A bit of a different monthly round up, but one I think it’s important to share.
Oh, March. You’ve been an odd one, haven’t you? The word of the month has most definitely been ‘uncertainty’, in terms of the pandemic, impending lockdowns and my own emotions. Mood swings aplenty, I’ve had highs and lows this month, and a lot of in between. I guess we could say that for every month. It’s hard to put this month into words, isn’t it? I’m sure there are millions of people on the planet feeling like me, and I actually really appreciate that. I don’t feel alone, even in the isolation.
I say isolation, but technically Hanoi has only been locked down since midnight last night, and this is what I mean by uncertainty. At the start of the month, Vietnam had no cases. Hanoi schools have been closed since the Lunar New Year in late January, but my colleagues and I were going into work, prepping online lessons. On the 5th, I enjoyed a lovely day celebrating my birthday with a visit to Cork & Bottle with the girls and dinner at the wonderful DragonCello. On the 6th, while friends were round to continue celebrations, Vietnam’s first case in 3 weeks was announced: someone who had flown from Europe back to Hanoi, and actually lived just a few minutes walk from my apartment.
Shops got a little busier, her road was cordoned off and streets nearby were disinfected. More people flew in over the next few days from other countries, unfortunately leading to an increase in cases in Vietnam. By this point, Ol and I were in Phu Quoc. It was our school holiday, and following advice, we stayed within Vietnam. The other places we’d planned to go were either risky or had closed borders, so we splurged on a few days at the beautiful Cassia Cottage for some R&R.
And even that was weird. It was a lovely week, with great food, reading, swimming & not a lot else. Well, except for the reading & worrying about the regular news updates and texts from friends and family about the worsening situation back home in the UK. It’s hard to relax when the world is falling apart!
Since returning 2 weeks ago, we’ve been working from home. More uncertainty and lots of decisions:
Should I be going out to a coffee shop?
No one’s told me I shouldn’t.
I should support local businesses while I can.
But I don’t want to get – or spread – the virus.
I want to leave the flat while I can.
Lots of to-ing and fro-ing in a mind that struggles to make a decision at the best of times. I decided to limit how much I was going out, but still go to the odd place where there wouldn’t be many people.
Earlier this week, restaurants and bars were closed.
Last night, we found out that as of midnight this morning, we should only do essential trips for food etc. At least that’s that decision made.
Now the world heads into April still unsure of when this will be over, how many people will be effected and what life will look like in 1, 3, 6 months time.
What I am certain of is that medical professionals and volunteers will be doing their best. That I’m enjoying the more frequent chats with friends and family thanks. That I’m going to have highs and lows while I’m stuck at home, but that’s normal. That it’s going to be boring and fun and I’ll hopefully learn new skills and a lot about myself. That so many people are doing so much good in this time of need. That my list of jobs and ideas of things to achieve probably won’t be fulfilled, but that’s okay. That despite all the bad news and anxiety-provoking headlines, there’s good news too. That social media is helping bring people together and making people feel less alone. That even though I’d love to be in the UK, closer to my family, it’s okay that I’m here and they’re there. We still have FaceTime and letters and cards. That banana pancakes are a great way to make the weekend feel different from the week. That there’s still plenty of reasons to be grateful.
And what I’m hoping is that once we get through this, communities will still band together. We will remember to be grateful. We will help others. We will send cards to loved ones just because. We’ll make time to call each other more often. We’ll remember what the earth looked like when no one could use cars. We’ll wash our hands properly, every time. We’ll remember the time we couldn’t go out and take pleasure in a simple walk, smile to ourselves during a coffee shop pause and take even more delight in a gathering with friends.
How have you been feeling? Are you relishing in having no commute, loving extra time at home, or getting cabin fever?
Stay healthy everyone, mentally and physically x