What a year it has been. O_O
I haven’t really been enthused about writing yearly look backs for a while; I hardly even remember what happens in a year, but 2020 is a year I don’t think we will ever forget.
I remember Chinese New Year this year we were back in Penang as usual, and I scrolled through news article after news article about the rise of a virus from Wuhan. I remember pictures of Chinese highways crammed with cars making their way home for CNY and how it led to the spread.
I remember the concern we felt when the virus hit Malaysian shores. I remember wondering whether I should keep the kids home from school, as more and more of their classmates became absent. I remember being very conflicted cos I hate my kids missing school for no substantial reasons hahaha. Penny’s birthday was also around then, and I had planned a swim play date for her with a few of her friends! We decided to go ahead with it because it was just a few of her close friends and it was outdoors.
No regrets cos three days later, Malaysia went into lockdown.
Lockdown was surreal. It started off feeling a loooong weekend with no work to do and it was at first nice and chill. We were one of the lucky ones whose personal finances lockdown didn’t affect too badly and we got into the swing of a routine. In the mornings I would do a home workout, then plan what to make for lunch. In the afternoons I would bake or work from home, or come up with indoor activities for the kids.
We were only allowed to go for grocery and pharmaceutical runs. Police roadblocks were set up and I sweated every time I passed one. I was on totally legit errands – driving to the supermarket a km away from my house but somehow I still got so nervous. I even developed mild agoraphobia from staying home so much that every time I had to go out for supplies, I low key felt anxious that I would “do something wrong”. No matter that I don’t even know what could go wrong, but it just felt weirdly like performance anxiety, that I would just commit some faux pas outside wtf.
The truth is, I actually really enjoyed spending mandated time at home. Life before the virus had been so hectic with work and meetings, school runs, ferrying the kids to activities and maintaining a healthy social life with other adults that it felt good to have no reason to go out. I could stay home and spend time properly with the kids without some errand or to do list nagging me. And I had time to focus on myself and learning actual new things.
Exercise was already something I did pretty regularly. A few times a week, after I dropped the kids at school I would go to a yoga or spin studio and get a class in. When we went into lockdown, we were so confined that I committed to a workout every single day. Along with eating at home, I lost maybe just a kilogram but I think I lost more fat because suddenly I was looking lean wtf. Didn’t last though when lockdown lifted hahaha cos we’ve gone back to being busy and eating out more. I’m still lighter but the fat is back wtf.
Baking and cooking
I like everyone else, turned to baking and cooking at home. It was fun seeing everyone’s dalgona coffee and other culinary creations. I still don’t like cooking but I found more different recipes to add to our menu (mostly Japanese wtf). Always good to have a bigger variety of food right! Some more these are stuff we all like – Korean army stew, Japanese hamburger eaten with rice, Popeye’s inspired chicken sandwiches, salads, saba shioyaki yum.
I started baking again too; I used to bake more before Penny was born but life got in the way as usual. So during the MCO I had the time to experiment and bake more – brownies, bread, cheesecake, all kinds of cookies …. I forgot how therapeutic baking is for me T____T Penny loves helping me in the kitchen too so it’s a nice bonding activity to do with her.
Zoom classes didn’t start until sometime in June? I don’t think I’m a tiger mom leh and I didn’t mind my kids having so much uninterrupted play time. But at the same time I like being productive and I like my kids being productive lol. I also wanted to give them some structure so for two hours a day, we set aside for learning time.
I went on Pinterest and researched ideas for home learning. We did printable sheets. Every day was a designated subject – math, reading, writing, science or art. We played Pictionary so the kids could read the words I wrote for them. I devised card games so they could practice counting. We did science experiments. I created pretend games where they were running a restaurant and had to write out the menu, write down the customer’s orders and make the food using play dough.
I remember this time so fondly. T_____T I was so proud of myself for making the kids learn and have so much fun at the same time. Every day they would demand for activity time or ask what we were doing today oh bless me wtf T________T It did cross my mind that maybe I’d be good at teaching, something I never thought of before hahahaha.
Colony wise, work was at a standstill. We were at the tail end of completing an office for a big client and the lockdown ensured that we couldn’t finish it and the client couldn’t move in. At the same time, our landlord who is the nicest landlord ever, already gave us as much help as she could. So our expenses and rental were running but we had no revenue.
I remember every time the lockdown was extended which was every two weeks, I would have to call the client again and renegotiate and beg them (for my life wtf). T____T It was so stressful because this was a huge account, this client was quite demanding (also I have a serious discomfort with phone calls lolol) and I remember my heart beating damn fast is this what anxiety feels like wtf. Our entire revenue was suffering and everyone else in our team bless them were doing their best to mitigate our losses and I felt I couldn’t let them down.
I definitely grew from this though, although I didn’t get over my fear of phone conversations wtf.
HAHAHA. Yea I picked Tiktok up wtf. And now I am very committed to working on my changes and transitions hahahaha. You can follow me on Tiktok at @4feet9 wtf. Or just find my videos on my Instagram la.
I don’t think I properly shared but I taught myself to play the ukelele by watching Youtube videos hahahaha. Ukelele first entered my mind when Fighter started Standard One – one of the extracurricular activities the school offers is ukelele class wtf. The kids also started piano class this year which got me realizing how much I miss playing. Growing up, I’d learned the electone/organ/whatever you call it until grade 8 but I didn’t take the final exam my excuse was SPM wtf. I hated it but twenty years later I feel the feels wtf.
I chose to learn the ukelele because it’s small and doesn’t take up space, and looks relatively easy to pick up. So I ordered one from Lazada and the rest is history wtf. My transitions are still not very smooth la but I can play most pop songs now since most songs feature the same bunch of chords. I stopped playing as much though because I have tennis elbow AND golf elbow (despite playing neither sport wtf) and it hurts to hold the ukelele too long.
Honestly the best thing that happened to us this year. :))))))
During MCO, the critters and Tim were campaigning for a dog wtf. Because of Fatty’s depression, his sister suggested getting a dog because of you know, all that unconditional love wtf. Fatty was open to try anything, and he and the kids naturally got very excited over the idea. I was quite resistant cos no prizes for guessing who would be the one doing all the work wtf. I don’t want the additional responsibility la!
But majority wins because we ended up getting this fluff. Not to say we didn’t have conflict when we got him okay! Some people around us disapproved but eventually everything settled.
Butters turned out to be the most attached to me cos maybe I got mom vibes or something and he thought I’m his mother wtf. And like all pups, he’s so playful, so loving and forgiving and so funny that our only regret is that we didn’t get a dog earlier. :)))
Welcome to the family, Buttface.
This time last year, Fatty was going through a tough time. One day I asked him how he was feeling, and his answer sounded like it came right out of a textbook for depression wtf. I contacted my brother’s friend who’s a psychiatrist, got a recommendation and set up an appointment in January this year. Fatty had a rough time during the MCO in March and April and my heart ached for him just watching him go through it. But the good news is his therapy and medication is helping. He’s not totally fine yet but it’s okay not to be okay wtf. He’s doing much better now guys.
Fast forward a year, Fatty told me in the car on the way back to Penang the other day that he wouldn’t have believed it a year ago, that he would be driving a car he always wanted, have a dog as part of the family, and feel happy. <3
2020, you were tough. You challenged us, erased our jobs and projects and our incomes. You took away our freedom to travel, to move around, and kept us from our loved ones. You made us fear and gave us a renewed sense of our mortality. But through this year, we also learned new skills, new realizations about ourselves. We learned perseverance and how to take blows. We learned how to slow down and how much of our lives were unnecessary. We valued our time with our parents more and were thankful for our relationships.
And for that I am grateful.
Happy 2021 guys, may it give all of us a break. Hahahaha.