Hello friends! Happy New Year! It’s over… we made it! Today I am here to recap last month. Then I will recap the entire year 2020 and write a post looking back at my resolutions/goals for last year. Somewhere in there is the first Show Us Your Books link up of the 2021, where I will tell you about what I read in December, and then I will finally be finished with 2020 and start looking forward to the year we’re currently in! Phew.
So, December. Final month of the year. Christmas, obviously. Switzerland started the month with around 4,000-5,000 Covid-19 cases per day and ended it with around 4,000-5,000 cases per day so clearly we’re doing amazingly over here (/sarcasm). Stricter measures were introduced at some point – so restaurants, bars, museums, gyms had to close. All shops stayed open though because we couldn’t have people not spending money right before Christmas, could we?
Over in the UK, my mum and grandma both got their first does of the Pfizer vaccine – coincidentally on the same day, but at different locations and entirely independently of each other. My mum is a nurse and my grandma is turning 81 in a few weeks, so both of them were in the highest priority groups. Fun(?!) fact: as of 28th December it was exactly a year since I had last seen any member of my family in person. We left England to fly back to Switzerland on 28 December 2019. I’m so glad we decided to spend Christmas in England last year – although it means it’s been even longer since we’ve seen Jan’s family (his dad visited us in March 2019 and his mum and her partner were here in August 2019).
Work was pretty busy in December, which I’m definitely not complaining about. My company has got through this year reasonably well and I am very grateful for that fact.
On the 5th I had an appointment at the fertility clinic and then on the 15th I had to go for an MRI to confirm my probable diagnosis of adenomyosis. Basically it’s where the endometrium (i.e. the lining that comes out when you have your period) grows into the muscle part of the uterus – where it’s not supposed to be – causing cysts and an uneven surface which a) prevents implantation and b) if an embryo does somehow manage to implant causes the pregnancy to end in an early miscarriage. My clinic has recently approved a new IVF protocol for adenomyosis so we’ll hopefully be trying that soon.
As always, I spent the weeks leading up to Christmas trying to organise, declutter and clean. I ordered a basket online (from Butlers) and it now houses all my reusable gift bags – some I bought, quite a few are from Amazon (yes I know what people think of that company but I can’t control where people send me gifts from!). I actually think their bags are really pretty so I like to keep and reuse them. The bags used to live on the shelf above, where they looked a mess and fell off every time I tried to get some wrapping paper or just brushed past them when I went to open the window. That corner looks so much tidier now!
Jan’s friend from choir came round to study I think twice or maybe three times at the beginning of the month. Then on the 13th another friend of his from a different choir invited us round to her place to bake Christmas biscuits. Jan said he trusted her to have been careful, and I knew we had, so we went and made sure to keep our distance at all times. I made sure to both wash and disinfect my hands before touching any dough, and of course it went into the oven anyway, which I am sure would have killed even the most persistent of virus particles! On the 21st the same friend came by for a cuppa and to drop off some of the biscuits from the baking session – we had made the dough for them but had to leave before they went into the oven. Somehow the conversation got round to where we would be spending Christmas (at home, obviously!) and ended up with Jan inviting her to our place on Christmas day. She was very excited to experience an English Christmas so I ended up making a full Christmas dinner for 3… there was so much food that Jan and I had a second full Christmas dinner on Boxing Day and then ate turkey sandwiches for the next 2 days, finally finishing the turkey on the 28th. I had also bought loads of picnicky/snack type things so I didn’t need to cook an actual, proper meal again until the 30th. Yay!
I hadn’t been out much before Christmas – other than the day we baked the biscuits I only left the house for my 2 appointments, 3 trips to the post office (one on Jan’s behalf), supermarket runs (roughly once a week) and a trip out on the 23rd to buy a Christmas tree. And of course my weekly walk, where I try not to come anywhere near people. Jan and I also went for a walk on Christmas Eve and saw about 15 storks in a field – there are 11 on the photo below, but there were more of them further to the left.
Since we clearly hadn’t been able to stay 2 metres apart from Jan’s friend at all times on Christmas Day (my table is too small for a start!), I put myself into semi-isolation in the days following Christmas, only venturing out for a walk on Boxing Day (avoiding people to the extent that I crossed the road if I saw anyone), to the post box round the corner to send New Year cards to Post Pals, and for a supermarket run on the 30th – we needed milk, bread and cereal before everything closed down for 2.5 days. I went at around 4 p.m. and it was pretty much empty.
Speaking of cards, I finished stitching my Christmas cards and got them all posted at the beginning of December. I baked cranberry and pistachio biscuits/cookies on the 9th, then also baked Marzipan-Orange Biscuits and Lemon-Almond Biscuits on the 15th since I had taken the day off for my MRI and apparently didn’t think we had enough sweet stuff?!
We skyped with my mum and brother and Christmas Eve and also spoke to Jan’s mum, mum’s partner and Jan’s sister via WhatsApp video call, then I called my dad on Christmas night after our guest left and my grandma called me on Boxing Day. Jan also spoke to his dad on Christmas Day. And on New Year’s Eve we managed to arrange a Zoom meeting with my mum and brother plus my sister and brother-in-law. Apart from that our New Year’s Eve celebrations consisted of a dinner of stuffed peppers followed by Christmas pudding, then making and drinking mulled wine. Obviously the fireworks in Basel were cancelled and we wouldn’t have gone to them even if they weren’t. We thought about walking up to a nearby hill at midnight but it was pouring down so instead we just went onto our balcony and watched the few private fireworks that made it above the surrounding buildings, then came back inside and watched Dawn French on the TV… but of course by then it was technically January.
What else? Well I can tell you that I read a grand total of 9 books in December, which is a lot for some but hardly any for me. Christmas is the one time that I actually watch a lot of TV on purpose – over the festive period we watched White Christmas (first time I had seen it), The Snowman (it’s tradition!), Shirley Valentine (I stayed up specifically because I’ve been wanting to re-watch it for years), the second half of Grease, the Repair Shop Christmas special, a Pointless Christmas special, Matilda, Frozen… I don’t remember if there was anything else. In addition, Jan got the very first series of Dr Who for Christmas – the idea being that my dad can buy him the next series each Christmas and stop asking me what to get him! – so we watched some of that. Jan’s sister got us a pub quiz game for Christmas and Jan got me a board game called Istanbul and we played both of those.
And that was December. All in all I can’t really complain. It was a fun month filled with my favourite things: cross stitch, baking, and time spent with Jan. I hope you also had a good one and that even if your Christmas had to be different than usual you were able to make the best of it and have a nice time.