forward to this year. It’s the first week of the year and to say that a lot has happened is an understatement. For me, a lot has happened at work where decisions have been made, as well as in my personal life.
Moving forward, I only wished that this year would be kinder to every one of us. In Chinese zodiac, the year of the Metal Ox will start on February 12 for the Chinese New year. I read that this year will be the year for relationships of whatever kind, and the year for economic recovery. I read these things because it’s interesting. Hehe. 😛
This is derived from the recipe in cooking Hainanese chicken, but I personally decided that I will not be able to make this dish perfect enough to be rightfully called as Hainanese chicken. I have tasted the said delicious Singaporean pride and it’s one of my favorites, one that I always should have every time I set foot in Singapore.
Now, with respect to this dish that I love so much, I made my own in the comforts of my French home because I miss it so dearly.
It is always a big bunch of hope every time we end a year and face the new one. And from the previous one we all have had, it’s safe for me to say that we are all looking forward to a better new year. Of course, at the back of our minds we know that the virus is still there, and will be for quite some time, but with all the experiences we’ve had and the lessons we’ve learned from these, we are looking forward to a fresh start.
On the eve of the new year, I spent my afternoon with my colleagues at one of their houses. We cooked (I did pansit, while they did tartiflette) and had late lunch / early dinner, and had some games and wine afterwards. Since there was a curfew here in France that starts at 8pm, and I don’t want to stay overnight in their house, I bid goodbyes and new year wishes to them at about seven in the evening. It’s a quiet, New Year’s eve for me, as I read my books and listen to others in nearby apartments having a party of their own. That certain kind of quietness might have been less appealing to some but I am most content in those simple moments. I love going out and be with friends, too, but there are times that I just don’t want to expend so much energy into. Before the clock struck at midnight, my sister called. She’s spending her holidays in one of the islands in Thailand because like me, she could not go home to the Philippines to spend time with our families, too. So, I welcomed the new year with my sister on a videocall, and it’s nice. It’s simple, quiet, but nice.
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.