“Well, that was different…”

“Lousy, but different” as my Muppet friends Waldorf and Statler would say. That just about sums up 2020. Here we are on New Year’s Eve, waiting for a do-over in 2021. I’m not sure much will be different really, at least for a while, but there is a psychological relief to putting this year behind us.

We woke up this morning at 5:30 to the power going out. Not a huge deal, but it is annoying to go outside and try to get the generator revved up in the dark. Also, not everything in our house is hooked up to the generator’s power, so for instance the coffee maker wouldn’t work because for some inexplicable reason none of the plugs in the kitchen are powered by the generator. “Thanks for one last kick in the balls 2020” Gav moaned. I immediately replied “shhhh there is a whole day to get through, who knows what could happen?”

We are still here in Yangon, trying to make the most of our stay-at-home vacation. We actually did get notice that we technically could fly to the beach (after a negative covid test) and not have to quarantine, but it turns out that actually once at your resort you are not allowed to leave the resort or go to the pool or anything, so actually that just sounds like quarantine with a good view and a hefty bill. No thanks! Gav can just put some crashing waves sound effects on and I can save some money. We got together with a few friends for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas in the pool. No icebergs, but we did all get custom beers!

Best part-under “I checked my temperature” it just says HOT. Glad it didn’t say SWEATY

As with everyone else in the world, Christmas was reduced to a series of zoom calls with various family members. We tried to get a nice family photo as well to commemorate the occasion, but Nell wasn’t having it.

We’ve obviously had a lot of time on our hands over this break. Gav has spent it in the school maker space trying to build something, but every day comes home saying “oh no I forgot this one piece” and keeps going back to cut more wood. I will report back if anything ever actually develops. He did finish one thing, a shelf that is just a piece of wood that he added to his wardrobe with some brackets. It took him 4 hours to get the piece of wood cut using the school CNC, then he came home and after a lot of swearing got it drilled into place, but the screws are too long so are definitely a threat to anyone reaching in there. It has allowed him to see more of his wardrobe, leading to exclamations like “did you know I have EIGHT pairs of trousers??” Usually he just cycles through the same two, so here’s hoping he branches out.

I have spent a lot of time cancelling more planned trips (we are on number 14 for the year) and torturing myself by looking back at my “one year ago” memories on my phone picture album. Sri Lanka- we sure are glad we took that trip when we did. I don’t know what to think about 2020 really. I mean, globally it has been a disaster (COVID, Brexit, racial tensions, murder hornets) but we also got rid of Trump, Gavin and I have our jobs and our health, and we live in a good climate if the only thing to do is hang out in your driveway. Our Bougainvillea has decided to really freak out in this past week which is adding to the ambience in said driveway. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that you have to be grateful for the small pleasures.

So, tonight we will have a small toast to the new year (probably at like 8:30 right before we go to bed) with a bottle of wine that feels very appropriate.

Yes, that IS a Burmese sparkling wine made in the Shan state. So what else would you call it?? Shan Panya, the crappy version of Champagne- much like 2020 has been the crappy version of a real year. Next year, may we all be drinking a bottle of the good stuff and celebrating for real. Happy New Year!

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