What a year. It started with a trip to Russia, and the days were filled with snow, blue sky, and white sun (the kind of sun you see and know it’s truly cold), had the cosiest evenings, dinners full of wine and laughter, food full of butter and love, lots of cross-country and my first downhill skiing experience, making a snowman with my baby brother, having long conversations with my parents.
Everything was still good at that point but the mood was changing. On the way to the swing resort, we stopped at some motel cafe by the road. It was tiny, the TV was broadcasting footage from Wuhan. I remember I thought how unfamiliar and distant it all seemed. Not for long. We got back to Prague and canceled our trip to Portugal, and a few weeks later — a trip to New-York.
March was rather difficult. A strict lock-down, stocking up on beans, wine, and mineral water (okay, toilet paper too). My hands were never in worse shape (sanitizer) and I’ve never spent as much time in the kitchen. It was rather an enjoyable part but also slightly painful as I killed sourdough every time it reached puberty. I have succeeded in other areas, like tortilla bread and burger buns.
Jumping from my revolutionary mother (viruses are an evolutionary necessity, take vitamin C and enjoy life) and my boyfriendwho just watched a documentary from Wuhan (it’s gonna kill us all!), I finally chose a spot somewhere in between (yes, I think it’s serious; no, I don’t think it’s serious for me and most of us) and locked myself up in the apartment for virtually the whole spring.
I obviously made a list of things I had to learn and accomplish with so much free time suddenly on my hands (finish the book, learn Swedish, do the split), created an intense schedule consisting of work, yoga and writing and followed it maybe for a week or two, up until the moment it all seemed rather pointless and the new show came out. Let’s admit, everyone watches Netflix. Even ultra sophisticated people like me, who pretend that they don’t. So that’s what I did when I didn’t cook or work: I rewatched all shows possible and watched everything I haven’t seen before, HBO, Apple TV and Amazon Prime included.
Other than that, I mastered the art of homemade haircuts, gel-lack removal and intense eyebrow plucking. I had big hopes for my skin to become its best smoothest self now that I didn’t wear make-up (the Corona hit the same time I ran out of my foundation) but that didn’t happen. Even though I spent a rather hideous amount of time watching skincare videos on Youtube.
At some point I got an unhealthy obsession with online shopping too. Embarrassingly, it was vastly influenced by the shows I watched. The fact that I barely left the house and wore mostly sweatpants didn’t stop me from ordering clothes, shoes, bags and accessories with frightful consistency.
Every show I watched brought changes to my wardrobe. I bought a dress two sizes too big just to complete Megan Draper Mad Men look. And let me tell you, in the safety of my living room I looked stunning. The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel got me into getting ultra-short shorts coord I don’t know when I can wear (I have her sense of humour, not her thighs), Killing Eve lured me into buying wide pink pants. And don’t get me started on The Duchess, I started wearing headbands and got a saving account just to buy Sleeper feather pajama. I know I am easily influenced. I’d love to say I am working on it, but let’s be real, I’m not.
Then there was Instagram
I might have come around as a self-satisfied show-off with my cozy wine/movie evenings, freshly baked bread (not sourdough though), long crispy baguettes (rock hard), morning meditations and natural yet elegant yoga poses.
Thank god, I was not the only one.
The whole Instagram was full of cooking and workout videos, WFH outfits, and also different levels of CC (corona concern). I have a terrible trait of enjoying participating in slightly escalated arguments. This year brought an extraordinary amount of those. The fear of looking and sounding like a smug (which I very well could be, who knows) was overpowered by my love for insensitive conversations. It’s something I should apologise for.
Looking back, I am choosing not be upset with myself, which is not hard to do when you have a confidence of a ninety-year-old man.
May brought the sun, Fredrik’s birthday and meeting people inside for the first time. Restrictions have eased, the cases evaporated, and I felt as if I got off a train in the middle of nowhere. Post lockdown world seemed familiar but mildly unpleasant. For a while, I had to make an effort to leave the house. There had to be a coffee date with a friend or a scheduled appointment for it to happen.
It all got better with time, and the summer was truly marvelous. We took sailing lessons I got Fredrik for his birthday, became members of the golf club (gift for my birthday), done some windsurfing at Lipno lake, and even went on a romantic weekend to the wine region.
By fall, I started to leave the house to go on walks by myself. I would take my picnic basket, blanket and a book (My Dark Vanessa, at the time) and go to a park somewhere nearby. The sun would touch my bare legs and I would lay there under that heat and dream of doing the exact same thing but somewhere by the sea. How wonderful would that be?
Maybe that’s why the trip to Sweden was such a delight: the sea, no masks, nor visible fear lurking around. Eating out in restaurants and taking long strolls along the beach brought back the sense of security and inviolability. It didn’t last for long as we came back to Prague with growing cases and new lockdown.
As the end of the year approached, I unraveled my fears of missed opportunities, great expectations that did not come to life, and plans that remained unfulfilled. I was sad for a moment, and then I was fine.
The thing is, I was and still am unbelievably lucky. Everyone I love is well. I am well.
I spent the whole crisis with the person I love in a home we made for ourselves. We watched movies and series together, we cooked and drank, we laughed. After all that time locked in together, we still have normal adult conversations, we snuggle more than I could dream of, and I am more sure and in love than ever.
My shopping obsession is dying down, I stopped re-watching the shows I watched a thousand times. I actually write, a bit every day. I try to go out and breathe (when Fredrik makes me). I am walking into the new year with good health, big hopes, lots of love and a completely new wardrobe. What else can a girl wish for?