2020. A year of immense pain and suffering for so many around the world. A year of sacrifice and difficult work by our front line workers. A year of virtual meeting exhaustion. And yet within this darkness there was light – humanity helping one another, kindness, environmental change and incredible advances in science.
For me, 2020 has been a weird and whacky year – one that I am grateful for at the same time. I turned 40, learned how to snowboard, bought a house, went back to school, got a new job, recognized the need for rest amid a pandemic and took the last two weeks of 2020 off to finally chill and unwind. While I miss my family terribly, I am very grateful for the good things that happened this year. Below is a recap of the year, with a few pics!
January brought reflection and reset, as well as some brainstorming for the things I wanted to do in my 40th year since it was fast approaching. I learned to snowboard and didn’t break any bones! Shout out to Kelly who was super patient as I learned and to Ryan, Lisa & Morgan for being excellent slope pals! I figured acquiring this skill was important since my twin niece and nephew were doing it, as well as my brother, his wife and Kelly. Plus, snow sports are fun, right?!
February was a fun month. We visited Parc Omega and fed the animals carrots, and had a lovely Valentines Day lunch at Chateau Montebello. I turned 40, starting the day on an early plane ride back from DC and received 40+ random acts of kindness from my friends and colleagues all around the world. 🥰 I spent the day chillaxing at the Nordik Spa with my besties. We held a little party at the local pub down the street, and the kittens enjoyed the helium balloons with ribbons attached!
In March, we took a trip to the Dominican Republic and went all out to celebrate Kelly finishing his Harvard Program and my 40th birthday. It was an amazing place, and we had a blast! We ate, we chilled and we kept an eye on the news as the whole coronavirus thing seemed to be dominating the news. On our 2nd last day there, flights were cancelled from Europe to the US and our Prime Minister started making announcements requesting that Canadians abroad come home. Little did we know what was to come. Thankfully we had no issues getting home, and we self isolated for 14 days on our return. We also brought back a few rolls of toilet paper from the resort since we heard things were getting scarce in Ottawa.
The self isolation was weird at first, but our friends helped us out – thank you Lindsay! I worked from home via a cell phone for 2 weeks which was totally bizarre. I baked scones and bagels. We played golf on the back porch. The kittens were entertained by the local wildlife. Despite everything being cancelled and not being able to go anywhere, we were safe and still had jobs. The introvert in me rejoiced, while the extrovert missed seeing my friends and singing.
The lockdown continued into April. I lended my team’s talents out at work to some others who needed help. I got a work laptop and was able to start doing more than I ever thought I could from home. The sunshine started to come out more, and we went for daily walks which was nice. Fresh air! At the end of April, Ginger started having seizures. This was terrifying, as I didn’t know how to help her, but at least I was working from home and could keep an eye on her. After many tests and a few spells, out of the blue we realized she had been licking a himilayan salt lamp near her bed. We removed it and since then she has been healthy, for which we are eternally grateful.
In May, we celebrated Kelly’s birthday with key lime pie and on our daily walks we saw many baby geese! They were adorable. I rolled up my sleeves and became a wine fairy, delivering wine and goodies to a bunch of random people in my neighborhood and some friends and colleagues who I thought could use a lift. That was super fun and brought me a lot of joy! At the end of May, we bought a house in the west end of the city. It all happened very fast, at the exact right time like it was meant to happen.
In June, I started the Harvard Senior Executive Fellows program, which was a leadership program delivered online with participants from around the world. It was exhausting and incredibly challenging, but I loved every minute of it and grew so much! I read a ton every day and met some amazing people and professors in the process. It was a full time program for a month, and the timing was perfect from a work perspective. The kittens were great study buddies too, often making appearances in my zoom classes.
In July we received the keys to our new house and celebrated with bubbly! We started renovations right away to finish our basement and slowly moved our stuff to the new place. Kelly started a new job working from home, and I was asked to step into an Acting Director role. While this was in my long term career desires, I didn’t think it would come this fast! It was a whirlwind time learning a ton from my incredibly smart and kind colleagues.
July and August were filled with lots of moving things and getting settled in the house. The basement renos finished (with awesome results!!) and we started exploring the neighborhood a bit more, sampling the local restaurants and going for more walks. We also golfed every Saturday which was fun and a great way to socialize outdoors in a socially distant and safe way.
In September, we tasted some local wine, continued painting and working on the house and entertaining the cats. In October we wrapped up golf for the season, and celebrated a covid safe Halloween at a farm outside of the city with our neighbours. I also hit a bit of a wall – I had been running at full steam since March with the house, job change and covid weirdness. My body shut down over Thanksgiving weekend and I realized I was exhausted and needed a break. I took a realistic look at my own boundaries, where best to focus my time and learned exactly what I needed to decompress. I’m grateful to many people for helping me through this and thankfully I bounced back with a new outlook on the importance of wellness.
November brought another round of whole 30 eating, as I wanted to bring more clarity to what I was putting in my body. It went really well and it was the perfect time to focus on our health. I also went to a nutritionist and found out that I have an intolerance to wheat, bananas and almonds! Very interesting. We also watched them US election with the rest of the world.. even Marble watched the results come in!
And this brings us to December! We made a decision early on to stay put in Ottawa this Christmas. While it was weird seeing my family virtually (having not seen them in person for a year), I am grateful that everyone is healthy and still had a good holiday. We have been eating and relaxing and watching a lot of tv. The cats have been super cute and very playful through it all. Honestly, it has been wonderful to hunker down and to truly rest. Even though Ottawa is in lockdown right now, I’m hopeful that 2021 will be a better year for us all.
Wishing you all the best in 2021 and beyond. Looking forward to giving you hugs when it is safe to do so! Stay healthy, happy and hopeful my friends! Cheers! 🥂
Happy New Year from Ottawa with tons of love,