Hello, old friend. I created this blog to be able to go back and reminisce on all of my travels. But then, 2020 happened and while I don’t necessarily want to remember everything about this past year, I think it will be important to look back on in the future and for my children & grandchildren to get some perspective.
December 31st, 2019: Me, Chris & our friends ringing in the New Year at our farmhouse in Iserlohn, Germany. Excited, bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed about the new decade ahead. It’s the New Roaring 20’s baby!
January 2020: I rang in my 26th birthday by heading to the U.S. Embassy in Frankfurt because we needed to get a notary to sign off on a POA (in the middle of building our new home back in Buffalo, we had deadlines to meet!). Awesome, I thought, I get to spend my birthday in a great German city, how fun! January birthdays are never this riveting! Except…oh no….Trump is threatening Iran with war and now U.S. Embassy’s are kind of under threat. Cool! “In capitals from Europe to the Middle East, leaders and diplomats sought to head off a full-fledged new war while at the White House and Pentagon, the president and his advisers ordered more troops to the region.” – NY Times.
Ask Chris, I did not sleep well the night before. But, we were fine and got those notarized papers in the mail. Followed by a birthday Schnitzel.
February 2020: Finally! A month full of fun adventures. First, we had a hockey break where me and Chris adventured to the Black Forest with Shadow for a week. Then, after Valentine’s Day my mom, Aunt Marcia & Allison were coming to visit! Yay for family! We explored more of Germany and went on a motherland trip to Poland. Fun, fun, fun.
March 2020: Chris’ team doesn’t make playoffs. Me, being the supportive wife I am, was pumped about having some extra time in Europe to go on more trips without hockey in the way. Go to a soccer game in Dortmund? Bucket list item scheduled & ready to go! Oh this Coronavirus is becoming a real thing? Well, hmm, Chris, maybe we should book our flights home earlier than we thought. Oh, the DEL just CANCELLED the entire rest of playoffs? Shit, we definitely should change our flights again. Pack up our entire apartment knowing we’re not coming back, all in 36 hours? Cool!
March 14: Frankfurt Airport, flying back to Toronto with our friends. None of us are wearing masks nor understand the severity of the virus yet. Yes, we wiped down our seats but we were packed in a plane full of people literally escaping Europe to get home – at this point, anything goes.
March 15: Made it back to Buffalo. Parents picked us up in Toronto and we just had to make a quick stop at the Peace Bridge to tell them where we were and for how long. Could have been much longer if we went during a busier time.
March 16: Mom gets told not to go into work – her first time in 28 years of working at the college she has ever had to work from home. Me and her are going to be work buddies now!
March 17+: taking hourly shots of Emergen-C, Apple Cider Vinegar, etc. while watching Governor Cuomo’s daily briefings. His words the only thing getting us through the understanding of how serious the virus was, understanding how important it was to stay home (because well, other leaders weren’t).
What about that house we were talking about earlier? The one me and Chris started to build pretty much as soon as we left for Germany? Almost finished! We could taste how close it was to being done. Electricity, some tile work and flooring needed to get done but it was so so close. But then, non-essential construction got shut down and our almost finished, move-in-ready home had to be put on the backburner. Looks like we’ll be spending lots of quarantine time at my parent’s house! Those were the good old days. Puzzle making, wine drinking, Tiger King & eating so much Buffalo pizza & wings.
April 2020: Poor Christopher had to ring in his milestone 30th birthday in quarantine. We went to our almost finished house to just pretend to play house. I made him a homemade chocolate peanut butter cake where he blew out his 30 candles with a blow dryer, as not to spread any germs.
The virus was spreading. It wasn’t safe to do anything. Wegmans was the only thing we’d been to since being back on American soil. I hadn’t had a haircut since August, but hair salons were closed and if you would’ve told me back then that I couldn’t get pampered again until almost July 2020, I would have laughed. It’s so crazy to think about life pre-COVID. The things that we never thought twice about. We can’t watch movies or TV shows anymore without thinking how strange it all was. Crowds? Concerts? Hugging? Restaurants? It all seems so foreign and gross. And don’t even get me started with the antibacterials – how did I never used to wipe my cart down before shopping or not always have hand sanitizer on me?!
New leaving the house mantra – wallet, keys, phone, MASK!
May 8, 2020: Finally, our home is move-in ready. We may not have mirrors or a driveway yet, but we can live in it. Oh, and it’s snowing? In May? Oh, 2020. Chris and I spent the day hauling all of our belongings that my parents have had to store for us over the years into our brand. new. home. It felt all so surreal and unbelievable that this beautiful thing belonged to us. We have lived in so many apartments and crashed at my parents for so long, we felt so weird having an actual roof that belonged to us. We both have worked hard and the Capricorn in me that kept a savings for “someday” finally had a “someday” to spend it on (even though it killed me watching it come out of my bank account). That home is so special to us and it is something I will forever be proud of. We made it so us. The way we designed it and the way we decorated it (although it is still not fully complete) – we did just what we wanted. Filled it with things from far away. Oh and things from the internet since online shopping was all we could do while being in Germany and then home because of Covid.
Summer of 2020: holy shit & lots of Pink Whitney.
June came along and sparked a nationwide awakening. The #BlackLivesMatter movement shook our world and all that we knew with it. Some of the most powerful & moving moments I’ve experienced in my lifetime came from watching everything unfold on the news. Tears shed because of the state of our country and the total division we have come to know. It’s not normal. I’ve lived in other countries, I know what it is like outside of the U.S. – it’s infuriating to see these issues unfold in my home country that I love so dearly, when I have never seen these issues anywhere else. The American people have a lot of work to do, and sadly, I don’t think I’ll ever see progress in most of my lifetime. I took a vow right then and there that my children will not live in a world like this one. Me and Chris will make a home where acceptance, open mindness, KINDNESS comes before anything else. In our house we believe Black Lives Matter, because all lives can’t matter until Black Lives do, no human is illegal, love is love, women’s rights are human rights, science is REAL !! and healthcare should be an American citizen’s right, not just a work benefit. (thank you Signs of Justice – loved seeing these in neighbors lawns all summer) – I know I am on the right side of history on this one, regardless what some leaders want the country to believe. I know it’s right because it is the one that sides with humanity, not any other political agenda. Humanity and human rights should always win.
Summer 2020 was filled with wake up calls in our country. I guess that is what quarantine does to people who time and time again see injustices repeat themselves and everyone involved getting away with it. We can’t be anything but WOKE anymore and I myself, refuse to sleep on these matters.
But, as the months went on, Chris and I settled into our new home, I worked a ton (more than before quarantine actually), Chris worked too by building himself a home gym since our usual spot couldn’t be open all summer and Shadow loved going on my Dad’s boat every Friday. Okay, we enjoyed it too. Friday’s on the boat were the best things to look forward to all summer since it was social distancing & being on the lake all in one.
August 2020: Chris’ agent got more phone calls from Chris than he probably did his own wife. Hockey in Germany wasn’t looking good. The DEL kept postponing when players could sign, with no update on money for the teams or crowd regulations. Scary times in the Rumble household – we have a house to pay for now! And not in a million years would anyone think that a career in professional hockey or any sport for that matter, would be at risk. It’s part of the entertainment industry that I always thought was untouchable – until the novel Coronavirus said hold my beer.
We were getting restless. Here we are in our beautiful home that I want to spend all my days in, yet, so restless. We weren’t used to being home or in one single place for that matter, for this long! Usually, we’re hopping around city to city by now, but having a NORMAL person’s life felt weird with us Rumbles. By the end of August Chris realized going back to Germany may not be an option. But then Stavanger came swooping in like a knight in shining armor. Norway had controlled the virus (hmm I wonder how) and the hockey league was granted money from the government to be able to pay its players and play with limited fans. Sounds like we’re heading to Scandinavia!
September 2020: Sitting and waiting for our visas to come in so we can head to Norway ASAP. Moved out of our house so that our lovely renters could move in and we temporarily made an appearance back at my parents house. Oh how life can be so funny. This month was full of roller coasters of emotion. But, at least I got to watch some Bills games, at home, with my dad – something I haven’t got to do in such a long time!
October 2020: We’re here. In Norway. Chris is playing hockey again (not going to lie, I shed one single tear when I saw him on the ice for the first time again). I’m still working and Shadow is still swimming. So, not much has changed. It’s been a crazy juxtaposition coming from the U.S. to Norway and seeing what COVID has done. Well, it hasn’t done much here. People are living their everyday lives, not having to wear masks, but definitely more hand sanitizing stations everywhere you go. When it comes to events like hockey games of course, things have been limited, but life here is pretty normal. But that doesn’t mean we have dropped America. We still stay up late watching the debates, well the one…I submitted my absentee ballot (yes, voting by mail is my ONLY option like so many others living overseas!). Staying up super late to watch the Bills and wearing Bills gear all around Stavanger. Chris gets asked so many questions being the only American on the team and I bet you already know what Norwegians think of Americans right now. At least I’m insured here!
2020 has been a bitch. I didn’t see my family as much as I would’ve loved. I didn’t get to see as much of Buffalo as I would’ve loved. We didn’t visit any of our favorite restaurants or do American kid things we usually like to do like going to the movies, since those were things we missed while being in Germany. We didn’t do much at all for that matter. But that’s okay with me. 2020 wasn’t a summer to do crazy things. There was a pandemic. It was okay that a lifelong tradition of going to the fair didn’t happen because that probably saved many many lives. It was okay that our summer was lame because that was our duty as Americans – the least we could do really. What is so wrong with slowing down and spending time with ones you really love and realizing how precious life really is?