Photo by Jordan Wozniak on Unsplash

I woke up on the last day of 2020 with tears uncontrollably streaming down my face. It was the kind of crying where you’d feel like you were having hiccups after hiccups and that your whole body was sweating but not only from the warmth underneath the covers. I had just escaped from a peculiar nightmare.

It starts out to be a peaceful dream, picture-perfect even. Then all it takes is one thing to go wrong to set off a domino effect where everything collapses. The world shuts down in front of you. It gets dark, so dark that you don’t ever want to go back.

But I eventually woke up. My boyfriend who was sleeping next to me took me into his arms and told me everything would be okay now. I was safe.

Does such a dream sum up what 2020 was like to many of us?

— — —

I don’t have a thesis in mind for this blog, unlike my most recent ones which were actually essays I wrote for my polemics class this semester. There’s so much to talk about 2020 that I’m afraid I have nothing new to say. But I do want to highlight some of my greatest personal wins that happened this year.

*drum roll please*

I graduated from NYU with a master’s degree in journalism. I got a job (a very decent one indeed!!). I fell in love (wow, shocking to my November 2019 self). And last but not least, most of my family and friends are healthy and well.

To those who are new to my blog, I enrolled in NYU’s Magazine Writing and Digital Storytelling program in September 2019. The program was everything I expected from a journalism school education. I tried everything from writing to producing podcasts and even creating videos. I got about two dozen pieces published in various school-affliated publications. I made new friends who are now my go-to emotional trash cans (you know who you are). I graduated without student debt this time and — finally, I got a fcking job!!!

Oh hey, to save some effort for you LinkedIn stalkers, I’m going to be an Assistant Editor at Edutopia, a website that covers innovation in K-12 education. I will report to a senior editor who’s in charge of their longform/multimedia content and the best thing is, I will get to not just report, write, develop and pitch ideas but also EDIT other people’s stories (yus). My journalism folks would understand how elated I am to have a go at editing fresh out of grad school.

The hiring process lasted about six weeks, which included 3 writing/editorial tests and a two-hour interview with three editors, including the editor-in-chief. But alas, the end result was worth every single sleepless night. It was beyond my imagination because the job didn’t exist in the first place — I had only applied to their 12-month fellowship. And you read that right, they created a job just for moi. :((

To accept the Edutopia offer meant that I had to turn down a different one, a fellowship at a quite reputable business news website…so many bridges burnt already in this area. You can dm me for more details on this hehe.

Throughout this whole ordeal, there was one person whom I confided in the most before I made any decision: my dear boyfriend who is also my best friend. He is sitting next to me playing Dark Souls with the curtains drawn (so dark in here, y’all). I love that he occasionally turns to me and gives me tiny kisses on the cheek. I also love how he is able to keep a clear head so that I can come to him with my problems and not scare him away.

Our relationship officially began right when New York City issued its lockdown in mid-March, so it’s hard not to feel like we’ve spent too much time indoors with each other and become so domestic. People ask me what I talk about with my boyfriend and I just tell them, “everything.” Life in itself is so problematic, so beautiful and so rich that the most mundane updates are enough to carry us through the dreary isolating months. It helps when you have a curious boyfriend who poses the most bizarre questions while overwhelming you with the most random trivia ever. He really should’ve qualified for Jeopardy.

— — —

That’s it, friends. Some personal news that fills me with cheer for the new year. And remember, it always get worse before it gets better.

Viet journalist in New York City. Singer who sometimes writes songs.