The 2020 joy report
This year, I started writing a few joy reports of the month when I had the time and interesting things to report. After the dumpster fire of a year that was 2020, I thought it would be a good exercise to reflect and keep a lens of optimism, because everything can’t be bad 100% of the time. So please enjoy snippets of personal highlights from each month in 2020.
A weekend in Berlin ft. The Blue Man Group
My partner gifted me tickets to see The Blue Man Group in Berlin for Christmas last year. It was cold as could be on that January weekend in Berlin, but it was still a great one. The show is a bit touristy for sure, but it was such a fun time and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a laugh.
Seeing Kim Petras perform live in Köln
Kim Petras is a queen and seeing her perform live with two close friends of mine was great. There were about 10% women in the room, and I was loving every minute of it. If you don’t know any of her music yet, I suggest checking it out, especially if you love good pop music.
Spending a lovely week in Portugal
About a week before the first pandemic lockdown, I ventured to Portugal for the first time with my boo (yes, same person I also call ‘my partner’). We visited Porto and Lisbon and it was magical, despite it being rainy for half the week.
I drank lots of port wine, ate a lot of delicious food, and enjoyed the overall feel of Portugal. I really want to visit the country again and see some less touristy areas.
Sunny days & kayaking on the Alster
With a lockdown claiming all indoor activities and doing things with groups of people, we – similarly to many others – started thinking about outdoor activities as the weather started to get warmer and sunnier. We bought an inflatable kayak last summer to enjoy on the canals of Hamburg and the Alster, so we started taking it out to soak up some sun and get out of the house.
Walks in the spring air & Chromatica release
Similarly to many people this year, I started going on walks more often, whether it was by myself or with a friend. I enjoyed doing this with friends as it also gave us a reason to gossip and explore some neighborhoods.
Another highlight of my year was Lady Gaga’s release of her newest studio album Chromatica. It has been a very long time since I could listen to an album on repeat and genuinely enjoy every song on it. Many people have said that this album is reminiscent of her Bad Romance days, considering the style of music, but also that there are so many catchy hits.
A birthday weekend at the Baltic Sea
I was surprised with a weekend in Scharbeutz for my 20-something-th birthday. It was a bit cloudy and windy, and so many people had the same idea on that weekend that the local authorities had to turn people away hoping for a day trip to the beach. But for us, it was a nice little getaway from the city.
Drag bingo at Wunderbar on the Reeperbahn
Exploring around the Treppenviertel with a good friend
A friend and I took a ‘day trip’ to the Treppenviertel in Blankenese since I’d never been there. We grabbed a beer, walked along the beach a little bit, and had some fun taking pictures of the beautiful steps and alleyways.
Culture in Hamburg (art, food, film)
The pandemic situation at this point wasn’t ‘bad’, let’s say. Restaurants and other places were open with hygiene plans. I went out to brunches and dinners with friends, I was able to see a film at the movie theater (Tenet), and saw a small show from a local artist.
Long weekend in the mountains
My partner and I took a little trip to the Harz mountains since traveling outside of the country was not encouraged. It was a lovely change of pace and nice to see mountains and forest again. Aside from hiking around, I spent quite a bit of time in the sauna and free-standing bathtub.
Passing my German exam (and actually doing really well!)
For my permanent residence permit, I needed to provide proof of my German language skills. As I have never taken German courses, I never took a test to prove my language skills (I’ve learned independently). I took the B2 test in October and found out in November that I achieved the score of ‘Sehr gut’. It was nice to have my skills confirmed!
My new little sister
My mom has been wanting a dog for a long time, and finally the perfect opportunity came around. Meet my little sister, Oreo! She’s a border collie and is going to have fun frolicking around the farm and herding the nearby cows on the other side of the fence.
It would be very remiss of me to not mention something that blew up not only across the world, but also in my apartment and mind – TikTok! It’s astonishing how this platform took off and the creativity it inspires. If you think TikTok is only for 13 year olds who want to do little dance trends, boy are you wrong. Sure, that stuff exists and is more popular with the Gen Zers (and whatever comes after Gen Z), but there’s also cooking videos, educational material across the board, comedy, artwork, etc. It’s just great, and if you’ve been on the fence about checking it out, here’s your push. 😉