Here is our 2021 year in review report card as we prepare to bid adieu to the year, I am reflecting back on what was at best, a very lukewarm year. Needless to say, 2021 when compared to 2020 was fantastic, so we can be thankful for that.
Who would have thought covid would still be with us going on three years? This little virus could and did, still, dominate the news and is set to destroy travel plans for all once again. When l read about the thousands of lights and cruises that have been canceled for Christmas, it makes me happy that we are happily at home in Valencia.
2021 Year in review report card
Travel this year was akin to navigating a minefield, with so many rules, tests, and so on. Very trying, but we persevered by being smart with our plans, and remaining flexible, something we recognize is not always an option for people. Here are our grades.
The year started with a higher expectation of travel adventures. I was therefore disappointed when travel restrictions were still frozen in place in most countries as the year kicked off.
I, for one, was hesitant to take the many expensive PCR or the cheaper Antigen tests just to travel. A lot of tourist attractions were shut down in a lot of places too. It just didn’t make any sense. Even within Spain, there were varying degrees of quarantine and closures which made planning difficult.
We, therefore, resigned ourselves to just staying in and around Valencia. As things got better, we went to nearby Peniscola which l wrote about on my new Valencia blog in the summer, and then took a trip to Tarragona up north later on. Both were wonderful for stretching out our legs after such a long time of being cooped up.
We received the jabs for our age groups in June, and then with the formation of the EU covid passport, To round out the year, and to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary in November, we visited Bordeaux and Toulouse (still have to write about that). As l write this post, we have gone back to wearing masks at all times outside again, until January 31, at which time they will re-assess things. (it was voluntary till now). Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Most of my travels were done vicariously through others. I interviewed quite a few people for the Nextbiteoflife podcast and got to discover lovely places such as Lyon, Vietnam, Mexico, Paris, and more with the ex-pats who live there, which was nice and scratched the itch somewhat. We also did visit Rome when my MIL got sick, and Fede once more for her burial. Hard to count that as fun travel though.
This is a slight downgrade from last year. We are both in good health, and l have actually lost some weight without trying. I attribute that to the many miles walked during the year. We hardly rode the bikes.
I did have a bit of hip and back problem and the MRI revealed a lumbar disc degeneration, something I’ve since discovered runs in my family. Sure! Of course… :-). I couldn’t inherit the hair growth or fun stuff!. Oh well, I will deal with it in the new year.
It seems to be better for the most part now, but l had a rough couple of months. Old age! Other than that, everything has been good. Since I’m not one to diet, I think it’s mostly walking and eating seafood. We rarely have red meat, and drink loads of water. We’ll keep doing just that.
Language Learning: B+
I am keeping that grade for this year as well. I feel better about my Spanish language skill. I am now back in school. I didn’t win the lottery to be in the advanced conversation class at the start of the year.
I was way far back on the waiting list, but thanks to people dropping out, I was able to join them nine weeks later. I seem to keep up with them, albeit a bit slower and my voice still shakes. However, out in the real world, I am having conversations. I will never be fluent, but l am extremely pleased with myself.
Thanks to the classes and YouTube, I am making headway. I just always need to slow down and build up from simple sentences. The class will conclude in June. I intend to register again for the next year come September. Since it’s a conversation class, l don’t think l will ever get bored, or think l know too much :-).
This was an easy one. The fact that we were unable to travel as much meant that we were able to save money that would have been spent on lodging, food, and tours, etc. While l am happy to see the needle barely move, I am now eager to travel a bit more. l expect that will change in the new year if the world heals from the virus.
Travel wish list for 2022:
While l hope for the best, I am preparing for the worst. 2021 was supposed to be all about recovery, but it’s looking more like 2022 at best. Some of the places we would like to visit include Sofia Bulgaria (a place we have been contemplating for years). The airline that was supposed to start flying nonstop from Valencia this year never made it happen thanks to you know what. If we can do it this year, I will be thrilled.
Croatia is another place we would like to visit. Fede has been once before, but a long time ago. He has fond memories, and l think l would like it. Ireland, Ghana, and Uganda are also on the list.
We hope to start off the new year with a visit to my family in Nigeria during the first quarter, so if posts are scant, you know why. It has been a very long time, it didn’t happen in 2021 as we had hoped either. I am almost to the point of “come hell or high water”. The visa acquisition process is insanely bad, and even though it pains me to speak badly of my country, I must. I am not the only one complaining either. We are broken.
Money down the drain with nothing accomplished as of yet. They don’t answer emails (when you can send them that is), they don’t answer the phone, and will not let you come into the embassy in Madrid (an hour and a half away by train)! without an appointment (think five months out).
I am tired, truly tired of covid :-). Covid has become the excuse for major screwups, but rest assured that they’ve always been bad). I am just finalizing the plans now, but we have our flexible tickets purchased just in case. We only hope Omicron doesn’t put the kibosh on our plans. We are monitoring things as they develop.
Thank you all: Wrapping up the 2021 year in review
As always, we want to thank everyone for hanging with this blog over the years. We truly appreciate it. We hope everyone has a great and safe, and healthy holiday season. May 2022 has nothing but good things in store for all of us.
New Year’s eve will have us at home, as usual, eating seafood pasta, and bingeing on streaming movies. What are your plans for the evening? Staying at home, or going out for an overpriced dinner? Whatever you do, enjoy! Here’s to a prosperous new year.