In the blink on an eye, a week has passed, the original due date for my return to Germany draws nearer while the chances of that happening are precisely zero.
So, what’s been going on?
At the start of the week I was calling friends, going on daily walks and partaking in quizzes but something felt off. Still struggling to believe just how quickly I had left my whole life in Germany, I felt angry, sad, lost and most of all, confused. This feeling was profoundly familiar and yet it took me a while to recognise it properly; grief.
This explained my lack of appetite and inability to sleep. Less than a month ago, I was loving my life abroad with wonderful friends, a fun office and a gym membership that I actually used. And then, faster than you can say mahlzeit, it was gone.
The goodbyes I got to say were rushed and uncertain. I had packed everything I owned but I was still half expecting to return in a few weeks. 16 days later, it clicked that this would definitely not be the case.
On day 17 I repainted one of my bedroom walls while listening to an audible and cried only once all day.
On day 18 I got out of bed at 2pm. I did nothing until the evening, when I hosted a quiz night with some surf friends from uni. I fell asleep with cheeks sore from smiling, a welcome change.
When I woke up the following day, the sun was shining, and my extroverted heart was still content from my wholesome evening the night before. I spent the day soaking up the sun and reading in the garden. It would have felt like any sunny day pre-corona if my mum hadn’t brought up the subject of death mid-afternoon.
Aside from confirming I want my ashes scattered in the ocean, it was a glorious day. I fell asleep late, high on life and giddy from laughing at that fake chocolate egg tiktok video with my mum.
Day 20 was a gin fuelled Sunday, ending with another surfy quiz night and aching cheeks.
And finally, day 21. Three whole weeks in England and I woke up in a meh mood to a cloudy sky. I spent the day tidying my room and lying in the sun before calling Sophie, a friend from secondary school.
We spoke for almost 4 hours while she crocheted and I cut and cellotaped a pattern I found online for a wrap skirt. It felt like we were back in the art room at lunch, sharing the details of our most recent disastrous dates, what music we were enjoying, newly discovered artists we were loving and the projects we had planned for the future. It was a conversation so far removed from this ongoing pandemic that I felt, for a moment, as though nothing had ever happened.
As we enter week four, the end of this pandemic seems further than ever, but I am taking each day as it comes. While I feel more adjusted to life at home and am loving the sunshine while it lasts, I don’t expect I won’t have another low day again. This is perfectly fine.
I recently read an article highlighting the struggle of parents working full time from home and trying to look after their child. It described how trying to work from home, be a parent and home school, simultaneously and without external support, is a losing battle.
While this does not relate to me, there are lots of things that help me function that I simply cannot get during this isolation. Like my morning commute, which used to give me the time I needed to slowly wake up and prepare for my day. Or the gym, which was where I could get out of my head and just move and breathe for a bit. Or the tequila bar, which was equally effective at getting me out of my own head.
Our lives are built on having a community, support and routine. Living in isolation and expecting to function to the same capacity as before is unreasonable. We can only find ways to manage as best we can. Some days I am loving life and on others, I deeply miss public transport. The key things to remember are that this is not forever, we are all in this together and accepting that this is hard does not mean you are any less grateful for whatever privilege you have.
During this week, while I wasn’t posting daily, I started sharing photos and stories from friends around the world on my instagram @keepingupwithcovid19. I found reading about other people’s isolation experiences comforting and it brought to life how we really are all going through similar highs and lows.
I would love to share more stories, so if you are reading this, please send in
- A photo (or photos or a video)
- One sentence or more
- What day of isolation/social distancing you are on (roughly)
Here are a some of my recent favourites:
[Day ??]Lulu, Devon
today i built flowerbeds with my dad, went for a walk with my dad and drank wine with my dad
[Day 16]Iestyn, Stuttgart
There’s a tree by my balcony. And everyday I go on my balcony and imagine myself using the tree to escape from the cia or something. I keep thinking “I back myself to make the jump”, but I won’t try it cause that’s silly.
I’m so bored the highlight of my day is looking at a fucking tree.
Day 20 and I’ve grown increasingly obsessed about replacing the outside world with indoor plants so I don’t forget what a cactus looks like 🌵
I’ve also started skating; they say practice makes perfect, but it my case it’s done f*ck all and I’m still just as bad as when I started.
Being starved of the outdoors, I’ve got nothing else to do except eat copious amounts of food and binge Netflix so not much changed in that regard.Luke, Bristol
I hope you are all staying safe, staying sane and are still washing your hands!
All my love,