Dear 2021…

Oh, 2021. What a year you have been for me and Josef. It was mostly great, so thank you!

January

Because I had the chance to come home to the Philippines in December, you started positive where I spent the new year with my family back home. Fun times, laughter, tons of home videos, birthdays, etc. What a way to start the year.

February

February came and I had to travel back to Canada. You made me feel sadness, as I had to leave my family again, but Josef and I made a decision to build our life in this country, and so we endured 🙂 2021, I thought you were the year when we COVID would end, but you have only marked the year when we knew we had to learn how to live with this virus.

I continued on with my studies, tons of walk in the park at the peak of winter, visited friends, more studying, while trying to balance all of these with my remote work.

March

March came along. Exciting times as Josef started a new job, went to a birthday party for the first time in a while, more walks in the park with the weather getting warmer, more assignments and school work. Uneventful really, to say the least!

April

I ticked one of the biggest milestones I set for myself – graduating and getting my diploma in Human Resource here in Ontario. Going back to college was hard. The pandemic was hard. Working while studying was hard #mentalhealthmatters. I persevered, with tons of support from work, my family and friends back home, I made it!

Also, spring is easily my favourite season as we can do more walks, bird watching and trying to find birds that we rarely see (they’re sooo hard to spot!), Josef finally studying to get his driving license – overall a productive month!

May

Went full-time at work. Started applying what I learned from school in the real world. I won’t lie – I struggled, but I carried on and kept going.

My carpal tunnel syndrome has gotten worse, and so I went to the doctor to see what they can recommend. He, similar to my previous doctor in the Philippines, has suggested to have surgery, but I decided against it (you know… my fear of needles and all!). They had me wear a wrist brace, which actually helped a lot, so that solves it – at least in the interim.

June

My birthday month is always fun! The peak of summer – the sun is out, I got my first dose of the COVID vaccine. Josef has started playing basketball again, more parks discovered, went to different food places (yes, Ontario has started to slowly open up), and booked our first trip outside the city!!!

July

We went to Toronto – which was just an hour and half drive away from London. We were very tourist-y. LOL! We shamelessly visited all the usual tourist spots, took lots of photos, ate tons of tasty food, discovered more parks, and went to the beach!

2021 also blessed us with another milestone – we bought us a car, named Pri2x (if you’re thinking a Prius, you’re right! How very suburban of us LOL). She has already taken us places 🙂

August

August was all about driving and traveling to different places around Ontario – we went to the Lion Safari, Niagara falls, museums, Grand Bend, etc.

This month was a lot of fun, until I got sick.

I wasn’t eating properly and on time, and I did not take care of my health. My peptic ulcer has recurred, and Josef has rushed me to the ER. I have never seen him panic as he did when I said I needed to go to the hospital as I right away knew what it was. It wasn’t serious, and was discharged the same day, so all is well, aside from the fact that I needed to stay away from coffee for a few weeks! Oh, boy! Was that a struggle!

September

Then came September! I felt the healthiest I’ve ever been. We travelled to one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen in my life – Montreal! The culture, the beautiful people, the iconic landmarks… It was just special 🙂

In the same month, we got super great news from my brother! His visa got approved for England. Exciting times as he has been working so hard to get this processed and approved and finally, his dreams to work there as a nurse has finally come to fruition.

We also went to see the country’s capital, Ottawa. The Parliament Hill architecture was just beauty!

October

Towards the end of the year, the province has started to allow opening of the arenas and other entertainment venues! And so, we went to the world’s oldest continually operating baseball grounds, which is conveniently located in our city – Labatt Park. We watched a live baseball game for the first time. Josef had to explain what was happening as I had zero knowledge of baseball – I bet he had a lot of fun doing that! LOL. Bonus treat was our city team won the championship!

The Toronto Raptors was also in town for their practice game. Luckily Josef won tickets for two at work and got us VIP seats.

Also in October, we wanted to try camping out, while the weather wasn’t too cold. There are a few great campgrounds in the city and so we set up a site and stayed overnight! It was a great experience for us both. A first and definitely will not be our last.

Lastly (Yes, October was one busy month!), we watched our first ever NBA game live!!! OMG it was so exciting. Basketball is the sport that both of us enjoy, and so being in the Scotiabank Arena, with fans, was an experience we both really got quite a thrill out of. Superstar-wise, seeing Luka Doncic play was just awesome!!!

November

More parks, shopping (LOL), bird watching– I saw a blue jay for the first time!!! That was the highlight of my year! We decorated our home, and set up our Christmas tree 🙂

We also started a new tradition where we go to a new restaurant every Friday. That went well for a few weeks until Ontario decided to lock us down again!

December

December was bitter sweet. I felt exhausted. I didn’t realise how tired I was until I got to the end of the year, and I was just drained and I couldn’t function. This pandemic has hit me hard. This is when I realised how important a mental health break is, and having social connections are. It has impacted my work, and my well-being. With the help of my boss, and Josef, I powered through and ended the year well.

We spent Christmas in Quebec City, both of us took some time off work and just enjoyed each other’s company. The pandemic has changed the both of us, and we needed to reset and learn from the last two years of being locked down and look towards a better future, and really took the weeks of time off to reconnect 🙂

2021 was tough, fun, and everything in between, as most years. However, with this pandemic, it has given us more challenges, that I thought I could easily avoid, but failed. Miserably. I learned to never underestimate the power of connecting with people. That is important. Marriage. That is important. Invest in what is important to you and everything else should fall into place.

Thank you, 2021.

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