How I feel about this situation
Those who follow my blog or instagram would know that at the end of last year I decided to take a gap year and see the world while working in diffrent career categories. So from February this year I was in Australia busy doing accounting jobs at 2 different companies. In my month and a half in Aus die Coronavirus began appearing in all the news.
At first I thought it would be something that went away after a couple of months without getting dangerous. But soon after Panic began world wide. Toiletpaper and other necessities began selling out globally because of people stocking up. Me and my family began talking about it more, my colleagues talked about it. It was the main topic for small talk wherever you go.
Fast forward to 19 March a week before South African borders closed(we didn’tknow at that point). I woke up and saw a message from my parents telling me which ticket to buy to fly out of Australia on 20 March. Imagine waking up feeling fresh, picking up your phone and realizing that your whole year’s plans are down the drain and you have less than 24 hours to pack your bags and be on your flight.
A week before this day I began checking the news hourly for updates on closing borders and flight ticket prices. At first any flight ticket was shockingly cheap and everyone was excited but in a matter of days that ended. I ended up paying tripple the amount that I initially paid to come to Australia. That was by far the most Bizarre situation I have ever been. From the day before my flight until after my 14 hour flight and upto ths day, I still can’t believe how quickly things escalated to me having to rush home.
I feel extrmely blessed and grateful to be home. A week after I arrived The president of SA announced a national lockdown of 21 days(later it was extended) and that the borders are closing. I am glad to be spending these months of a global pandemic safe at home with my family.
I contemplated staying in Australia for a longer period and to see what happens. My visa would probably have been extended and I would be with what I call “my Australian family” for a couple of months.
I think I’ve made the right decision to come home. A lot of people are speculating that international borders and traveling will only start until minimum a year from today( 11 May 2020) . Being away from my family for that long would’ve broken my heart in these uncertain times.
How I’ve been affected
I feel like I have done good with a bad situation. I’m currently at home, Sourh Africa is now in stage 4 of lockdown after 35 days of stage 5. I’ve started courses, read a whole bunch of books, created some new daily habits( meditation, journaling, reading, yoga along with a couple of others). I’ve had days where I feel really negative thoughts about our current situation where I want to do nothing all day( which is easy to do now that nobody needs or can go anywhere). But there has also been days where I’ve amazed myself by how much I’m learning and accomplishing in a matter of hours.
I’ve been blessed by having and at home gym with enough equipment to continue normally( I know this isn’t the case for everyone and that I’m lucky to have this)
I think that I’ve adapted to these restricting times really fast. I am starting to be more greatful and see the positives. We get to have a family movie night every night. We are spending more time together as a family than ever before. Braai-ing isn’t limited to only weekends and we all get to relax.
During the lockdown I’ve been on shopping duty. I go to the shops alone 1x a week with a grocery list. Mask attached, 2m away from anybody, constant sanitiser use from myself and from store emplyees before I go in. I can’t believe it almost feels normal to me to wait in a line outside the store for someone to exit and another peron to enter( to limit the amount of people in the store). I can’t believe its becoming a habit to put your mask on before stepping outside of the car.
Things that changed in the world
In the beginning of the pandemic hand sanitiser sales where out of control. There were signs next to the sanitisers stating the maximum number of products one customer can buy.
Signs began poping up everywhere giving tips on how to wash your hands. Like sing the happy birthday song a couple of times.
People began stocking up while I was in Australia, Grocery stores began opening earlier for the elderly because they are vulnerable and people started becoming aggresive with panic.
More and more people started walking with face masks(Its compulsory now) which initially everyone thought was ridiculous.
Any conversation you join would be about covid 19.
News everynight was mosly about the virus.
When I arrived in SA I had to stay far from my family.
I went to the hospital with my face mask(because I was in 2 international airports and wasn’t sure if i was infected) to get tested. People were scared to walk near me. ( the tests came back negative fyi, but better safe than sorry i guess).
You couldn’t buy “non-essential” items like clothes, decor, electronics etc.
During lockdown no online shops could ship their items until after lockdown.
South – african meme accounts are booming with funny covid 19 related content.
When you went to grocery stores you had to stand on marks or stickers on the ground 2 m away from the person in front and behind you.
When lockdown started you could only go to hospitals for emergency and to the grocery stores for your food. No de tours were allowed. When 2 people are in the car together 1 person must sit at the back far from the driver.
The souh african goverment began recruiting soldiers to scout streets for people taking de tours or roaming the streets illegally.
Working from home tips and how to’s are everywhere. People globally are starting to realize that they could work from home and be productive. Will this change what most jobs intail in the future?
Fitness influencers are posting all their at home body weight workouts and tips. At home guys are starting to be a big deal.
My mental health and dealing with uncertain times
After 2 weeks of arriving in SA I hit a low time. I was negative, unsure and burnt out by all the high expectations I had of myself and what I would accomplish in this year. It took a couple of days to recover from this burnt out unmotivated feeling.
Things that helped me get throught that rough patch was: Meditation( I use the pp called insight timer). Journaling( I use an app called Divethru that gives you specific themes and questions to focus on depending on your goal). Yoga( yoga with adrienne on youtube is amazing). A morning routine( I read the book Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and it shifted my everyday mood and productivity when I started implementing it. Game changing!) Reading( anything from fiction to Factual studies). Netflix( I started watching classic movies like the breakfast club, i don’t want to be uncultured you know. Along with documentaries about anything really). Walking( around the house, a million times. And now aeound the neighborhood in the mornings before 9am in stage 4 )
After implementing those small things into everyday I began feeling like myself again. I have set some new goals for me to achieve in the upcoming days,weeks, and months. It difficult to knwo what to plan for in these times.
I began researching what I’m passionate about and decide on a study path for my university. I am leaning towards enrolling as fast as I can.
My gap year was cut short but that doesn’t mean it was a waste of time. I learned so much in a couple of months, about myself, people how certain industries work etc.
As im writing this blog I can say that I am happy where I am. Being stuck at home was the perfect challenge for me to see that I don’t have excuses to not achieve what i want and to not work towards my goal. It also challenged me to learn to actually relax and turn off my mind sometimes. After a few changes and adapting I found what works for me.
What I’ve learned
I’ve learned to accept change. I went from exploring another country for a month and a half to being back home( where I had to isolate and had nothing to do) after a 24h window of deciding, packing and flying.
I’ve learned to adapt. When I accepted the situation I was in I stated to do and learn new things I’ve read almost 20 books since being back home, done a couple of online courses and started figuring out what I want in the furture.
I’ve learned that human beings are so resilient. This is such a bizarre time in the world, something that happens once in a lifetime. Yet we took drastic measures in less than a couple of weeks world wide to stop the virus from spreading. The whole world is stuck at home and trying this new at home way of living to save the world.
I’ve learned that some things are out of your control. If I had stayed in Australia me and my family there would’ve gone on a tropical roadtrip through Australia and I would’ve had the time of my life. But no amount of planning would’ve made it possible now. And I’m okay with that.
I’ve learned to appreciate all the things we took for granted. Like shopping without a suffocating mask, without being scared to go near other people, without having to stand 2m away from everybody and shopping with a family member( which seems really difficult now since a lot of stores has a rule that only 1 person from each family can go inside).
This blog is for me and anybody to look back on in a couple of years or months to remember these times we went through. I encourage you to keep a journal and take pictures of whats happening around us. I’ve realised that I began normalizing this sitiation and this is nothing normal.
I will be updating with more blogs. Thank you for reading my blog. Have a lovely day and stay safe!