I do one of these every year and I figured I should probably do one this year. Why? For some reason these always make me feel better. I don’t fully get it, usually towards the end of December I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing or very little but going back through I realize that I did more than I expected. So here’s hoping I feel the same way when I get to the end of this.
Hello headaches. I finished up my last camp ever in South Korea in the midst of a huge remodeling project our school had. Dust was everywhere, everything was adrift, students had to be escorted to and from different spots. It was a lot. I put a ton of effort into my camp and I used maybe 10% of it. But I also did all of my traveling in January. I visited Gapyeong again to watch my old students graduate, I flew to Paris, stopping to sleep in Tokyo first and then a couple days after coming back to Korea left again to go to Okinawa. I did all of this traveling solo. Past me would be in awe. Towards the end of my Okinawa trip I started to hear about Covid.
This month brought my birthday and warnings of Covid. Masks started to sell out, warnings were issued in English and Korean to avoid crowded places and wash our hands often. My phone went off with emergency alerts constantly with updates about where someone had been confirmed with Covid and how the government was taking care of it. I celebrated my birthday with friends and deskwarmed, for a bit, until my school which was undergoing construction decided I was in the way and sent me home. It made sense. No one was going to replace me so there was nothing I could do, I was really just in the way. I spent time given to me to enjoy the last moments of Korea packing to go home and finishing up all the paperwork and things I had to do in order to leave. I said my goodbyes to friends and the school. And then made the long way home expecting to be put in quarantine for 2 weeks when I landed because I was coming from a hotspot.
I flew back to the USA. It felt like stepping into the Twilight Zone. No one was social distancing. No one seemed concerned I’d arrived from South Korea. No one was wearing masks. People were coughing and sneezing all over one another at the airport. For a brief moment I felt like I had somehow beat the virus home and that maybe, just maybe everything was fine and safe. This feeling ended of course when lock down hit in March. All the months sort of bled together into one continuous monstrosity.
So here’s the things that got me through this year, kept me busy, or brought me joy.
I learned how to make Dalgogna. Made a matcha version and then later, coffee versions for my aunt. I learned how to make coffee I like at home, usually with almond milk, flavored creamer and a splash of coffee.
I baked bread.
I went through all the clips of video I could find on my computer and turned them into little travel memory videos for youtube.
I started a podcast.
I took a big swing at my old to be read list. I’ll write about how I did with that soon.
I took a Google course on marketing and got a certificate.
I cooked and baked a lot.
Helped do home improvement jobs around the house.
I played games: Jackbox, Catan, Clue, Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, and Just Dance. A lot of Animal Crossing New Horizon. If you want to visit my Halloween memory of my island here’s my dream code: 7480-5957-1044
I taught myself to knit and made 3 scarves which I gave away as gifts. I have pictures of two of them.
This year did not go as I had planned. I had so many ideas for this year. I thought about kicking off my return with a cruise. Glad I didn’t. I wanted to go on a road trip with family and another with my high school best friend. I wanted to make career advances, attend weddings, hang out with family and friends I rarely if ever get to see. I wanted to experience American life again, see what I’d missed, catch up, go to all the new restaurants and cafes my friends loved. I wanted to spend hours in a bookstore and library seeing titles I hadn’t seen before.
But I’ve mostly been isolating since March like many people. I’ve seen a few friends outside from a distance while wearing masks, seen a few family members in a similar fashion, but mostly I’ve stayed inside and tried to find a foothold and try to remain calm. I figured after coming home I wouldn’t travel much outside the states. I figured I’d have to acclimate and get a job and wait for future vacation days. I debated a lot about going to Paris and Okinawa. Part of me thought since I was coming home I should save, another part of me thought I might not get a chance to go to these places for quite a while. I’m so glad I went. My time in Paris and Okinawa feels like it belongs in a different year. A sub-year within 2020 before any realization of anything hit.
I did a lot of stuff this year that had been on my creative back burner. I’d been wanting to make youtube videos for a long time, I’d been wanting to knit and I’d been sitting on audio for my podcast for months. I’m so glad I did it all. Now I just have to kick myself into doing the other things I didn’t get around to.
My goals for 2021 are to be gentle with myself and patient and to continue to strive for the things I want but again patiently. I’ve applied to so many things this year and it’s been frustrating to remain calm and patient when 90% of the time there’s just silence and crickets. But I’m proud of myself for putting myself out there more than I ever have before and doing things I’ve been meaning to do. Now I just have to do it more and take care of myself in the process, like going for walks or outside even if it’s just for a moment because apparently being a lump of potato and not an occasionally moving hermit crab makes me sick. Who knew? I’m learning a lot of things about myself.
What helped you this year? What media helped get you through this year? A show, book, game, or podcast? Let me know. I feel like I’ve burned through a lot of content.
May 2021 bring you good things.
Happy New Year.