Live like a local.
We are living in strange times right now. While the world is trying to contain a bug that has no borders, some families are being separated by hard borders and can’t get back to those they love. Others are concerned for the lifeline and possible demise of businesses that define our communities. And still, in spite of lockdown mode, critical supply chain workers are trying to find daycare (because schools have been closed) and they are required to go to work to provide sustenance so the rest of us can distance ourselves. While so many are working tirelessly, others are feeling fortunate to still have a job from home and possibly managing to not kill their housemates! We all have a mixed bag of emotional reactions to this social distancing requirement, and I’m sure, we all hope by doing what we need to do, continuing to distance ourselves, this period of time will be a short chapter in history and that it will not have been in vain. Somehow, I am only convinced of one thing and that is mankind’s resilience. We are a compassionate species. I am excited to be experiencing “this blip” from a different point of reference. Gives me a perspective I might not have had in the comforts of my usual support system.
As you may know, we are in temporary housing. And I’m sure you are all wondering if we have an abundance of toilet paper? All the stores seem to be sold out, and like in the states, it’s what everyone is talking about. Oddly, the best thing about temporary housing, is we DO have sufficient toilet paper. But that isn't what I'm here to talk about. Like the best laid plans, they don’t come off without a hitch. In the States, we shipped our furniture early, with the knowledge that it’ll take 6-8 weeks to receive in the UK. We timed it to the day and it should have worked out perfectly, except that it didn’t. I won’t bemoan how frustrating it all is because in times like this, frankly, who gives a damn? So, moving into an empty flat for a few days is certainly doable. We’ll sleep on the floor or we’ll get an air mattress, we’ll eat out or at FB. All within in our “YES, we’re demonstrating our ability to be flexible!” master plan. We can handle this! I’ll be out adventuring, and David will be at work, and neither of us will be spending very much time at the empty flat anyways. Roll it a few days forward… the apocalypse happens. It no longer was about being flexible for a couple days. It might be weeks and there is an uncertainty looming. Not having kitchen supplies to cook with was no longer acceptable since we couldn’t eat out or go to FB for a meal. David was supposed to work from home, but with no table/chair for a MAKE SHIFT office that becomes an obstacle too. I was starting to panic. With all the unpredictability, Facebook agreed to keep us in temporary housing till mid-April. By removing the scary unknowns, I was ready to handle serendipitous encounters.
I’ve been observing ugly behaviors from people that must be scared, fear at its worst? I shared a very temporary feeling of uncertainty. It is unnerving and I am sad for them. But let’s not focus on the negativity. Instead, I am enlightened and empowered by the people that still spark joy in others, and I’m here to tell you they are out in force!
I met one woman while washing my hands in the grocery store loo. We turned simultaneously to look at one another and counted out loud to 20 while we laughed discussing how society’s hygiene will never be better. After some insignificant back ‘n forth chatter she took some interest in why I was in the UK etc, she offered her phone number and said that nobody should go through such unnerving times without a friend to call if one needed help. She offered food if one day we really couldn’t find any, she offered a ride in case transportation ceased, but more importantly, she offered compassion.
Another day, I was fretting in a different empty grocery store when an older (yes, my age) clerk addressed me “Madam, may I help you?” And when I told him I was just trying to find something, anything, to bring back to cook, he said “I’m afraid it’s all been bought up”. He gave me a regretful look and told me to try again tomorrow, I thanked him and continued moseying through the store in shock at the vacant shelves. Suddenly, he came from behind me, “Madam, Madam, I searched in the back and found these.” He handed me some rice, asparagus, yogurt and granola. It was honestly SO sweet. Hard to believe that moments before I was surrounded by elbowing and pushing. I left knowing that mankind is ultimately good and compassionate.
Even though the photos I’ve included in this post are grim, and they are nothing but an honest representation of 3 days of food searching, I do not fear that we will starve, I guarantee, I haven’t even lost a pound! ;(
Wishing you all patience and remember to be kind and compassionate to one another … after all, the world is in this together. Just imagine, wouldn’t it be great if governments wanted to work together instead of the newly adopted us vs. them mentality? OK, I’ll continue to dream… after all, my nights are your days.
Don't take life so seriously.
I'm Jody. I love to travel. I love to take pictures. I love to meet people and find interesting places. I also love to write about and post pix of what I've found. But, I've been told that I write like I talk - in streams of consciousness. So, if proper grammar and well composed sentences are a must for you - my posts will make you crazy. If you want to follow my journey as I learn about really cool places and offer some great tips about living abroad, read on!