So here we are, at the end of 2021.
I haven’t written much this year, and it actually took me by surprise that this day finally came. For years, I saw fellow bloggers who posted less and less until they eventually stopped, and I thought it wouldn’t happen to me and Her Little Journal. But it did happen, and I’m struggling to get back to writing regularly again. Part of the reason is I don’t know how much I want to share here. I’ve always treated this as an extension of my journal, writing openly and freely, wearing my heart on my sleeve. As I get older, I’ve become more and more reluctant to share snippets of my life and especially my feelings. I think I just need to figure out what and how I will write here going forward.
While I haven’t written much this year, I want to keep notes on a few important bits of 2021.
I began 2021 with the thought and intention that this year will be the year of, for the lack of a better word, hustling (god, I hate this word). I certainly didn’t think it would be the opposite, that situations would force me to cope rather than thrive. Never have I ever felt so lost before, not knowing what to do, not knowing how to get out. I just tried to keep my head above water day in, day out. I went through the motion, without much passion. I stopped using social media for a few months (which actually helped a lot), and things got slightly better. I’ve started a few things which hopefully will help, and set 2022 to be a better year than this one.
On the apartment
For the first half of 2021, I was busy hunting for secondhand furniture and decorating the apartment; and I loved every part of the process. When we moved in, it was dark, cold, and uninviting, and now that we’ve finished decorating (mostly, because will it ever end?), we love spending time in this cozy apartment.
Left: My corner at our office/guest bedroom. Right: Reading corner in the bedroom.
I started learning tennis this year, and it surprised me how much I love it. For years, I’ve tried all different kinds of sports – running, gym, swimming, badminton, you name it – and none of them stuck. I exercised only because I had to, not because I enjoyed it. I thought I was just not into sports, but it turned out I just hadn’t found the one. Then came tennis. I’m still nowhere as good as I want to be (which is really not much of an ask because I just want to be good enough for a rally and have fun), but I’m getting there.
This year, my manager also introduced me to padel and I like it as well! It’s a lot less physically demanding than tennis, but no less tricky (especially dealing with the ball in corners and close to the walls!). I’m hoping to do more of this as well in the future.
Aside from tennis, we also did a lot of outdoor activities in the spring and summer, including hiking, kayaking, and swimming (occasionally).
Since the pandemic started, we hadn’t traveled anywhere outside of Sweden, and it honestly didn’t do much good for my mental health (especially when I need semi-regular escapes from Sweden). We always planned to get away once we both got vaccinated, so we went for a trip to Portugal, which was also a birthday trip for both of us.
Portugal was amazing. We stayed in Porto, Coimbra, and Lisbon, and wished we had more time to visit the Algarve as well. We took a trip to Douro Valley for a wine tasting tour (H’s favorite), had eyegasm with the tiles (mostly me), and enjoyed the food immensely. Going back to Sweden was tough; it was such a fantastic trip. It also made us realize how much more memorable birthdays are when we travel somewhere (which should’ve been obvious), so we plan to do this for the next birthdays.
Walking along the river at Porto, waiting for the sunset.
Day trip to Douro Valley on my birthday, one of the highlights of the vacation.
Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon
Last year we didn’t celebrate Christmas. We just moved to this apartment – everything was messy, and I honestly didn’t have the energy to do anything. It was one of the most meh Christmas ever, so I promised to make up for it this year. We started decorating really early (at the beginning of November) and invited a few friends for Christmas lunch. My sister suggested buying ready meals at the supermarket (the Christmas ham, Janssons frestelse, red beet salad, those traditional Swedish Christmas foods), but I decided to cook as well. One simply doesn’t invite fellow Indonesians for Christmas lunch and serve food that at best would be ‘just okay’.
So I cooked a few things; opor ayam and vegetarian opor with instant paste (thanks, Bamboe), gulai nangka, rendang, and tempeh from scratch. They said it felt like Eid, but this is what my mom would also serve on Christmas day back at home. I guess these are ‘special occasion’ dishes? The day was filled with chatters, waves of laughter, and warmth, such a contrast with last year. When the guests left, there was only a little food left by the end of the day (is there anything more satisfying than that?). What a great Christmas.
And that’s it for 2021! Hope you’ve had a good year, and see you in 2022!