The 2021 Highlight Reel

The past year was not the most exciting year we’ve ever spent for a variety of reasons. Brett and I practically turned into full-time hermits and stuck close to home, only heading out of our apartment for walks at the park or a few other hikes, a few trips to the beach, or shopping trips and a very occasional meal out. Our daughters’ visit was the first and only time we had others in our apartment all year, and we didn’t visit anyone else either.

I really didn’t realized how tightened down we’d become and how little we did until I went through this past year’s blog posts. I am so grateful we moved up our travel plans because I don’t think we could have survived another year of pretty much standing still.

Lots of important things did get accomplished however:

  • Health: Brett and continued to lose weight; segued to a vegetarian/vegan diet; and walked/hiked over 1,000 miles. We got our COVID vaccines and boosters; Brett finally got his wonky parathyroid gland removed, and I had an endoscopy and confirmation of a small hiatal hernia. Regular skin checks were done and we are up to date with our dental visits.
  • Travel: Plans for future travel went through several permutations, starting with walking tours in the UK and then Japan followed by short visits to some other places if possible. We then got caught up in the idea of permanent moves to first Portugal and then France, and finally ended up with a decision return to full-time travel. An itinerary was made, our Kaua’i departure date moved forward from 2023 to 2022, and Airbnb reservations were made in Strasbourg, Oxford, and Edinburgh. We have tickets to get us over to Paris in May of next year following YaYu’s graduation from college and are getting ready now to hit the road again.
  • Downsizing: We decided to once again sell almost everything before departing Hawaii, and started the downsizing process with the sale of my KitchenAid mixer in June. We sold something (or more than one thing) at least once a month, and the Etsy shop I opened to sell my hashioki collection and a few other Japanese vintage goods proved to be more successful than I imagined. All of our son’s and daughters’ things we’d been keeping were sorted and sent back to the mainland or Japan, either with them or through the mail, and Brett and I began the process of packing up the few things we will be keeping to be mailed to our daughter WenYu’s home for storage.
  • Savings: We made our last deposit into YaYu’s college savings this month. Through regular deposits, downsizing sales, the Etsy shop, the change/$1 bill bag, and other savings hustles we put away over $11,000 into our travel savings, more than enough to make our initial reservations and purchase our flight to Paris.
  • Family & friends: We had a lovely reunion with our niece and her family when they visited Kaua’i in June, and also were able to get together with another friend visiting the island the same month. While we greatly missed being able to see our grandkids, son, and daughter-in-law this past year, they sent loads of photos and we kept up through messaging and calls. The highlight of the year was having our three daughters together with us for 10 days for the Christmas holiday, and we made the most of our time together. I remain grateful for all the friends I’ve met and made through the blog, and your comments and interaction.

Although we stuck close to home this past year we still accomplished quite a bit and moved a great deal closer to reaching our goals for next year. As busy as we’ve been recently, things will be picking up after the new year, and we know our remaining time on the island will be moving along at a quicker-than-expected pace.

So, it’s goodbye to 2021 with fondness and gratitude, and it’s on to the new year with hope for all it promises to bring.

10 thoughts on “The 2021 Highlight Reel

    1. It will be a different experience, for sure, but for now it looks like we will be able to go. We have a Plan B and a Plan C if things don’t work out. We are following Europe travel guru Rick Steves – if he starts cancelling his 2022 tours then we will cancel as well, but for now he is optimistic and so are we!

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  1. I usually lurk, but had to pop my head up to wish you and your entire family all the best in the new year!

    Your proactive and positive approach to life is so uplifting and your blog posts never fail to make feel better, even when you talk about your frustrations with things often beyond your control. Which, in these crazy times, isn’t uncommon.

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    1. Thank you so much, Claudia, for your kind words. We’ve had a couple of not-so-positive experiences this past week, and although they’ve been frustrating (one is still ongoing) I remind myself that nothing lasts forever and they’ll soon be behind us in the rearview mirror of life. And no, it’s definitely not uncommon for things to spiral out of control these days!

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  2. Just returned from my first trip of 2021, other than a driving trip to nearby relatives. I am shocked by the utter carelessness and failure to follow guidelines, science, and respectful precautions that I saw in airports, planes, restaurants, stores, and hotels. I was and will continue to be very careful.
    It’s been fun and interesting to “follow” you! Thanks for your blog.

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    1. All our girls said the same thing about fellow passengers during their flights, but they double masked, kept to themselves, disinfected everything, and did OK. Not exactly a fun experience, but they were shocked as well about how many people disregarded precautions, guidelines, etc. It’s one of the reasons we don’t go to the farmers’ market any more. In spite of Hawaii’s rules about masking, distancing, etc. so many tourists don’t feel those guidelines apply to them.

      I realized this morning that I’ve been blogging for 12 years! Never saw that coming, but I enjoy the writing and love, love, love the interaction with readers so I’m going to keep it going for as long as I can!

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  3. I think we will all have to stay on our guard for some time to come against the CV. My husband is currently recovering, triple vaxxed but caught the virus at a family function which someone who has feeling ill and waiting for his test results, decided to break the rules and attend. So far 10 family members have tested positive, luckily all were at least double vaxxed and all are experiencing minor symptoms.

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    1. First, I hope everyone in your family recovers without too much suffering. This variant is so easy to catch, but thankfully the symptoms seem to be milder for most. I’ve been reading recently about how the end of the Spanish flu pandemic ended with the surge of a more virulent but “milder” variant and then sort of petered out, and I’m hoping that’s what’s going on with Omicron. I think COVID will always be with us going forward, but like the flu there will be annual vaccines, etc. and maybe more mask wearing, like in Japan.

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  4. My father was in the hospital last week (negative for covid) He was readmitted on Monday with pneumonia, the same day I started feeling sick We both tested positive for covid on Tuesday. It was too much for Daddy and he passed away yesterday. I am doing o.k. We were both double vaccinated with Moderna and were getting ready to schedule the booster. Hardly anyone is wearing a mask anymore but I have always worn one. I was the only person at Church still wearing a mask on Sunday. I think we acquired the infection in the hospital as it seems to fit the timeline for exposure and onset of symptoms. I was masked but Daddy couldn’t breathe and wear a mask, he was on high powered oxygen. The worst part is the isolation. I was not allowed to enter the hospital after I tested positive and be with my father. I cannot visit the funeral home to make arrangements.
    I am trying to do everything by phone. The urgent care doctor told me I only had to isolate for 5 days but my regular doctor called and canceled my appt next week stating it was too soon to be seen even though it would have been 8 days from initial symptoms. Mixed messages to say the least. I wear a kn95 mask but omicron (which I have) is highly contagious and all the precautions don’t seem to help. The only thing for me is a milder case due to vaccination but it is still deadly for someone with underlying health condition and Daddy had a ton CHF, COPD, pneumonia etc. He was also 91 years old. I think everyone will just have to accept the new normal. Get vaccinated, Wear a mask and live your life the best you can. We can’t stay isolated for the rest of our lives.

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    1. Vivian – you have been on my mind and in my heart the past few days. I’m so sorry for what was a sad ending to what I know has been a difficult year for you. You have been a good daughter and given such good care to your parents for so long, so I can imagine this was a hard way for you to end the year, especially since you had been doing all the right things and taking extra care to avoid COVID.

      I agree that we can’t isolate for the rest of our lives but have to accept that things are never going to go back to how they were before COVID, no matter how much we wish for it. Sadly, too many are dug into thinking things will return to how they were and will never change, which will unfortunately help keep COVID around for much longer. I will feel angry to the end of my days that COVID became more of a political issue than one of public health.

      Much love to you for the new year, Vivian, along with peace and strength. I will be thinking of you often.

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