2021: A Year-end Review

I can’t believe another year has passed! I feel like I have not had any significant accomplishments this year; everything seems to be blurring with the year 2020. At least that’s how this all feels to me. Like the year 2020, I do not think I can come up with 21 highlights for myself during the year, so I guess this one’s another brief (than normal) writeup of what happened to me this year 2021.

Perhaps I will start with getting myself a new phone in January – after 6.5 years! Ok yeah, it doesn’t sound like a good start and I am sounding a bit shallow. :D But I guess I should say it’s something that made me excited in January, whilst dealing with my yearly ‘busy season’. To be honest, I was more excited with how good the camera is! And so the photo below is one of the firsts I took with my new phone during a snowy day in January.

February was kind of uneventful. However, there were some important dates that we thought we ought to celebrate. Our 2nd Wedding-ish Anniversary (combined with V-day)! Since we were still in lockdown, we just celebrated at home with some takeaway food and home-baked cake. :)

Still in lockdown, most of my free time in March was spent walking by the canal (River Kennet) and up to Fobney Island Nature Reserve. I was actively participating in an office event where, as a group, we had to complete the equivalent distance between London and Singapore through different exercises (whatever we fancy!). And so everyday, I saw to it that I contributed enough to the team; I was probably doing outdoor walking/running 3 times a day in March.

April, and the lockdown restrictions were slowly being lifted and that meant that we were able to meet up with friends and families. Therefore, most of our weekends in April (and May) were spent catching up at friends’ or families’ house(s). It was great as we were able to spend time and play with Phil’s nephew who we only met once in December when he (the nephew) was barely a week old!

And oh yes, Phil and I got our first COVID-19 jab by the end of May.

June was the first time Phil and I went out for a meal in a restaurant in town – the last time we went out eating was August 2020, when UK introduced the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme. It felt liberating haha! Maybe a little weird. I don’t know how it felt exactly.

We also managed to go to a UK beach, in Boscombe – something that both Phil and I haven’t really done together!

June was a crazy month for me as I had a 30June deadline at work. So I was so looking forward to get a week-long break, which we managed to schedule the same time as our friends’ wedding. This was sometime in mid-July; we went on a road trip up in the north of England. We visited Liverpool, Manchester, and a little bit of Bakewell in the Peak District National Park, before the weeding. Then after the wedding, we went on to the Lake District and did some hiking! It was quite a good break and we were lucky with the weather (I mean more than lucky as it was during the week when the temperature was at its highest!)

Bonus: Summited the highest peak in England, Scafell Pike! And traversed a challenging ridge, Striding Edge! :D

Most of our weekends in August were spent catching up (again) with friends and family, making the most of the British summertime!

Also I managed to do some new paintings during those times when I start to panic. I guess August is a month where I am starting to get anxious again because of another upcoming deadline, which is 30Sept! And oh, August was the time I decided that I will train for the Reading Half Marathon, which was held on 7Nov.

September, as always, was a crazy one. I needn’t elaborate more, but I was struggling to fit in my weekday runs in between hectic calls and late night working. I was making up and trying so hard to stick to my weekend runs, per the training plan. Despite the crazy month, Phil and I still managed to participate in the Cancer Research Charity run on one weekend; we did the 10k run! It wasn’t my best but I was glad I did it anyway. :)

October, again, I was dying to get another break from work after all the madness of September. I was feeling exhausted and I needed some time off to think things through. You know, decisions and career plans. :) I took most Fridays off to make sure I make use my leave days. We visited Bristol and then off we went for a hike in the Brecon Beacons National Park! Bonus: Summited the highest peak in the South of Wales, Pen Y Fan!

End of October, we also spent a long weekend with Phil’s uni friends back up north in Shrewsbury – mostly spent the weekend eating, drinking and playing a lot of board games. I got to squeeze in a day of hiking and a short run as part of my training for the half marathon. :p

Also in October, because I was getting a bit bored, I tried to search for flights and started to think about getting back into international traveling. I thought it’s been nearly 2 years since our last flight, so maybe we are ready to go for it again. At the time of booking, it looked like some countries have less restrictions. And then so we decided that we are going to visit Jordan! And we booked the flights for a trip in December!

November was eventful for me, apart from of course having to celebrate my birthday with friends, it was also the time where I did a proper half marathon race! Participating in the Reading Half Marathon was quite fulfilling, personally. Running it felt good, except the last part where it was quite tiring after running up the hill of Russell Street. Nonetheless overall, I think it was a good experience and I am very glad I did it! And completed it within the time way ahead of my target, so that was a bonus! ;)

December is still my most favourite month, though the first few weeks were crazy because of another work-related deadlines. What else drives me crazy these days huh?? But at least I had something to look forward to! Or so I thought… Because the last few days of November coming into December gave us a bit of a worry because of the new variant (Omicron) that was quite scary and was causing some sudden changes in travel restrictions!

But we got through with our plans anyway, mostly. :)

The trip to Jordan was amazing!!! Apart from the stress/worry related to the PCR or lateral flow tests that we had to take, the rest of the trip was alright. Ok I am downplaying it. We spent about 7 full days in Jordan starting from Amman and ending in Aqaba and our every day in Jordan has been nothing but amazing. Sights, people, food, et cetera, were just great and we had a fantastic holiday. Then we also spent 2 full days in Milan before coming back to the UK just a few days before Christmas!

After the amazing trip in sunny Jordan, coming back to UK was a bit depressing – just because the days were mostly gloomy and wet. So I thought after going out and about for more than a week, it would be better to stay indoors and have some quiet time with the family. And so Christmas and the last few days of the year were spent up at Phil’s parents house, where we got to rest, watch a lot of TV, eat a lot of food, and get a lot of rest. Much needed before Phil and I get back to work, the thought of which is now slowly giving me some sort of anxiety. :[

But no, let me just enjoy the last few days of 2021 so that I’ll be fully ready for 2022! As of date of writing (28Dec), I have about a week before going back to work. To be honest, I am beginning to feel anxious but I thought I still have some catching ups to look forward to in the next coming days. So I better cheer up and make the most of my holiday break!

Anyway, I thought to also mention that I managed to finish book 5 of Harry Potter (after 5 years (?) since I started reading it? ugh!) at Christmas day. And also managed to finish watching Season 2 of Emily in Paris within 2 days. :)

Now whilst 2021 doesn’t sound to be so eventful and exciting, overall I think I had a good year. Health-wise, I am glad that most of my immediate family and friends, both here and back home, have had the COVID-19 vaccines (and booster jabs for some). It’s giving me some comfort and makes me worry less., especially with my family back in the Philippines.

We spent a lot of weekends catching up with family and friends, managed to travel abroad after almost 2 years and not catching the virus (fingers crossed), achieved some mini personal goals like running the half marathon (hahaha), etc. There were some goals that I tried starting this 2021 that I didn’t quite fully achieve (like learning how to drive), so I guess will try again in 2022. I have some decisions that I held back on this year that I am hoping I’d push for in 2022. So we shall see. :)

Anyway, cheers to all we’ve accomplished in 2021 and good luck to fulfilling carried-forward and/or new aspirations in 2022! Happy new year and may we continue to stay safe! ❤

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