2020 was NOT MY YEAR. Googling “Thanksgiving dinner for one” wasn’t even the lowest point of 2020. Filing the census as homeless probably takes the cake! Not negating the struggles others have gone through with COVID – here’s our experience.
We announced a little of a year ago that we were moving abroad. Eric left for Macau, China at the end of January 2020 and would submit my paperwork once he was in Macau. This was standard procedure and would usually take 6 weeks. That left me plenty of time to ensure all the loose ends were wrapped up in the states, our home was ready to be leased, and that Barkley made it over!
We knew about Coronavirus but had no idea the extent that was to come. In mid-March, just 3 days before my paperwork was processed, Macau closed their borders to ALL foreign entries. So even though I now had “special authorization to stay”, there was no way for me to enter the country. That ban has now been in effect for 10 MONTHS.
We leased our home in April, so I had to quickly figure out what I was doing. Again, at that time we had no idea how long this would go on and we never thought it would last as long as it did. So right when Texas went into lockdown and was put under stay at home orders, I moved in with two of our friends. It was a scary and uncertain time and I was so glad I wasn’t alone!
I insisted on staying in Houston because I just knew I would be allowed to leave at any time and I wanted to be near an international airport. I also wanted to maintain as much normalcy and stability as I could, so I liked staying close to home.
We spent several weeks hunkered down – only going out to pickup groceries or take a socially distanced walk in the neighborhood. We did puzzles, watched all of Schitts Creek, and read lots of books. Eric has a 13-14 hour time difference (depending on daylight savings) but we were able to talk several times per day; we were just at opposite times (I’m always going to bed when he’s eating lunch!)
I tried my best to stay positive and optimistic but it seemed like things changed from day to day and they only got worse. We tried everything we could think of to get me over there: we contacted consulates and embassies, hired lawyers to petition the government, and we tried all the paths we could find to no avail. Summer 2020 was probably the lowest I’ve ever felt in my life thanks to depression and anxiety.
Eventually, by the end of summer we could tell that things weren’t going to change anytime soon and I needed more permanent “temporary” housing. Luckily Eric’s company has been really great through all this and have helped us as much as they could.
They got me set up in a condo not far from our neighborhood. Thankfully our newlywed friends had a completely furnished place I could move into with a flexible lease. Since we packed up our home in March, I had been living the whole year out of 7 suitcases I had packed to move overseas! I shipped most of my lightweight items (like clothing!) so by the time fall and winter rolled around I actually had to order more clothes. I only had a few spring/summer outfits!
I had cancelled most of my blog contracts and hadn’t setup any sponsored content as I was set to be moving across the world. The uncertainty and instability in my living situation prevented me from creating a lot of new craft or home content. Kinda hard to create home content when you’re homeless and depressed! One cool thing: I was invited into the TikTok Creative Learning Fund and got to create 40 fun craft videos over there!
I’ve kept busy by reading (I read 40 books in 2020!), exercising, and studying Mandarin. Lemme tell ya – Chinese is a HARD language! I’ve also spent a lot time with my “quaran-team” (the two friends I lived with plus one other that is taking the same precautions as we are). We’re going through this 100 movies scratch off poster which has been fun! I also got a Nintendo Switch so Eric and I can play Animal Crossing or Mario Cart together 🙂
One of the positive things to come out of this year is the strengthening of my relationships. It’s definitely been trying but these struggles have strengthened our marriage, I’ve had more time to deepen friendships, and I’ve been more intentional about staying connected to family.
2020 Video Recap:
Thankfully there are ZERO cases where Eric and Barkley are so they are safe and secure with this work. Hopefully we’ll have more positive news to share soon and our unintended separation won’t last too much longer!