Dear 2021, please be good.

If anyone still reads this blog, Happy New Year ❤ What a year this has been, huh? I find myself constantly coming back to this page, wondering if I should start writing again. I find it almost pointless to write posts about things I’ve been up to… after all, Instagram has become such a great platform for “mini blog posts” and things are just so easily captured on the go with the use of Stories and Instagram Posts, and even videos are now easily shared with IGTV. So really, now that I have actually taken the time to write on here… I might as well write a mini novel I wouldn’t usually write on Instagram. Sounds fair enough yeah?

*taps fingers on keyboard*

I am finding it extremely hard to get in the zone and letting the words just flow.. so let’s start with a bit of “practical writing” just to get things going. Basically, in a nutshell, here are some key points to summarize the year 2020 for me:

March 2020: We all know what started around this time. COVID happened. We went into lockdown. People stayed at home and those who can, worked from home. Those who were in essential services, continued going to work. Kids were being homeschooled. A lot of people lost their jobs. Businesses suffered. The pandemic world brought a lot of grief, but we persevered and tried our best to adjust. We tried to stay positive, and be thankful for the chance to reset. Our lives slowed down. The world as we knew it, changed. Even now, almost a year down the track, it is still a different world. We still cannot travel freely, but we find our own sanctuaries and escapes within our own state borders.

June 2020: My sister got married in Malaysia and we all witnessed it… via Zoom. Isn’t that crazy? To think the original plan was for her to get married in the UK, and we were gonna go travel around Europe for 3 weeks without the kids. Then the plan changed to wedding in Kuching, and we were all gonna go and then spend a week in Bali after the wedding with the family. All those plans were made and then cancelled. Cancelling plans seems to be the recurring theme of the year.

July 2020: My mother was diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer – acute myelogenous leukemia. Just 6 months before that, her blood work was perfectly normal. She was rushed to the hospital when she was burning up with a fever because everyone thought she had COVID. Turns out she didn’t have COVID, but the news of her cancer diagnosis rocked my world. Long story short, despite travel restrictions I did everything I could to make sure I made it home to see my mother. In the end, after going through all the appropriate channels and making sure all paperwork was in place, I made it home. I spent a total of 3 months away from my kids – 2 months were actually spent home / at the hospital with my mother, and 4 weeks were spent in hotel quarantine. 2 weeks in Malaysia, and another 2 weeks in Perth when I finally managed to return to Australia. Looking back, I realize I was so lucky. A lot of Australians are still stranded overseas, unable to return home. A lot of people didn’t manage to travel overseas at all to see their loved ones. A series of events have led me to believe that God had planned for everything to happen exactly the way it did. Firstly, I was SO close to renouncing my Malaysian citizenship.. because Malaysia does not permit dual citizenships. Just prior to COVID, I went and sat for the Australian Citizenship test and passed. I was simply awaiting the date to be sworn in. When COVID happened, all that was delayed. I received the email about the online citizenship ceremony in July just before this all happened with my mother, and decided to ignore it because the only way I was going to make it back to Malaysia was if I was still a Malaysian citizen. Thankfully I renewed my Malaysian passport because my new Australian passport was not going to be ready in time for the originally scheduled Bali trip. Basically, thanks to the fact that I was still a Malaysian citizen, I was able to enter Malaysia. Thanks to the fact that I was still officially a Sarawakian, I did not have to pay for hotel quarantine in Kuching. Thanks to the fact that I am an Australian Permanent Resident, I was able to return to Australia. I had all the right conditions to travel to Malaysia and back, even in crazy pandemic travel conditions.

November 2020: A month after I arrived back in Australia, my mother passed. It was a difficult time, not being there during her last moments, but I am so thankful for the time we did have. I was at peace. She went peacefully and quickly, at home. She didn’t suffer. Just a few days before she passed, we celebrated her 66th birthday on Zoom. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend her funeral also via Zoom. But, better than nothing, so I am thankful for technology. She really only started deteriorating and really struggling the last few days before her life ended. Prior to that, she was always strong and positive spirited and basically pretty normal. The time I spent there, she was still able to walk around, she was eating, laughing, crying, singing, and watching a whole lot of Netflix like a normal person. It was almost as if she stayed strong so I wouldn’t feel bad about returning back to Australia to be with my kids. I have to admit, 2020 truly tested me. Being away from my children for 3 months – I never want to do that ever again. Losing a parent – creates a permanent hole in your heart… I need to move on and write the next thing because I am tearing up already lol.

December 2020: Honestly, I let myself drown in being busy to keep my mind distracted. The way I coped with losing my mother was to stay productive and busy. So, I cleaned the house and reorganised things and created “zen areas” especially in the bedroom and lounge room where we mostly relax and unwind. The wardrobe was sorted. New cushions were purchased for a touch of decor on our bed and the couch. My home office reorganised. Threw a birthday party for Micah. Celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary and my birthday. Got a new oven, yay! Got a new cordless vacuum cleaner, yay! Worked a bit (I will work more this year, I promise! Lol). Went to the beach and some other outings and playdates. Organised end of year gifts for the kids’ teachers. I was also busy planning Christmas. I created an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of everyone’s gifts. I went and purchased all those gifts and wrapped them up. Planned a Zoom Christmas Eve dinner with my family in Malaysia and Spain. Christmas Lunch with the Petersons this year was really quite nice and relaxing. After Christmas, we spent 5 days in Beechworth, camping over New Year’s. That was really nice, and we plan to do it again next year.

So now here I am. New year, and I have new notebooks ready for me to plan out the year.. or at least the next few weeks. Do I even bother though? One thing we’ve learnt by now is that plans can change in a quick minute. But I suppose it doesn’t hurt to think about a few things as we start this new year. I am a Checklist person, so I do have a few things I’d like to include in my Checklist / To Dos this year:

  • Plan my weeks in advance. Especially now that kids are still on school holidays, I’d like to be able to take them to the few places we are still allowed to go and things we are still allowed to do – so they don’t spend the whole month just getting screen time at home.
  • I’d also like to work more. I know right, who says that?? When you love the work that you do, you would want to do it more. I haven’t been able to dedicate a lot of time nor be able to focus on work in 2020 for many reasons, but I feel like 2021 could be the year I get back into the swing of things and really put in more hours and do a lot more. Hopefully with the ease of restrictions, the hospitality industry can come back to life and I want to be there to help.
  • I also have an endless list of home improvement ideas in my head – I should jot them all down and then plan to complete one project each week.
  • As for my me time, I can really only function properly if I have had time to recharge. I’m actually no different to a phone battery.. lol. So, I need to make sure I set aside time for Netflix, massages, girls nights, soaking in a hot bath with bath bombs, scented candles and a glass of wine, you get the idea… 😉
  • Also, I should plan meals for the week. I have always struggled to do this because my cooking decisions each day have always been driven by what I feel like eating on the day.. but this can change. I can anticipate what I feel like eating this week… right? Or at least I can try lol. No promises.
  • Oh, and FITNESS. Ugh… this was so easy to do while I was in Malaysia without any kids or responsibilities. I had all the time in the world so working out 2 hours a day was easy breezy. Ever since I got back home to reality though, LIFE is making it so hard for me to stay focused on keeping up with my daily yoga or long walks. Maybe if I include this somewhere in my weekly plan, it will happen. Maybe. Fingers crossed.
  • Creative time. Whether it’s simply singing on Smule, or getting back to singing at church, or writing blogs, or writing songs, or trying new recipes, or learning a new skill at work e.g. design related or new content platform etc, or creating something beautiful for the home, I want to get more creative this year.
  • Reflection. This could maybe go into the creative section when I write blog posts – because writing allows me to reflect on things at the same time. I just feel like sometimes, we need to slow down and just think about not just what we are doing, but WHY we are doing it. Everything needs to have purpose and meaning, and we need to invest our time doing things that make us feel happy or accomplished.

I should probably end this post properly, but the distractions are happening as we speak. My kids are starting to make whingy and clingy noises, my husband is asking me for help with something, and really I don’t even have time to proofread this lol. So, I am going to hit Publish and be done with it lol.. ugh #mumlife.

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