My 2020 Recap

Is she still talking about 2020? Yes, I am! I think it is good to recap the year and slowly come to terms with it.

First of all, the good things (my year in books is still coming up as an extra post):

My favorite series:

  1. Great British Bake Show
  2. Outer Banks
  3. Dash & Lily

My favorite movies (from when movie theaters were still open):

  1. Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey
  2. Little Women
  3. Parasite

My favorite memories:

  1. our wedding
  2. the day when the kittens arrived at our home
  3. our two weeks of vacation in Maine

And now the full and unadorned truth:


I was all excited about 2020. It would be such a great year – I had lived in the City for six months and, after settling in, I would now enjoy it to the fullest. But first Rich and I went on a trip to the Catskills on Martin Luther King Day weekend. We had rented the cutest little house via Airbnb and I relaxed, while Rich went skiing. Less than a week later Rich proposed to me. My biggest worry at the time was that I didn’t have my engagement ring yet. As Rich has given me a single diamond and we went to choose a ring together, I had to wait six weeks for the ring to be made.

Week in review: 13 – 19 January 2020


I spent my one week of winter break at home and explored more of New York City with my friend. One day we walked through Greenpoint. The next day we bought my wedding dress in SoHo. Yup, after some online research, I tried on exactly one dress and immediately bought it. After the break I went to Washington D.C. for a professional development. Besides the interesting workshop, I was excited because my friend from Boston attended it as well. Together with another friend, we stayed longer and spent a whole weekend in Washington. I finally got to visit the Museum of Natural History – because dinosaurs!

Travel: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - janavar


At the beginning of March people started to seriously talk about that weird virus that was spreading easily and made people really sick. We laughed it off and I even attended an international Model United Nations conference in the City with a group of students. We even visited the United Nations building once. Anyways, the virus hadn’t yet made it to New York, right?! Yes, we were immensely dumb and I’m sure the virus laughed at us wickedly. Only days later it was actually discovered that the virus was already in the City. My school closed down and wouldn’t reopen before summer break. Instead I started to teach virtually, which was a very different experience. At least Canavar seemed happy that I spent so much time at home. I attended my last blogger event with Moodmatcher and the Makeup Academy of NYC. During those weeks, Rich, as a hospital doctor, experienced Covid-19 at first hand. The City hospitals stopped dealing with most other diseases and filled floor after floor with Covid patients.


We initially wanted to get married on the 6th of April, but postponed that indefinitely when it was clear that, due to the travel ban, my parents weren’t allowed to enter the U.S. Then we thought we should still get married on that date. Then we got Covid-19. First Rich had a fever and I developed one about one and a half days later. While Rich felt better after a few days, I was properly sick and lay in bed for three weeks. I don’t remember much of April, except for that it sucked big time. The positive thing was that Canavar kept me company at all times and just stayed in bed with me. I was in terrible pain with a cough, the worst headaches ever, a fever and a stomach flu at the same time. There were times where I hardly made it to the bathroom. My body was so weak that I mostly slept. I didn’t feel like doing anything really. For a while every time we thought I’d get better, I got actually worse. I still remember that Rich even had to call my school to report me sick because I wasn’t able to do anything at all anymore. April was an absolutely horrible month for us to sum it up.


Funnily enough I don’t remember much of May even though I finally felt a lot better. I worked from home and had to catch up on all the tasks I hadn’t done in April. In my free time went on a lot of walks through the empty City. My birthday happened, but I actually don’t remember it much. I guess it didn’t seem that important.


Eventually Rich and I decided to try to get married for a third time. We chose the 4th of June – and the wedding actually happened. We met our one witness, who was also our only guest, and our marriage officiant in Bryant Park on that Thursday evening (after working the whole day) and finally said yes. It felt amazing and we only called our families afterwards to let them know that we had finally succeeded. Another highlight was that we ended up on the NYTimes wedding page – which is huge (you might know that if you ever watched Sex and the City). Besides, June was characterized by the Black Lives Matter protests, which we also participated in. The last Friday of the month was also the last day of school and then I was off for the summer.

Third Time Lucky - We Are Married | janavar


I started to relax a little and went on vacation with my friend – actually my only friend who I saw during the worst Covid months. We drove to Long Island and spent almost a week near and in the Hamptons. That was a wonderful vacation: We spent a lot of time on beautiful empty beaches, visited Montauk Lighthouse, went to a few wineries and just enjoyed those days. At the end of the month Rich and I went to Maine to stay with his extended family in the family homestead. That week was also fantastic because we were so far away from everything else. We just relaxed and I eventually decided to even stay a little longer, but …

Cryder Beach in Southampton


… when Rich got home, Canavar was very sick. Even though Rich took him to the vet immediately, he died that afternoon. It turned out that his upper body was full of cancer. But the brave cat had never shown that anything was wrong with him. I returned immediately to the City, but arrived to late to say goodbye to my beloved cat. That was a really hard time because Canavar and I had lived together for 9 years and he had always been there. It made me realize how lucky I was that I had had such an amazing cat and got to spend so much time with him during lock down. But I also wish that he was still alive and healthy. Anyway, after Canavar died, I was actually glad when work restarted at the end of August because it gave me something to do.


School started again and even in person, but with a totally new set of rules and regulations. Still, on Labor Day weekend Rich and I left the City once more to go on a short overnight trip to Peekskill in Upstate. It is really not that far away, but the little town felt like a nice change. We took a few walks, watched the sun setting on the Hudson, visited an apple orchard and a few quaint towns. The rest of the month I was busy with getting used to the new way of school, which was also stressful. Make sure the students keep their distance. Teach kids in class and some at home (they stream the lessons via iPads). Come up with new ideas for lessons which hardly allow partner or group work.


Come October, come fall break. Even though Rich warned me that it would be too cold, I persuaded him to go with me to Maine again. Just a week before that we had adopted the two cutest little kittens. Twin sisters that we called Hasi 1 and Hasi 2 until we’d get to know them better. We took them with us and they did great in the car – mostly they slept. Together with them and also with Rich’s family, we had a great week in Maine. It turned out to be much warmer than expected and we even spent several afternoons in the lake house. The break was much needed and we returned with a lot of fresh energy to New York.


This month started with the U.S. presidential elections and it was terrible. Nobody knew the exact outcome and it took several days until Biden was declared the winner. That Saturday morning we joined the celebrations in Times Square. The result meant for us that we would stay in the U.S. for the next years. Besides November meant working a lot, but we also took the time to go ice skating in Bryant Park together. That lead to me remembering how much I love ice skating. So I bought skates and ended up skating regularly (the rink is for free when you bring your own skates). Eventually Thanksgiving came up and we cancelled on Rich’s family as Covid cases were rising everywhere again. Instead we stayed at home and cooked a chicken and plenty of side dishes. We also played and snuggled a lot with our kittens, who at that point had already gotten their names: Hasi 1 became Artemis (Arti) and Hasi 2 became Lotti.


Covid cases increased rather fast and my school was closed for a week. Longer for some years. Especially the uncertainty if school would be in person the next day or remote was nerve-racking. At least Christmas time was there and I enjoyed it to the fullest. We decorated our apartment, although we decided against a tree because of the kittens. And then the first snow storm of the season and Christmas break arrived – and everything just calmed down. Rich and I visited Dyker Heights to see the enormous Christmas decorations and we finally went to the One World Observatory. Besides that we spent a lot of quality time at home. Alone again because Covid. On New Year’s Eve we even went to sleep before midnight because it was time for 2020 to just end.

© janavar

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