Skip to main content

2020 Takeaways

The Year Time Stood Still

The year is almost gone
And what have I done?
Did I waste the time away
And left things in disarray?
Because I chose to play.

There’s just days to go
Better write a list to do
Before we say adieu
And remember to thank Godot
For the bad and the beau. TravelswithCharie

I had so many planned travels in 2020. In fact my suitcase was packed for a trip to the Philippines the last week of January. My cottage there was partially destroyed by a typhoon and I had repairs to see to. But the suitcase with presents for friends and family never took flight. Covid-19 ruled our lives. 

Among the things I had packed were boxes of chocolates I had bought to give as gifts. I ended up eating all of them rather than have them expire. Reading, meditating while basking in the sun, and learning to prepare new dishes became my support system as were calls from relatives and friends and the “care” packages my sister sent to me. 

My cousin introduced me to Instacart so I didn’t have to go out at all to buy groceries. But the stores were mostly out of essentials like toilet paper, liquid hand soap, Purell, Clorox disinfectant and rice. It took months before I could get Brita filters for my water pitcher and little things I never thought would run out.

I started a series of blogs called Armchair Travel and wrote about the books I read, the poems that reverberated, the websites I perused, the travel vlogs I followed on YouTube and posted photos of the places I missed. It was all good. It helped to tide me over during the long days I spent at home. 

The Federal government sent stimulus checks in May. It paid the bills for the repairs to the water heater and the leaky faucets. And my neighbor helped me repair our common fence. It’s a good thing these were taken cared of while I was at home. 

Then there was my other neighbor complaining about my pine tree. He knocked at my front door at 9 p.m. but I never open my front door, day or night. I finally got my gardener to cut the offending branches that were going over the neighbor’s fence. And pretty soon said neighbor put up a tarpaulin of some sort. Wish I could have talked with him in person so I could have complained about the used cans and bottles his kids and guests threw on my backyard. What happened to respect and decency?

It wasn’t till October when I was able to get away for a week. I went on a road trip to Oregon and had some glorious days. Alas wildfires enveloped the West Coast and we could barely leave the house with ashes thick enough to coat our cars. Still, I had a magical trip to the beach, a first in a troubled year. It was beautiful and we ate seafood. 

October and November were tough months with the presidential election and the delayed results. I can’t remember a time when we had these problems in any U.S. election. I’m not surprised though at the lack of interest shown by our legislators toward the American people. They only think about their political party, hardly ever about the needs of our people. And racism reared it’s ugly head.

Christmas has come and gone. The cases of covid-19 infections in the United States and California in particular are through the roof. There’s no more room in the hospitals and there’s talk that they’ll have to ration care. So here we are still stuck at home after a full year. And not surprisingly, very few countries are welcoming travelers.

I have to say I’m grateful despite this crazy scenario. I’m healthy, I have a comfortable home, there’s food on the table, my family is well and I’m constantly in touch with my relatives and friends. The vaccine is being distributed and I hope we can get it soon. 

There’s hope. And that is a gift. Have a happy 2021!

*****

Image by TravelswithCharie


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art of Carlos Botong Francisco - Progress of Medicine in the Philippines

Pre-colonial period Pag-unlad ng Panggagamot sa Pilipinas (The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines) is a group of four large-scale paintings depicting healing practices in the Philippines from pre-colonial times to the modern period. Carlos Botong Francisco was commissioned in 1953 by  Dr. Agerico Sison who was then the director of Philippine General Hospital (PGH) together with   Dr. Eduardo Quisumbing of the National Museum, Dr. Florentino Herrera, Jr. and Dr. Constantino Manahan. These oil on canvas paintings measure 2.92 meters in height and 2.76 meters in width (9.71 ft x 8.92 ft) and were displayed at the main entrance hall of PGH for over five decades. Owing to its location, the artworks were in a state of "severe deterioration" at the beginning of the 21st century from exposure to heat, humidity, dirt, dust, smoke, insect stains, grime, termites and an oxidized synthetic resin used in an earlier restoration. These canvases were restored three times, the last was

8 Heritage Houses of Iloilo

Lizares Mansion The province of Iloilo on the island of Panay has a rich trove of heritage houses, left over from the sugar industry boom in the 19th century. Iloilo also had the largest port in the Philippines at that time which facilitated the export of sugar to foreign shores and deposited money in the hands of the sugar barons. The barons dropped their earnings into the acquisition of properties in Negros and the construction of beautiful homes in Iloilo, many of which are located in the vicinity of the Jaro Cathedral. The Lizares Mansion was built in 1937 by Don Emiliano Lizares for his wife, Concepcion Gamboa and five children. The family fled to safety when World War II broke out and the house was occupied by the Japanese military. The family returned to the house after the war but left once again after the demise of Don Emiliano. It was sold to the Dominican order in the 1960s and was converted in 1978 to a private school, Angelicum School. The mansion now houses the

Filipino Struggles in History - Carlos Botong Francisco

In 1968, Antonio Villegas (then Mayor of Manila), commissioned Carlos "Botong" Francisco to paint the history of Manila for Manila City Hall. The series of large scale paintings was called  Kasaysayan ng Maynila  (History of Manila).  The paintings deteriorated over time and no attempt was made to preserve these historical canvases until 2013 when Mayor Amado Lim sent them to the National Museum for extensive restoration. Four years later, in 2017, Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada and the Manila City Council signed an agreement with the National Museum to leave the paintings at the museum so they may reach a larger audience in exchange for museum grade reproductions to replace the originals. Kasaysayan ng Maynila was later renamed Filipino Struggles in History and is now on display at the Senate Hall of the National Museum . Carlos "Botong" Francisco died in March 1969, a few months after completing the paintings. He is one of the first Filipino modernists and