Man, what. a. year.

It's no surprise that 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. With a global pandemic, protest for racial justice, a heated election, all during a time where the nation feels even more divided than ever, it's hard to believe everything happened all in a span of one year. I've said it multiple times, but this year has felt like three different years for me. The first two months felt like a different time period, then the start of lockdown, and now where we have adjusted to being in a "new normal" of COVID precautions. 

This past year we've learned to adapt to a new way of living, got creative on how to celebrate milestones, and showed our loungewear more love than we ever have before. It was a year filled with anxiety, fear, and so much uncertainty. If you've been a reader for a while, you know that I do a year-in-review post every December where I reflect on the past year's highlights and milestones and share some favorite past blog posts as a way to wrap up the year. There was a point this year where I considered not even doing a year-in-review post because why would I want to reflect on a year that has caused me so much pain and loss? But, the more I thought about it, even though this year had a lot of lows that stood out, there were quite a few highs that I wanted to highlight as well. 

2020 Year in Review

In last year's recap post I wrote that 2018 was the year of new experiences and that 2019 was the year of change and growth. If I had to label 2020 I'd say it was the year of reflection and gratitude. So, here's a peek into my year. 


I started 2020 off excited and hopeful. This was going to be my year. I had planned to travel at least once a month, finally branch out and make new friends in the city and step out of my comfort zone. I was so excited to see what this year had to hold.

I rang in 2020 at a small party at a friend's house. Like most people at the start of the year, I started on my fitness goals on a strong foot. I continued to go to my weekly classes at SweatMethod and was pretty consistent with running at my gym. My weekends consisted of going to date nights with Christian at Discovery Place, showing Christian's brother our favorite spots in the city, trying out new restaurants, and meeting up with blogger friends for lunch dates. I also had the opportunity to travel to Atlanta for a work trip which would have kicked off my first of many trips planned for the year. 2020 was off to such a great start. 


Looking back on it now, it felt like February foreshadowed the rest of 2020 for me. It was the month where I went from being so happy and feeling like I was on top of the world to complete darkness in an instant. 

In February, I took my second trip of the year down to Disney to visit my friends from the Disney College Program. It was definitely one of the best weekends I've had and it felt so good to catch up with some of my favorite people... even though it resulted in me having a knee injury for most of the month. In February I also continued to push myself to go out and be social. The month consisted of going to a 90's themed celebration at Seoul Food, meeting up with some local bloggers, and celebrating my second Valentine's day with Christian. The first half of February had some of my favorite memories of the year. 

And then I got a call on February 18th. 

I've been fortunate in that I haven't experienced a lot of loss in my life. I wrote in last year's round-up that I had lost my grandmother back in March and it was the first time I had ever attended a funeral. I loved my grandmother and it was tough for me to lose her. The call I got in February was an entirely different pain. For the first time, I opened up on Instagram on this passing and the pain I felt. 

Opening up and being vulnerable both online and off has always been a challenge for me, but I've made the decision to try and share more of that on my platforms this year. Despite how joyful and colorful our social media feeds may seem, we're all going through something and sometimes I feel like we lose that human aspect by not sharing those struggles online. I wrote a post on my thoughts and dealing with grief and ended up stepping back from the blog for a few months to heal.


March. The month that I have been looking forward to since last September when I purchased my plane ticket to Peru. I had announced in a blog post back in January that I was jet setting off to Peru with Christian's family and have been planning for this trip for the past six months. We took off at the beginning of the month and although I was still grieving, I figured this trip was exactly what I needed, a break from everything. 

At this time the news of Coronavirus started to pick up and there were some concerns, but there was still a green light to travel. We still took precautions in terms of sanitizing frequently and changing out of our outside/travel clothes as soon as possible. To be honest, as we escaped to Peru for two weeks we thought the news of COVID-19 would die down.

Over the next two weeks, I explored the beautiful country of Peru, saw the most unbelievable sights, and ate some of the best food I have ever had. We had spent a week in Cusco where we were able to hike up Machu Picchu and ended the trip with a few days in Lima. I felt so recharged and inspired by everything I saw during my trip.  It was truly the break I needed. You can see more of my trip on my YouTube channel!

And then the world went into lockdown.

It was the last night of our trip when the news of countries beginning to go into lockdown broke out. Peru had just announced that they were closing their borders and we were scheduled to fly out in eight hours. In a panic, we packed up our belonging and rushed to the airport filled with other travelers frantically trying to get their flights changed to get out of the country before the lockdown was enforced. There was so much fear and panic at the airport that night. It was a completely different scene from the nearly deserted airport we saw just a few short weeks prior. After navigating the airport in the wee hours of the morning, nearly missing our connecting flight and running on barely any sleep, Christian and I were able to make it back to States. My boyfriend actually managed to help us navigate all of our flights back to the states and even drive us home from DC to Charlotte on zero hrs of sleep.

The next week consisted of us catching up on the news of the pandemic, self quarantining, and stocking up on supplies to stay at home for what we thought was only for two weeks. At the time there weren't any requirements to self-quarantine after traveling, but out of an abundance of caution, our employers requested we worked from home for the next two weeks. A week later, North Carolina went into Stay at Home orders. 


April was tough. We found out Christian had tested positive for COVID-19 and a few days later I became symptomatic as well. At the time my roommate/cousin had gone home to stay with her parents while I was in Peru for spring break and ended up staying there for the next month due to the lockdown. In a way, it worked out well since I had the apartment to myself to quarantine in and didn't put my cousin at risk for getting sick, but on the flip side, it was challenging.

I'd like to consider myself reasonably healthy. I'm young, active, and ate reasonably well, but still had a hard time with the virus. While I was sick, I tried my best to downplay my symptoms and how I felt to not make my parents worry more than they already did, but in reality, the virus was hard on my body. Every ounce of energy I had was drained, even walking five steps to my bathroom was a struggle. I had a fever for two weeks, felt nauseous, felt winded from simple tasks, and coughed so much to the point where I would cry because my abdomen hurt so much. And then there was the mental toll of being isolated alone.

It's hard to explain how I felt during those three weeks because outside looking in, it was only three weeks of being alone, but at the time it felt like an eternity. I spent days alone in my bed with just my thoughts and at that time I began to process the feelings and grief I had pushed aside while was away in Peru. During this time my anxiety was at an all-time high and it was the first time I really struggled with my mental health. Despite having Christian's family graciously dropping off food at my doorstep and having loved ones check in on me virtually, I never felt more alone. The best way I could describe it was I was in a dark bubble filled with every negative thought I had in my head and the bubble kept closing in on me gradually. I couldn't see out of it and was just consumed by these negative thoughts. 

Then my fever broke.

I'm not sure if it was because I finally had some good news, but it was like a switch had turned on. The dark bubble I was in began to fade, I slowly started to get enough energy to make my own food, and my spirits began to lift. On my 25th birthday, I got cleared to come out of quarantine, and being able to walk around my apartment complex was the best gift I could ever ask for. I was so grateful.


I spent most of May adjusting to the "new normal." I started posting TikTok dances to help strengthen my lungs and slowly started to create content again. If April was a dark, dense storm cloud May was a clear summer day. My perspective had changed and I was grateful for everything. I now saw being quarantined alone in my apartment as a chance to create content uninterrupted. I felt like I could breathe again.


If 2020 is anything, it's consistent. After coming off a high from recovering from COVID-19 we saw the nation break out into protests demanding racial equality. We took a step back and listened to the Black community as they voiced their frustrations and opened our eyes to the flawed system that has been swept under the rug for centuries. Difficult conversations were made and this time really opened my eyes to the people in my life who showed their true colors. I found my heart breaking again for our country and wrote a post to help fellow Asian Americans talk to their parents about Black Lives Matter.

In June I also packed up my apartment, said goodbye to my cousin, and moved in with Christian. I've had several moves in my life and this one just hit differently. This was my first "grown-up" apartment where I was financially on my own. Last year I worked so hard to land a job back in Charlotte and to me, this apartment symbolized all that hard work and having a job where I could afford rent. Definitely bittersweet. 


At this point in the year, events began to mellow out. Thank goodness. 

The two main highlights for the next couple of months include me cutting off my hair and starting up my Etsy shop. With the past six months filled with major highs and lows, I needed a mellow summer. My days were filled with getting into my groove with my blog, making earrings, and adjusting to living with Christian. To be honest, the days were pretty monotonous and a bit of a blur, but I think mentally the break was much needed. 


Then the election news was EVERYWHERE. I will admit, I never really cared or got too involved in politics in the past. This was actually the first election that I ever voted in. It may be a mix of us being in quarantine for so long that the news of the election was the only thing that had us occupied, or the fact that there were so many policies on the line, or possibly a combination of both, that I began to get involved in the politics for the next month. Tunning into election news and reading up on policies began to be a part of my everyday routine. I wanted to be as informed as possible.

In October I also had the opportunity to travel for the first time since March. 

At this point, I hadn't seen my parents since February when I made a trip home for a memorial service. I've grown very close to my parents in the past two years and have always been able to see them at least once a month. This had been the longest I've gone without seeing them and it was really hard on me. After 7 months of being in quarantine, Christian, my brother, and I made the decision that the risk of seeing them was low enough. My brother lives alone and the three of us have been working from home since March. On top of that, none of us have seen our friends or have gone out since the lockdown. To take it one step further, we made sure two weeks prior to not risk exposing ourselves by not going to the grocery store or any outings beforehand.

With all those precautions in place, we made a weekend trip to see my parents. It was long overdue and the recharge I didn't know I needed. 


November we celebrated having the first female vice president in the White House.

For Thanksgiving, my brother and I made the decision to spend the weekend with our parents and then ultimately decided that would be the last visit we'd make for the rest of the year as it kept getting riskier and riskier as cases began to rise and with me starting to go back in the office for work. The week was spent consuming so much food and quality family time. It was moments like this I had taken for granted every time I had visited before and was glad I got to spend one of my favorite holidays with them. 


December was a complete blur. Seriously, where did the month go?

Pre COVID times I was always so rushed with balancing work, trying to find the perfect gift, and fitting in times to enjoy the holiday festivities that I always wished that I had more time to enjoy the holiday season. Now that the world seemed to be put on pause and we have more time than we know what to do with on our hands, I felt like I was even out of the holiday spirit even more than when I had a jammed pack schedule. 

This was the first Christmas I had spent without my parents. It was strange. I still feel like I'm waiting for Christmas to come since I haven't seen them yet. Even though the holidays felt a little off this year, I'm thankful I was able to spend it with my quarantine crew. 

Key takeaways from 2020:
  • I can no longer use the "I don't have enough time" excuse. I could have all the time in the world, but it doesn't matter unless I actually do something with it. If something matters you will make time for it.
  • A change in perspective is EVERYTHING. Take a step back, zoom out, walk away for a minute. The world may feel like it's crashing down all at once but once you take a moment to look from the outside in, it isn't as bad as it seems.
  • Reason, season, or a lifetime. Those who are meant to be in your life will find a way to be a part of it.
Thank you all for following along for another year! It's been a challenging one for sure, but I am so thankful to be able to share a bit of my life with you all. I'm eager to see what the new year has in store and excited to create more content here in this space!


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