Fighting Foes Without Armor: 2020 Year in Review

In 2020, the world began the battle against Sars-Cov2 (COVID19) and unexpectedly, we became a frontline family. It’s been such a difficult year, but there were some highlights too. Let’s recap!

My top 3 nursing ‭stories:

3. Release that Dam – good things still happen in a pandemic

2. What is That Sound? – the chaos of coronavirus (and lack of PPE)

  1. When There’s No Room – the surface of the iceberg that healthcare workers face

Top 3 characteristics I learned about God:

3. God is just. The death of George Floyd was horrifying, exposing the inequality and continued systemic racism in our country towards the Black community. In addition, racist attacks against Asian Americans during the pandemic also increased. As we wrestle with our imperfect justice system, and continue to “seek justice, defend the oppressed” (Isaiah 1:17), I am reminded that God is the ultimate Judge.

2. God is with us. Parenting 24/7, with no break, no support, no help, no extended family, and no school, has been one of the most exhausting things I have experienced. But we’re not alone really… God is with us.

  1. God is sovereign. Since the pandemic began, we constantly worried if we were bringing COVID home. We wondered what would happen if one of us died, and who would care for our kids? But who controls who lives and dies? Only God… so we will keep pressing on in the work He has called us to do, and trust Him.

Sovereign in my greatest joy
Sovereign in my deepest cry
With me in the dark
With me at the dawn

Random 3 photos of treasured memories:

After a long winter, the sight of blooming cherry blossoms brings me such joy. My daughter and I took so many “jumping” photos that day. Then the next time we saw a random tree, she instantly asked me to start jumping.
We stayed home nearly all of this past year and avoided most gatherings (except a few that were outdoors, while masked). However, we did go apple picking and visited the farm animals, like this alpaca that was just chillin’ and watching us. =)
It snowed in in October. It was bizarre to have such a big snowfall while the yellow leaves were still clinging to their branches, but we enjoyed the weather and built snowmen anyway.

Top 3 films/dramas/shows:

I honestly didn’t watch any TV this past year and maybe watched only 1 short film. Do y’all have any recommendations on “must watch” shows or movies?

3 books I read:

3. How Toddlers Thrive, by T.Klein

2. Minor Feelings, by C. P. Hong

  1. Apsara in New York, by S. Svay

Baguettes are sold by men on cyclos
in baskets strapped to their backs.
I imagine bread dough
beaten as it rises.
I try not to need you.
I want to push it down.

The lines on your skin map
my lineage like a family recipe.

an excerpt from the poem Dear Grandmother, by Sokunthary Svay (read full poem here)

3 new things I did in 2020

3. I discovered BTS. I thought only my dance students liked them, but apparently my family does too. What is your fav song of theirs?

Matcha latte with boba and watermelon
and Watermelon Water at my Home Cafe

2. Became a “barista” at my “home cafe,” making my own boba and matcha lattes (thanks to my friend Hsiao who gifted me with my first DIY boba kit.) It’s time consuming, but steeping my tea, whisking my own matcha, and prepping it daily… I started to enjoy the process more than drinking the tea itself.

  1. Met our neighbors (masked, at a distance) outside. Prior to the pandemic, I hadn’t had much time to meet our neighbors. But with nowhere to go, we chatted on our front porches, watched the kids on their bikes, and lamented over COVID together. It’s one of the best things that happened during the pandemic for me.

3 random awesome memories:

3. I joined a book club and connected with other Khmer American women. We shared about our challenges growing up Khmer American. Also, Sokunthary Svay, the poet and author of the book, was the special guest, and it was so insightful to hear her share why she wrote these poems.

At home, I tried to create fun crafts reusing and recycling the materials we had. Here, we transformed toilet paper rolls into Japanese flying fish kites. My daughter squealed everytime the wind blew and its tails flew high in the air.

2. Cherishing fleeting childhood moments. Hearing my daughter’s giggle as she blows bubbles, flings fallen leaves into the sky, or stomps in the snow, and my baby’s first milestones: crawling, walking, and even dancing… this unexpected, extra time to witness these fleeting moments has been such a precious gift.

1. We got the COVID vaccine. My husband has been seeing death daily in the ED, and I have cared for many patients who have had COVID. We also lost a cousin to COVID. To end this year by both of us getting vaccinated- it was the glimmer of hope we desperately needed, to keep fighting this pandemic. If you have any worries about the vaccine, please leave a comment below and I will try to answer it or look for the answer =)

** Special thank you to all my friends, near and far, who supported us in so many ways this past year. Specifically, thanks to my friends who mailed us masks!! In the beginning of the pandemic, we sometimes didn’t have masks and had to rewear our masks. The clinic I worked at also needed masks for patients as we became a main COVID testing site for the city, as it had one of the highest infection rates of the state. One of my patients said she was too scared to leave her apartment, because 2 neighbors in the same building had died from COVID. So the masks were a huge help.. Thank you!!!

And for my friends and family who mailed tea and snacks, commented on my blog posts, IG, or FB… your words and gifts helped sustain us during such a difficult year. I am so thankful to have y’all in my life and to still be able to connect through phone and video.

Only one way out of 2020… and that’s forward

3 things I hope to do in 2021:

3. Read 10 new books this year. A few years ago, I reached my reading goals and was consistent in reading. But then last year, I didn’t read much. What is your favorite book that I should read this year?

2. Learn Cantonese – language learning is always one of my goals every year but how do I actually make it happen? Anyone want to share tips? I have been so unmotivated in language learning lately.

3. Journal.. maybe start bullet journaling. Are there any other “BUJO” journalers out there that read my blog? (I actually have been consistent with this one so far.. hooray!)

If you’ve read this far, you’re awesome. (Check out my 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 year in reviews!)

Thanks for coming along for the ride, and let’s embrace 2021 with courage and conviction. =)

3 thoughts on “Fighting Foes Without Armor: 2020 Year in Review

  1. Wow – great job summarizing the year. So many new experiences… the ones of you and your daughter together are probably my favorite. I’m going to try Bullet Journaling. I’ve tried it a couple of times but they were really false starts. I don’t think I got the hang of it. I also balked at getting a decent notebook (so expensive…).

    Take care and stay safe.

  2. Thank you for sharing your year, and also thank you for doing your work on the frontline. There’s so much uncertainty and we all have to keeo good hygiene, wear our masks and social distance to keep each other safe. It sounds like some of your best moments were with your daughter and family and nature around you. Those are some very lovely autumnal photos you took there. It is also lovely to read that you had family members and friends support you over the past year, and were so nice making masks for you. So kind of them. That kind of kindness is priceless. Hopefully this year will be better and take care.

  3. I liked how you kept it simple with the 3s. 🙂 Meeting your neighbors ❤ And yeaaa to book clubs. It sounds like you've got a strong support group and foundation to keep you sane and moving during these times. I was just thinking how much this is important, these systems or habits, or whatever words to use to describe this invisible hug, like God, which so many seem to have forgotten they need in order to function. Thanks for being here, xoxo

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