It was weird.
The end. Thank you for reading <3
I kid. But no, seriously, what an odd year.
Annually I do a recap on my blog of all the awesome places I went and cool things I did and looking back on 2020? This will be a short post.
I was fortunate enough to at least BEGIN 2020 in a foreign country. I brought in this mess of a year partying with my boyfriend in Santiago de Cuba, my favourite place on the planet. My thinking has always been that how you bring in your new year is how your upcoming year will be and BOY WAS I WRONG. Nothing about 2020 involved dancing while being drunk somewhere warm.
My positive and forward looking self even wrote the ‘most popular destinations for 2020‘ post in January and sheesh, didn’t think that HOME, HOME, GROCERY STORE, HOME were going to be the top ones.
After my return to Canada, I became really sick. To this day, I believe I had some early-wave of Covid. The coughing and the way my body felt was unreal and I ended up having two puffers to use to get better. It was apparently pneumonia at the time, but I still believe it was more. Thankfully I am fine and everything was good after.
By the time February came around I had my trip to Trinidad & Tobago coming up for Carnival 2020. I had been working hard and saving money to pay for this big endeavor and I was super duper excited to do it with my three best friends.
If there was ANY trip that I had to go out with a BANG with for 2020, I’m glad this was the one. Nothing would have topped this experience and I am grateful at least I got to do this. If I had known what was coming I would have spent two weeks there, but alas, hindsight is 2020. (yes, all puns intended)
Trinidad Carnival was phenomenal, the locals were amazing and I think I ate more than I drank – which is pretty impressive for how my Carnival trips usually go.
While we were in Trinidad, we began hearing about this virus out in Italy and China. I remember thinking at the time ‘oh this is some small thing, they’ll get this under control quickly‘ and as we see, they did not. I am writing this in January 2021, almost a year after Trinidad Carnival and we are still in a pandemic.
My ignorance lead me to booking two trips as soon as I had returned from Trinidad because the flight prices were so good: Miami and New Orleans. I was going to go to Miami for the first time ever in May with my boyfriend and then my plan was to surprise my best friend with a trip to New Orleans for her 30th birthday in August. Fail and fail. Neither of those trips happened, I remained stuck in Canada.
But I’m here complaining about two little trips not happening, when in the grand scheme of 2020 this was really the smallest of negatives in the world.
I remember March 2020 and then June 2020 very clearly. First there was Breonna Taylor (Louisville), and then George Floyd (Minneapolis), and then there was Regis Korchinski-Paquet (Toronto). Amidst a brand new world health crisis, the reminder of a longstanding, worldwide racist crisis was very clear and very much an even larger one. The night Regis was killed I left work early and I remember arriving at the scene of the crime and being in disbelief, awe, silence. It was indescribable. In my own city the police had done nothing to help this young woman from dying. Now, don’t mistake this for me thinking that these issues didn’t happen in Toronto. Oh no no, the Sammy Yatim and Dafonte Miller cases were all very much real and in my mind. I can’t explain why, but when it came to Regis it just had hit me more severely.
That month I felt a lot of sadness for the Korchinski-Paquet family and for the overall bullshit world we live in where black women’s and men lives, along with other persons of colour lives were lost too often and the cavalier attitudes law enforcement had towards them.
I’ll skip all the lame ‘this is me being a good white person‘ and ‘I promise I’m an ally‘ garbage that white people usually post to make themselves feel better about their privilege. Those are tired tropes and saying things like that out loud but not doing anything to help or make changes is stupid.
In June I put together a blog post called ‘21 Black Women You Should Take Travel Tips From‘ – one of the coolest lists of people ever to be honest. I had realized that people asked me a lot about what my experiences in some countries were traveling as a solo woman and about safety concerns. Had a moment of realization, knowing there was a huge elephant in the room about those two particular questions since I am a tall, linebacker-sized, white woman in these countries. Of course my traveling experience and feelings of safety would be very different than a woman who isn’t white. That list is awesome and I know a lot of the women on it personally. If you want great travel tips, check them all out.
During June I should have been in Jamaica for a destination wedding. Ha. Yeah Covid made sure that didn’t happen as well. Another reason I try not to bitch too much about my own travels being cancelled, because that’s a WHOLE WEDDING you know? Stupid Covid.
I did in June and July see some more of Ontario, kind of? I made two trips over to Port Dover with my mom (make sure you get some ice cream) and I did also go to Friday Harbour for a weekend in Innisfil. Must say I was pleasantly surprised by the Friday Harbour area/resort and if you have a chance to go during summer, you really should check it out!
At the end of July I also started something new for myself – powerlifting. I missed playing basketball and those Covid calories were really becoming a thing so I tried it. I loved it. Absolutely fell in love with powerlifting. Unfortunately, Covid took that away as well since gyms had to close for the second (third?) time for the year. I hope in 2021 I can go back to doing it because lifting made me feel really good and powerful.
Shout out to 6sfitness here!
The remainder of my year consisted of: new job, new apartment, didn’t get sick and was able to keep both of my jobs all year. I get that this is a really small summary but, let me just be super grateful for this alright? 2020 was really shit for many people and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t thank God I was this lucky to stay employed and stay healthy.
I have zero travel plans for 2021 right now and this is also the first December I have spent in Canada since like 2014. It is what it is, I just keep working hard and trying to stay safe. In November I had an out loud conversation with myself on the blog about those who chose to travel during the pandemic. I still think that is subjective to each persons feelings and that I can only focus on how I feel about it and what I will do about it. Looks like I will be staying put for a minute.
Now, since this is a very short recap compared to previous years, I figured I’d take this space to promote some of the delicious places I ate in the Toronto area during 2020 and awesome services or items I purchased. I know we couldn’t go out much, but listen, the local restaurants/businesses and super duper talented cooks/creators/entrepreneurs made sure we will all WELL taken care of right?
This year took away so many of our local favourites and it is only right to promote some of them so that we can keep getting delicious foods, items and services from them all into 2021 and beyond. There was none of the typical food festival list I put out in May for the summer season, but here is my ‘I like their food/services/merchandise‘ list to begin 2021 – all their links are in the names so make sure to click and order/visit!
Lobster Burger Bar – I went there in September and had this insane tray that had a burger, a lobster and a lobster mac & cheese on it. What? It was so delicious and they were telling me they had opened right before the pandemic began.
Kes Fine Foods – Curry crab with dumpling. That’s it, that’s all you need to know.
Fishbone Kitchen + Wine Bar – I understand this is outside of Toronto a little, but this seafood paella was well worth the trip.
Sarajevo Grill & Meat – It doesn’t matter which location you go to, it’s the cevapi with lepinje and a side of kajmak to go. Always good.
Market Street Catch – The thing you HAVE TO order is the grilled seafood plate which basically allows you to try one of everything from under the sea.
Cakentings – Suppose I may be a little biased here, but this is who made my birthday cake and I LOOOOVED IT. It was Nutella and Ferrero Rocher. Arhhhh.
Blxssfulbites – This young lady makes a wicked wicked seafood boil, but that isn’t even the most notable item! It is the oxtail patties that everyone has to try.
L.A Organics Company – I have been using these products for a couple of years now and if you’re about that refreshing exfoliation life, make sure to get the Himalayan Pink Salt Body Scrub!
PoshedUp Hair – So I happen to be the least girly girl on the planet, but these lashes? I felt super duper fancy.
Touch Massage Bar – Another business that opened right before the pandemic began and I was fortunate enough to visit. For Tulum vibes (but much closer in proximity) and a really good massage, head here.
Finally, some of my friends began online endeavors as well and I’d really like to make sure you all tune in. So if you’re a gamer girl or boy check out Martika’s Twitch and Vandy’s Twitch. For all my fashionistas, plus-size queens or folks even trying to fix your credit – make sure to head over to my friend Deja’s YouTube!
I hope you enjoyed my recap of 2020 and that the next time I give you a recap it’s of another country I traveled to that has a beach? A warm beach? Maybe some rum and coke? Super.