2020 is finally coming to a close and I’m confident that 2021 will be a better year for all of us. Before we can turn the page, there are a couple of days left of 2020, one of which is my birthday on New Year’s Eve. I hope you’ll join me in a toast to all the good things to come in 2021 with a very large glass of Champagne that you will then chug with fervor. Let’s get into what my 2020 looked like, the good and the bad both professionally and personally, top posts and more.
Looking back at 2020
First, let me start by saying thank you for your support this past year, during what has probably been one of the most difficult years for many of us. Whether you’ve been reading Oui In France since 2012, since yesterday, or somewhere in between, I hope my posts have provided an escape, made you smile, or taught you something. Please know that your emails, comments, and messages always brighten my day, so I appreciate the virtual friendship more than you know. I’m sending you all a hug from afar.
If you are able to celebrate this holiday season, I hope it’s filled with good food and drink, loved ones (even if we can only see them via a screen), and lots of laughs. The holiday season feels weird. It came up surprisingly fast in a year that feels like it’s stood still.
Anyway, as 2020 winds down, I hope you find time to relax and reflect and join me in staying optimistic about what 2021 might bring.
I’m more motivated than ever to continue bringing you snippets of life in France on my blog, YouTube, and on social media.
Now let’s get into the past year.
I’m a proud homebody so if I’m being honest, lockdown didn’t cramp my style in the same way it would for an extrovert. It doesn’t bother me to not see people face to face out at restaurants, bars, and social events multiple day per week. I like staying home. Tom started going stir crazy, but I was perfectly content working on things at home in my own company.
Although there were restrictions on what we could do and how, things were OK for us and I’m grateful we live in a house with a backyard. What felt weird was knowing everyone else was locked down in their homes as well, not by choice but because of a pandemic that has affected so many of us globally. Here are some of the silver linings my readers shared with me.
I work from home, so it was business as usual for me even as we went into lockdown multiple times. I walked Dagny, had my Zoom calls as usual, and did my regular workouts from home. What was weird was Tom being home the first month or so. I think everyone talks so loud when they’re on the phone and don’t realize it. I swear the neighbors could hear him three houses down when he was talking to people at work. But we all do it.
I took pleasure in reading even more so than usual, listening to podcasts, and focusing on self-care. Those are all good things to come out of this very weird year.
That’s not to say that everything was easy, though. I had days full of stress and anxiety, worried about this or that and it was all compounded by the underlying uncertainty of the pandemic. I still feel that, like many of you out there probably do. I find myself less patient than I should be at times and just quicker to react and anger over dumb things. I appreciate Dagny and Tom more than ever.
The good: I had food to eat, had a roof over my head and enough space to be comfortable. I had Tom and Dagny to spend lockdown with so I’m grateful for that.
The bad: I found myself uneasy and more anxious than usual, especially the first couple of months of lockdown as we adjusted to the new normal.
I cancelled my gym membership in January and it coincidentally took effect in March right as we went into the first lockdown. I wasn’t feeling my gym anymore — just dirty, the class selection got stale, and it wasn’t super convenient. I’d much rather work out at home with Peloton and Les Mills On Demand and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. Fitness is something that’s incredibly important to me and has been since college, not only for the body but the mind as well, so I’m fortunate that I have garage space to use as my home fitness area.
I’ll probably jinx it but luckily Tom and I, as well as our close family members, have managed to stay COVID-19 free and I hope that continues. My grandma wasn’t so lucky and passed away back in the spring. I’m scared to get it because I’m assuming I’ll have a bad case with lingering effects. Just anxiety. But who knows what will happen.
The hardest thing for me was not seeing my family this year back in the USA. My nephew just turned two and I wish we were there to celebrate. I look forward to our trips back to FL all year so that has been difficult.
The good: Managed to not get COVID. Incorporated running into my workout routine back in the spring.
The bad: Probably drank wine more often than I should. Family members’ health wasn’t always great. Worried about health a lot (and this doctor’s visit didn’t help).
January kicked off with a trip to Paris where I met up with Molly and then Tom and I saw Olivier Giraud’s show “How to become a Parisian in One Hour.” I remember Olivier making a joke on stage about this mysterious, faraway coronavirus which was something we were just starting to hear about at the time. It was the calm before the storm.
After lockdown when socially distanced travel around France was permitted, Tom and I went to Mont St Michel for the weekend.
Then, we spent another weekend at a local B&B (one I made a YouTube video on) called Manoir de Jouralem.
In September, Tom, Dagny and I went with Tom’s parents on a long-awaited canal cruise to the Charente that had been planned for nearly a year. My parents were supposed to come and we were all going to vacation together. But unfortunately due to COVID, my parents weren’t able to join us. We still had a fabulous trip, but I was really bummed we were two people short.
Then in October, Tom and I went to Amboise, a town along the Loire River just east of Tours. We had never visited before and it was gorgeous. I highly recommend a visit.
I can’t wait until we can get vaccinated in France and for us to safely visit family in the USA. Really hoping that comes sooner rather than later…
The good: Still managed to safely see a few places around France so my readers could visit virtually.
The bad: Wasn’t able to get to the USA to see family.
Work at my day job was cut back at the start of the pandemic, so I put more of a focus on my YouTube channel. I’ve worked really hard to consistently make videos and they’ve been well received.
Just last month, my first bakery video — the one that went viral — hit 2 million views and I couldn’t be prouder of that. I also launched some new designs in the Oui In France shop along with sweatshirts and a few other new items.
Oui In France both here on the blog and on YouTube has continued to grow. I’m about to hit 44k subs! I’m so happy I’m still here and just as driven nearly 9 years later.
The good: Blog and YouTube continue to grow and I’m as motivated as ever.
The bad: I have so. many. ideas. and deciding how I spend my time can be overwhelming.
Top Oui In France Blog Posts of 2020
These are posts that I published in 2020 (not all-time) with the highest number of page views from all sources, as noted by Google Analytics. Cultural comparisons and big lists are always a hit and perform well, not to mention they’re fun to write. Review posts always do well on Google too, as does my fitness content which I’m so pleased to see.
OK, let’s go:
10. French manners and why bonjour is the most important word you’ll say
9. Souvenirs from France: Back-to-school supplies
8. Top tips to feel confident speaking French
7. Meal kit delivery in France: HelloFresh and Seazon review
6. Les Mills On Demand review
5. Why I feel uneasy telling people I live in France
4. What are Peloton low-impact rides and why are they worth your time?
3. My best French language learning tips
2. 77 Little differences you notice about life in France
1. ***MOST READ*** 17 American things I do that confuse French people
Here are 8 posts that didn’t perform as well but are meaningful to me and worth a read:
1. Sharing my backstory and a lesson
2. French culture: Big roundup of what you need to know
3. I hate running and that’s exactly why I’m sticking with it
4. My favorite French gifts on Etsy
5. Why wearing a mask makes it even harder for foreigners
6. A few words on living abroad
7. 5 French truths when language learning is stressing you out
8. Struggling with living abroad?
Thank you again for being here.
Tell me in the comments:
- What’s one thing you learned in 2020?
- What are you looking forward to in 2021?
Wishing you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! See you back on the blog soon!