Last post was a bit depressing because I detailed some of the bad things that happened in the last year. This one is focusing on good things. Don't get me wrong, 2020 was horrible, both personally and overall with the events in the world, but there were some good things.
Like always, we had ambitions to travel last year, but we did not realize those plans, considering. The year did include some foreign travel, though:
- Croatia, customary beginning of the year that we took to see families
- Morocco, Fes, Rabat and Marrakesh, where we went in March, but the trip was abruptly interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We ended up on a grand adventure to return from Africa to Europe because Morocco closed the borders so we had to be repatriated to
- Austria, Vienna, that we didn't see at all since we slept in an airport hotel to wait for the Dublin flight
Back home, the first in the series of lock-downs went in effect so we didn't really have much freedom to travel, but we did meet with friends, another couple, for outside hangouts. When restrictions were lifted we used the break to escape the city with them on a few occasions. In that time we saw:
- Kildare (St. Brigid's well, National Stud and Japanese Gardens), Monasterevin, Emo Court House, Athy, Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens, Wicklow Lighthouse, Rock of Dunamase
- Ticknock forest and Fairy castle nearby
The rest of the time we explored the parks around our place. At their most strict, the restrictions prohibited travel beyond 2 km from people's homes so we didn't have much choice, however the weather had served us well and there were a lot of interesting nooks and crannies we got to see. I don't regret it one bit.
Regarding entertainment events, we didn't attend any in 2020. Early before the pandemic we booked a stand-up comedy show that was promptly canceled and is now waiting to be rescheduled. If it does, I'll mention it.
We shifted most of our shopping online (hello, craft beer). This saved us valuable time. One side effect of restrictions is saving money instead of burning through it (while traveling). Coupled with a better paying job our loan repayment has accelerated a bit, but it's still a long way to go. The other side effect is spending that extra cash on buying things we wouldn't have afforded ourselves otherwise (because we spent it on traveling). We got a really good blender that allowed us to make things like fake cheese and homemade nut butters. Cocktails, too. Like a lot of people stuck at home these days, I tried my hand at jam making and the carrot one I made turned out great. During summer I also resumed making cold brew and recently I've really gotten into Japanese cuisine.
In the department of apartment automation, we also bought a robotic vacuum and programmed it to do its job a few times a week. We just need to make sure the path is clear for it the evening before. Since we're both long haired, it really helps keep the place in order. Room corners are the difficult bits, but they can be handled separately with a normal vacuum. Every now or then we still need to use a normal one to get underneath some of the places our new pet cannot reach.
Drawing efforts were low-key. Vesna got me one of those gloves not to sweat on the graphics tablet and I was drawing digitally just to get a hang of it. Nothing to show yet. It was a learning experience so I would stay in shape.
As for the courses and personal development, Vesna used this time to finish one about the front-end and I watched some videos on DevOps before my new job started. We're in the loop still. No conferences happened even though EuroPython was supposed to be during the summer in Dublin. COVID-19 threw a wrench in the cogs, but they held it online.
We didn't manage to fix up everything we wanted in the apartment, like getting proper desks. IKEA is not receiving its shipment of desks so we are not able to order. Some of the shelving we're planning will require more than just simple assembly, so I'll get my hands dirty this year, rather than 2020. This will most likely include the balcony vertical garden. It was put on hold since I was missing some components and it was too late to start planting things last year. I'll sort it out this year.
We bought some other stuff as well, some more useful than others, we got a trampoline so we can jump up and down indoors. I got a Fairphone 3 and a new GoPro so I can geotag the photos automatically now and take 360 photos. We're still waiting for the place to be complete before I make a 360 tour for the parents. We were considering investing more in the photo equipment, but it didn't happen since all the trips were off.
The citizenship application also got sidelined because of the pandemic. It's much harder to gather all the paperwork and witnesses, and they require submission of original travel documents, which could leave me stranded. In addition, the processing of applications has ground to a halt.
Fingers crossed that this year won't be as bad as the last one so we can all resume our lives and figure out what to do next.