I’ve been getting quite a few notifications on my phone today reminding me where I was on this day in recent years. It’s strange because today feels so (new) normal but really it’s the anniversary of a lot of fond memories. Recalling these stories brought me a lot of joy and was a good reminder of life before corona. I hope you enjoy these snippets from the past.
3 years ago today
Three years ago today, I was on my way home from a week long exchange in France. As an 18-year-old vegan I had just spent a week living on a French dairy farm- it was overwhelming, fun and unexpected in equal parts. I went to parties, drove a tractor and tried my best to communicate with my A level French skills. It was a classic ‘Ana situation’- an adventure I hadn’t though twice about before saying yes to, a week I stumbled through, only half understanding the language around me, and one that I enjoyed to the fullest and will never forget.
2 years ago today
Two years ago today, I set off on a hitchhike from Bath to Amsterdam. A charity event to be completed with a friend, in competition with other couples- we had two days to make the journey to raise money for 5 charities supported by my university. I first read about the challenge on a poster in a toilet cubicle at the SU- I knew immediately that I wanted to take part. My initial difficulty was in convincing somebody to join me, because the journey had to be completed in pairs where at least one was a male.
Andy ended up being the perfect hitchhiking companion and we did well in keeping each other sane while a crazy biker nan drove us across the uk , when we got stuck in Dover for 4 hours, when we had to ask every person on the ferry if they were heading in our direction and when we had to find a hotel last minute as we were driven through the night by a Polish father and son.
When we arrived in Amsterdam, 30 hours after our departure in Bath, we had just 18 hours to enjoy the city before returning home. But it was a wonderful ¾ of a day. The journey had taken me to places (literally and mentally) that I had never been to before and briefly I was able to explore a city I had wanted to visit for so long. Although I can say for sure, that sometimes (usually) it is worth paying to travel, it was a truly unforgettable experience and I’m so glad I did it!
1 year ago today
One year ago today I spent a glorious day in a park with a group of friends, celebrating Zac’s birthday. I was still buzzing from my trip to Fuerteventura a couple of months earlier. The friendships I had made there had grown so strong in such a short space of time, I was swimming in the grace of it all. On this day in particular, I went to Lulu’s house in the morning to cut Luke’s hair. We met a couple more friends down the street, walked to the shops to buy some drinks and snacks before joining everyone at Zac’s place and from there, walking to the park.
The sun was bright and it was so blissful to sit in a park, drinking cider at 2pm, throwing a rugby ball about, lying on blankets in the grass, laughing til the sun set. In the evening, those of us still standing decided to go clubbing. At the entrance of the club, Anna Lou and I realised we were far too tired to dance for several more hours in a club. We took a detour on our way home at a salsa society house party, staying just long enough to have a few spins on the dance floor before heading to bed.
I had unknowingly spent this day with my future house mates, friends I have since been on countless trips with, who will lead next year’s surf committee with me and who I love to death. That day was part of the beginning of a chapter of my life that I am still enjoying now.
Today marks 4 weeks since I returned to the UK, since I have spoken to a friend in person. Like every year before this one, this is not a position I could have imagined being in one year ago, but here we are. I think in the future I will look back on this day fondly, as one of many where I had time to sew, focus on myself and repair my familial relationships.
While I am living it though, it’s not easy. Containing my desire for adventure and the great outdoors feels claustrophobic at times. Some days my brain is buzzing with creative inspiration and on others, existing is hard. I exacerbate all my feelings as I do not have anyone around to distract me from them. My good days do not have external stressors to dampen them and on sad days, I do not have the obligations and routine to force me to see people whose presence usually cheers me up.
In this weird bubble of life in my house, a change in weather or tragic news article can drastically alter my mood. I’m trying not to be too harsh on myself, but I also know I need to do better in not letting these things affect me so much. I need to put more effort into establishing a routine because it’s one of those things I don’t really like but will be good for me.
I thought by now that I’d be a pro at this lockdown thing. I’d have figured out the optimal balance of sleep, zoom quizzes and sunbathing, but my most recent sleep was from 6am-11am, so this is evidently not the case.
At 2am last night, I had a thought about starting an email subscription so I can send out little mid-week stories, thoughts and updates during lockdown, in between these longer weekly updates. If you like this idea, do let me know.
Also, I am still posting other people’s photos and stories on Instagram @keepingupwithcovid19, so if you would like a feature, just send me a photo, some words about your day or recent experiences, what day of lockdown you’re on and where you are located. So far, I have shared stories from Germany, England, The Netherlands and Canada. Wherever you are, however dull or manic your life currently is, send in a snippet and feel a little less like you’re the only one desperately trying to connect with nature by purchasing enough indoor plants to constitute a forest.
Where we will be in one year’s time is anyone’s guess, but I know for sure it will be different to today. This madness will pass.
I hope you are all safe, vaguely sane and washing your hands,
Lots of love,