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!
I LOVE FRENCH CHOCOLATE. I watched your French souvenirs from the grocery store to the end. Hopefully this comment is enough to enter md in the contest for the goodie box.
Hi, thank you but you need to comment on the actual YouTube video itself. Thanks!
Eileen T says
I enjoy reading your posts so much. I miss France and hope to get there as soon as travel is allowed. Thank you for sharing all your experiences.
You’re very welcome!! So happy you enjoy my content.
Rona D says
I just found your you tube channel and blog. I really enjoy your posts on both. Just wanted to say hi and Happy New Year 🙂 P.S. Dagny looks so sweet. We have a tri-color Cavi named Ollie!
Welcome and so happy you enjoy my content. Say hi to Ollie for us!
karen hazlett says
Diane, first of all, Happy Birthday! I always sing the song in French. I’m pretty sure the French do that too. HA. NOT!
I am walking for my fitness..lost 25 pounds so far and my glucose numbers are way down. Diet and exercise rule!
My source of joy has always been swimming in the ocean. Well, they closed my fave spot (only recently and stupidly reopened), so I haven’t been in the ocean since April!!
It’s ok, though, because I love chocolate!
I am making Creme Brulee and Vichyssoise for New Years. Also a French cheese board. Not as many cheeses available here in Hawaii, but Goat Cheese will be a hit.
Mt. St Michel post: we thought it was great to see your video. But sad to see how deserted it looked. I remember being on tour and very much enjoying the island.
We also enjoyed your Canal Cruise. That seems something we might attempt in the future, so thanks for the idea.
We have been watching all your videos, but I just recently subscribed to your blog, so I apologize for not commenting on those. We do comment in the living room…but there’s a chance you didn’t hear that. ha.
I also enjoyed hearing your language videos. Comprehension is key and lacking in my abilities. I’ll work on that. I once had a French person comment that my French was “ancien.” Bummer!
What I learned: never give up. Have faith.
What I look forward to: swimming once again in the ocean and seeing octopuses!
Hauoli Makahiki Hou!
Hi Karen, thank you and so happy you’re loving my videos! I appreciate you and hope to get to Hawaii one day. Happy New Year!
Aussie Jo says
Oh what a year it was
You can say that again!
Love the format of this post and how you broke down the good and the bad. I think it’s helpful to stay focused on the good as much as possible, while recognizing the importance of being honest about the challenges. Glad you all were able to stay safe and healthy.
Funny that you mention January and the early mentions of the virus. Tom started talking about it really early, too. I dismissed it, but looking back, I’m not entirely sure that we didn’t have it in January when we returned from Italy. We actually slept in separate rooms because we were both so sick. I relapsed several times over the next few weeks, just thinking it was a cold and exhaustion from my travel schedule. We’ve stayed well since then, so maybe… but I just have no way of knowing.
I’m worried about the next few weeks in Texas. We’re about to start a push to get more students back in classrooms this month, so I’m worried about keeping myself and my staff safe and healthy – while obviously protecting students. Hope you continue staying well, too.
It’s hard to believe that your trip to Mont St. Michel was only a few months ago. When I read that, I had to stop and think about it because it feels so long ago that we were watching your video of it. Wow. A lot has happened that I don’t remember a lot of it.
Cheers to 2021 and hopefully you getting to visit your family. <3
Thanks Sara, and yeah so important to be open about the challenges and not sweep things under the rug. I can’t live like that. Speaking of challenges, loved your recent post about the state of things after the Capitol incident. Couldn’t agree w/you more. I read it on my phone and didn’t comment but completely on the same page.
Here’s to hoping we all stay healthy! One of my readers just let me know he has COVID now for the second time, so hoping we can get vaccinated sooner rather than later.
Let’s hope we can all put this crazy year (well more than a year probably) behind us soon….
Robert L Murray says
I’m a new subscriber but I have started watching many of your old videos. They are an excellent source of information about living in France. Keep up the good work.
Welcome Robert! Glad you’re here. 😉 So happy you’ve found my videos helpful! Thank you