Daily Life, Monthly & Yearly Reviews
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2020 Review – A year of learning

The title of my last annual review was “a year of traveling”, and this surely doesn’t apply for 2020! The pandemic and related travel restrictions affected all of us, and of course the amount of traveling I could do this year was very limited.

I won’t go on about how terrible this year was for so many, how many disruptions, losses and pain it caused, as it would be an understatement. From start to finish, it was not a good year for the world. However, despite all of this, it was, for me, a year of many lessons.

2020 Recap:

About a year ago, in January, I went to Rotterdam for a weekend to see a friend. I didn’t write a blog post about it as it was mostly made of walking around, but I still have many nice pictures of that trip!

Then, right before COVID hit Europe, my mum came to see me in Brussels and we went on a day trip to the wonderful Bruges. It was absolutely lovely but the cold weather made me want to go back in the summer!

The pandemic hit in March and was followed by many restrictions and a first lockdown. This is obviously when the weather in Belgium started getting better so I spent my days outside in the garden with my flatmates. We then spent the whole spring having lunch and dinner outside, making homemade pizza, pasta and huge meals.

In the summer, even though my plans to go to Spain and Portugal were cancelled, I was lucky enough to be able to go back to Italy and to the South of France to see my family. I had a great time and spent there some very relaxing holidays.

In Brussels, in summer and autumn, despite the travel restrictions, I did enjoy some local adventures, like going to see the Atomium and exploring Brussels: when it was possible and bars/restaurants were still opened, I discovered many cute places and I overall really liked the city in the summer!

I also moved out of my shared house in September to move in to my own flat, and even though the November lockdown was not as great as the first one, I love my flat, and wouldn’t go back to sharing it!

The month of December was particularly enjoyable. I signed up for Green December and loved walking around the festive streets. My last trip of the year was a short day in Ghent, and it was just what I needed to end the year: a quick and easy getaway in a beautiful city!

Personal life and lessons learnt:

From a more personal point of view, this year was also full of new experiences and learning in general. I had very specific goals in mind at the start of the year and a specific plan to reach them. Some of them involved language learning, being healthier, blogging regularly and passing an entrance exam for a university.

I managed to achieve all of them, except the last one, but it taught me a lot and thanks to this I started implementing new routines, like studying and working on my goals in the morning, before starting my full-time job, as I am usually too drained and tired in the evening.

I also picked up on many hobbies: I read much more than last year, started playing the piano and the guitar again, learnt how to watercolour and kept on studying Russian.

This year also taught me patience: I remember that in 2019 I sometimes got very frustrated whenever I felt like I was “missing out” or “losing” time that I could have invested in traveling, for instance. With the travel restrictions, I didn’t have all of that, and it taught me how to enjoy the moment, discover and explore the city I was in, and find adventures even in the ordinary and daily life.

Finally, when I compare the beginning of last year to the end of it, I am surprised by how much I changed: from the people I surround myself with, to what I do on a daily basis and how I approach new situations, this has truly been a year of transition and growing. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

2020 theme and intentions:

For this new year, I set myself the theme of “Presence”, with an objective on being intentional and mindful of what I do and don’t do.

Instead of having fixed resolutions, I also defined some intentions for the New Year:

  • Eat better: reduce the amount of sugar I eat, eat more organic and local food, try new recipes
  • Be more conscious of the environment: reduce waste, buy in ethical shops, donate
  • Slow down: take the time to enjoy the moment, read more and be mindful.

I don’t have many expectations regarding traveling for this year, so I decided to focus more on things that I can control that I know will be good for me, and caring about myself, others and the environment is on top of the list.

What about you? How was 2020 for you? Do you have a theme and intentions for 2021?

Even though I couldn’t travel, I covered many countries in my posts this year:

Luxembourg: A weekend in Luxembourg

– Spain: A short holiday in Catalonia, Exploring Granada, Walking around Triana in Seville

– Austria: Going to a ball in Vienna, 8 Things to do in Linz, Christmas markets in Vienna

– Canada: Sugar rush at a sugar shack, My favourite things about Montreal

– Czech Republic: Exploring Prague in 2 days

– Japan: 10 Days in Japan:Tokyo & Osaka, Exploring Shinjuku, The Rikugien Gardens in Tokyo, The Tsukiji fish market, Short Getaway in Osaka

This entry was posted in: Daily Life, Monthly & Yearly Reviews
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Hey, I'm Juliette! I'm starting this blog to keep a record of and share my adventures. I love everything sweet, sunny days, fluffy kittens and people who smile. When I don't work I like to discover new places and try to learn languages. I hope you will find something that you like in here! ☼


  1. Beautiful recap of your year, Juliette! I relate with a lot of your experiences and take-aways. In 2019, I used to constantly feel the need to do things, constantly travel – I found life very slow if I didn’t have plans all the time. But 2020 taught me patience and to enjoy where I was, to enjoy the slowness of life. 🙂

    Love your theme and intentions for 2021 – I think mine are very similar. Additionally, I want to reduce how much I use my phone. Hope you have an amazing 2021! 🙂

    PS: You take amazing photographs!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m happy to hear 2020 also taught you patience, I for sure feel better now and will probably also enjoy my trips and adventures more in the future! Have you set a theme for your year as well? I’d love to hear about it 😊

      I really need to use my phone less, but to me it comes with “presence”: the absence of distraction! Hopefully we will manage ahaha!

      Thank you so much for dropping by and for your kind words 😊


    • Yes, I thought I didn’t travel at all but I actually did! It’s very little compared to last year though, that’s probably why I had this impression! 😊 I love new beginnings as a theme for 2021, so inspirational!


    • Thank you! I am glad I was able to work on them and find some consistency for my goals, though I hope I will do even better this year 😊 Hope you’ll have a great year as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, look at all the things you managed to achieve despite the pandemic crisis! It always amazes me how much has actually happened last year. Even though we didn’t travel anywhere except Ireland and spent most of the time in lockdown, flipping through the photos from 2020, I realized that it was still a good year. Yes, there were days when I couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to travel and see my family, but then again I learned to appreciate being alive and take each day as it comes. I started learning German, and was delighted to become close friends with my next door neighbor, who turns out is from Russia. Now I can practice my Russian language too, how amazing is that! Wishing you all the best 😊 Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow I didn’t know you knew Russian! And learning German!! That’s amazing! 😊 I also thought at first that I wouldn’t have much to say, but in the end, this year was still filled with many different experiences, and I am very grateful for it! All the best to you too 😊


  3. I also felt that I had to be doing something all the time pre 2020. So happy that you got to see family still and also pick up (or re pick up) hobbies. I need to get off the computer screens and do more of mine this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy to read I’m not the only one ahah! It is really hard to get off screens, especially when most of our life noew relies on it! Good luck with this, and thank you for dropping by 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Couldn’t have put it better! This past year with COVID-19 also forced me to step back and reflect on what I really wanted in life, in terms of career, love, and happiness. I also got to learn just what I could and could not control, and instead of despairing over what couldn’t be controlled, I accepted it and worked to change what I had power over. It’s all about accepting and forgiving yourself, for understanding that we work with what we’ve got in the moment, and to enjoy it all the same. Here’s hoping 2021 will look up, but until then, we’ll move forward and persevere!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t agree more with what you just said. I found that many things in life get better when we learn to just accept them instead of fighting them – though it can be hard to do so. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your year still sounds nice. Love the title – year of learning. So positive! I wish you a better year this 2021 and that you achieve your goals and become happier everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I did have quite a good year in the end, and I’m extremely grateful for it! Hope your 2021 is also amazing 😊


  6. 2020 was definitely a different year. I think it’s amazing you’re so positive about it. I’ve found it really tough and am glad to see the back of it…not that 2021 is much better so far but here’s to hoping 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am also lucky that my year went quite wel… 😊 It has been tough at times, so I really hope that 2021 is even slightly better for the world (shouldn’t be that hard ahah)! Thanks for reading 😊


  7. I think 2020 was the year of learning for so many of us and as horrible as it was at times I think one good thing was that it allowed us to learn and grow as people. I love your intentions for this year- mine are similar except the sugar one because that was one of mine last year and by the end of the year I stopped eating refined sugar altogether. Good luck with your intentions!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s true! Not being able to travel and having to change the way we live our daily lives definitely helped us to slow down and learn many things. Wow, it’s great that you stopped eating refined sugar! Was it hard to stop ? Thank you for stopping by 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • I absolutely agree!

        It was very difficult at first because your body is so used to refined products but after a few days I felt so good. Like my mind was clear, I could concentrate more and I just felt so energetic!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Even though I was pretty lucky with many positive things happening to me this year, it was pretty bad indeed, and not being able to see my friends and family as much as I would have liked to sucked! Here’s to a better year 😊


  8. I love this, Juliette! I used to feel the exact same with a large fear of “missing time”. Wasting it, not jam-packing every minute with fun or travel or a big experience. 2020 definitely helped me to slow down and be really appreciative of the little things xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who has this “fear of missing out” and “wasting time”, though it sucks and I’m sorry you used to feel the same way too! This is why I decided that this year’s theme would be “presence”, to enjoy the little things and being able to slow down and be mindful! 😊 Thanks for reading and commenting!


  9. Despite the restrictions born from the pandemic, I still find it impressive that you got around to explore more than I do any year hahah I do hope that 2021 will allow us more freedom in terms of traveling just so we can enjoy the things we took for granted (nature, restaurants, etc.). I like your resolutions for 2021 and I hope that you’ll achieve them and have a fantastic year filled with achievements, progress, and patience! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Lashaan! It’s true that I have more than I thought I would ahah! I guess that’s the “good” thing about having family all over the world 😅
      I definitely won’t take restaurants and cafes for granted now, that’s for sure! Hope you’ll have a fantastic year as well and thank you for dropping by 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It sounds like you used the lockdown wisely. Having a little extra time won back from not commuting has been a godsend for us too – and even though the vacations didn’t really happen, we spent a lot of time re-editing photos and learning video editing to start a Youtube channel this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, amazing! For sure not having to go to the office allows to do more things in the house, but I have missed traveling for sure! Congrats on your Youtube channel! And thanks for dropping by 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Monthly review – May 2021 | Sunny Days with Juliette

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