2020: The Year in Snapshots

It’s recap time and it is one of the many things about the end of the year that I love. So here it goes, in snapshots.

January: Month 0

January is always month 0 for me because it takes a while to emerge from the festive December mood and get back to normal operation. This year month 0 took on a new meaning, which I’m sure I don’t need to explain. The last month of what passes for normalcy in this day, age, and place.

February: Crowd survival

I went abroad on my own for the first time in 20+ years, I shared enclosed space with 1,000+ other humans, talked to half a dozen, interviewed a couple and had dinner with two dozen. Oh, and I also saw the Santa Maria del Fiore, the Milan central station and the Alps from above. Also had a near-death experience during turbulence. I concluded I would die a happy, fulfilled person. Good thing I survived, though, because it turned out I’ve yet a lot of books to write to be fulfilled.

March: Remoteworld

March was the month when we all fully appreciated Big C.’s all-contingencies thinking, which made him get an extra PC specially for the cottage where we self-isolated the moment the lockdown was announced, so we didn’t have to share laptops or emergency shop for one. It was also the month we fully appreciated primary school teachers. No words of praise would be enough.

April: Living nightmare

I’ve never been much of a traveller but when authorities placed checkpoints at the exits of all the big cities making it impossible for people to enter or exit any of these cities without a good reason (work, caring for a sick relative, health emergency) I was trapped. Literally. I had nightmares of being denied entry into Sofia and then being denied entry into Stara Zagora (the city we need to pass through to reach our village) and us ending up living by the highway. It almost happened. The police almost didn’t let us into Sofia when we had to go. 25 years of smoking did not age me as much as the month of April.

May: The glory of adaptation

We saw the end of the school year from a great distance, we settled at our new semi-permanent residence, we sowed seeds (and planted shalots), and started getting used to the idea that this whole virus thing was not going to go away in a couple of months as we had naively believed at the beginning. I started making plans to move to the country for good.

June: Sedatives

This was the month I had to accept that browsing for Covid-19 news on a daily basis affects my brain, so I bought sedatives for the first time in my life. Nothing major, just a herbal mix of peppermint, valerian, and hawthorn, but a first is a first. Access to great open spaces of nature helped.

July: Vacation

Okay, this picture is from June but it illustrates the deliberate doing-nothingness I strive for every July. It’s the month I was born in, it’s often the hottest month of the year, so it is really conducive to doing-nothingness. Pandemic or no pandemic, I stuck to tradition and spent a whole week away from any kind of news. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: do it as often as you can, it’s better than yoga.

August: Travel in the plague year

August is normally a no-travel month for me because it’s the deadliest month of the year in my family history. Also, the heat makes drivers even more dangerous. This year, for pandemic reasons, we had to move our annual visit to Romania from June to August and after we survived that, I was up for more so we went up the mountain (the Balkan that’s given its name to the peninsula) to one of the most revered monuments in Bulgaria. Which happens to be at the end of a long, winding road and about a thousand stone steps. I learned I had underestimated my acrophobia but I enjoyed most of the trip, even the views, which, in my case, were very literally breath-taking.

September: Masked-up

Self-isolation in the country during the summer holidays is very different from self-isolation during the school year, especially when you optimistically try for normal and use the public transport to and from school. All I can say is the person who invents a way to stop glasses from fogging up from people’s breathing will be rich. P.S. No, contacts are not a one-size-fits-all solution, sadly.

October: The calm before the storm

We had a classic autumn, complete with colourful tree leaves, mild temperatures and a major decline in traffic, which made the air a lot more breathable than usual. People were getting sick in greater numbers but I wisely stayed away from this sort of news out of a sense of self-preservation. School was going great.

November: The storm

Big C. got sick on November 1 with fever and vomiting, which switched to a cold in a couple of days. His antigen test was negative but by the end of that week he’d lost his sense of smell and he still hasn’t regained it. The GP’s conclusion, over the phone, was Covid-19. She even said “Congratulations, you had it, now you can relax.” Meanwhile, Little C. caught a UTI and she was diagnosed with myopia. By the end of the month I looked like Vlad, pictured above, only I felt a lot worse than him since I wished to crawl up somewhere and die.

December: Still around

We’re all still here, reasonably healthy and happy, and I’m writing again after a two-month pause. It’s like I’m breathing again, which is weird. I didn’t know I was addicted to writing. Anyway, the world’s still quite a depressing place to be in but we inadvertently got an anti-stress system to help us through. His name’s Vlad and he’s going to be one big cat.

Have a better 2021, everyone!

Oh, I almost forgot. Have a free book about planes and mysteries and let me know what you think.

6 thoughts on “2020: The Year in Snapshots”

    1. Happy New Year, JM! I don’t think I’ve ever hoped for something so fiercely as I hope it will be even a tiny little bit better. And best of luck with your publishing work! If you need any help at all that I can give with my limited set of skills let me know.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have the feeling that this year will be at least a tiny little bit better. Just a guess. I’m definitely on the lookout for content and guest submissions to the new site, if that’s something that would interest you. Fantasy stories, fantasy book reviews, or general writing tips. Anything like that. Your skills are far from limited! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Great, this is something I can do. 🙂 Let’s hope you’re right about 2021. It starts on a Friday, so that should be a good sign. Happy New Year!


  1. Vlad the Anti-Stress System ? .. Doesn’t have quite the same ring…
    He looks amazing..
    Trying to source one for ourselves,competition is stiff, and apparently, our garden walls might not be high enough. Rescue centre concerned about farm dogs. Have never met a cat unable to swear and spit at meek, obedient farm dogs. Rescue centre also required photos of where the cat will sleep too. I thought of sending photos of all beds, sofas, chairs, decided not to risk a black mark.

    Liked by 1 person

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