there's no place like home when home is the only place

March 30, 2020

 

Day 7 of Lockdown

 

Planning an international move during a pandemic was not something I ever hoped for. Yet here we are. Who knows when we will make it back to Canada at this point. We are all of us thrust into pure survival mode as we navigate this new dystopian world. It comforts me to know that we are all going through the same things, albeit completely separately.

 

I understand that I am luckier than most. My partner has job security. We have a very comfortable home and a walled garden. We live in a quiet neighbourhood with green space that we make use of during our "once a day allowed daily exercise." We have food. We are all healthy at the moment. I try to be grateful and let myself enjoy these things, but then I remember that people are losing their jobs, their lives, are literally stuck in abusive homes with their abusers, are homeless, are lonely, are very very sick. This is why I am not sleeping well at night. Our human family is suffering.

 

Thank you to the scientists working on a vaccine or treatment. Thank you to the health care workers. Thank you to anyone not panicking and caring for their families. Thank you to the people working in grocery stores. Thank you to the delivery drivers. Thank you to anyone who is not hoarding toilet paper. Thank you to leaders who are doing their best. Thank you to people who are following recommendations and staying home. 

On my walk yesterday, I wondered if the birds are confused by us humans at this point. We suddenly all stay in our houses, venturing outside once a day to walk around the neighbourhood, literally avoiding all other humans, actively crossing the street so as not to get too near. Our vehicle is just for decoration at this point. If someone had told me that I would experience this level of social distancing a month ago, I would not have believed them. I chuckle to myself as a I realize that my chosen form of daily exercise, a walk outside, has now become everyone's form of daily exercise, although I recognize that choice has nothing to do with it. 

 

I mourn my loss of freedom and realize how much I took it for granted. Three out of five people who live in this house are fine with the present arrangement. My partner is nearly giddy with the realization that he won't have to go to Ireland (or anywhere else) with the kids and I as he promised. Any money we saved by not travelling has been put into his recently assembled home office, but I am trying not to be upset about this because there is literally nothing that we can do about it. The twins are also happy to stay home. Every time I take them somewhere they complain as we are leaving the house... much like their father.

 

It is Mr. K and I who suffer. We are the most adventurous and most introverted family members which gives us a mutual understanding. Having an adventure and then spending hours alone to recuperate is our jam. Mr. K never complains when it's time to go out, he is always excited and pleased to go anywhere. I realize now that visiting a new place is something that Mr. K and I enjoy and crave. We are trying to find new outlets in this new reality. He and I have been taking longer walks, without the other three, and that has been helping a bit. He also misses school and breaks from the family. I also miss when he went to school and I had breaks from the family.

The twins say that they do not miss school at all and I believe them. They have been loving homeschool, when they are not annoyed with me, and are happily working through the Key Stage 3 Maths Book (maths for 11-14 year olds). Today I found out that not only have they memorized cube roots past a thousand, but  4th roots and 5th roots as well. Maybe more. I don't have time to do math with them all day and frankly it gets boring. They can also add and subtract these roots in their heads. They are strange strange boys. I am sad that they don't have school to teach them things like sports. Our homeschool is not keen on this subject. However, their daily journal entries are comedy gold and to be treasured forever.

 

Something I am good at is being antisocial, and this skill has come in handy. A friend living in the United States wrote to me that her neighbours set up a social distancing scavenger hunt for the children and one for the adults as well. I believe the prize was beer (probably for the adults but I can't be sure). She said that they also shout at each other from their driveways to keep in touch. A lot of people are having online parties and group chats. Playing board games with their families online. This all sounds like pure torture to me. I have been calling my family a bit more but that's it. I don't feel lonely but I do feel tired. The other day I hid in the toy room from my partner so I wouldn't have to talk to him, and he is my favourite person ever! 

 

I am sad that my last months living in the UK are filled with fear. I am sad that I don't get to spend time with individual friends that I have grown to love or even to interact with the British people as a whole. I am sad that the last few things I was hoping to see or places I was hoping to visit won't be possible. Remember when I said that my wish was to walk down a street and not see anyone? Well, that happens to me frequently these days and it is ridiculously depressing. I love the UK more than I thought was possible. It is similar to falling in love with a person, at first it is the idea of them that is so alluring. Then you get to know them and all their quirks and foibles and you adore them even more for it. 

 

To the people who are reading more, writing more, creating more, learning a language(?!), please tell me your secrets! I feel like I have less time and less focus. I think even when I trick myself that everything is okay, my underlying anxiety presents itself as extra wakeful times at night, a sore back, a sore foot, a sore tooth (for a day). I honestly blame stress for all these things and although I have been meditating, reading philosophy, connecting with my family, drinking wine... the stress is there and I realize that is probably just how all adults are feeling at this time.

 

I am loving the isolation trends. Googling animals and taking photos of them in our living rooms. Watching Tiger King. Painting rainbows and putting them in our windows. Making multi-generation TikTok videos. Exploring nature. Making sourdough starters. Watching our favourite talk show hosts in their homes. Free online concerts. Doing yoga. Baking. Panic buying. Working from home. Annoying our families. Crying. Laughing. Swearing. Washing our hands until they crack and bleed. Ruining the song "Happy Birthday" forever. Reading all the news. Avoiding all the news. Teaching fractions to our children using a glass of wine as illustration. Wearing pyjamas. Feeling accomplished when we don't wear pyjamas. Calling loved ones. Sleeping. Not sleeping. We really are all in this together. Even if you are isolated alone, you are not alone. We are all a family, and we will get through this. 

 

 

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