2020 – Is that the name of a disaster movie? I didn’t like it. Can we pick another, please?
I thought I’d give an update on how we’re doing. The world out there is… different. But I’m still around and doing my best to hang in there and to wait for better days.
So how are things in Ireland?
Just before COVID-19 started spreading in Ireland, I went to county Clare to attend Noel Hill’s concertina school. It’s an event I’ve wanted to attend for years, and it meant so much to me being able to go. After coming home after the workshop, we entered that disaster movie and at the beginning, the only thing that helped me stay sane was to play the concertina. Having those tunes and new techniques to focus on really helped me cope with what was going on in the world. I’d like to say that Noel Hill saved my life. Well, at least my mental health.
I came home from the workshop on the 8th of March. A week later, all pubs, restaurants and similar places had to close. Schools were already closed and all St Patrick’s day celebrations had been cancelled. Some shops remained open but at the end of March, we went into strict lockdown with all businesses closed except those that can run from home, and essential services. We had permission to leave home only for food shopping, medical reasons, essential work or to exercise up to 2 km from home.
It was an odd St Patrick’s day. But the St Patrick’s day weather was total **** this year so we probably wouldn’t have gone to any parades anyway. We spent the evening with some whiskey, movies and later with a Facebook Livestream led by a whiskey podcaster. Many people had own celebrations at home, having their own parades with the family, and filmed themselves.. it was lovely seeing those videos on social media afterwards! We didn’t even wear green hats 😁.
I struggled a lot with anxiety and catastrophic thoughts at the beginning of the crisis. My stepfather was in hospital in Sweden for a while, for a non-covid-related condition, that could have gone bad. I was worried sick about both my parents and was incredibly sad about not being able to go to see them. I haven’t seen them since last spring and now it’s very unlikely I’ll see them this year. Although I’m very happy to live in Ireland, the pandemic definitely has shown the disadvantages of living abroad.
We are doing well though. My husband can continue to do his job from home, and I was already working from home since I was trying to find out what to do after my studies.
It’s an enourmous blessing living in the countryside and having a large garden. Also with the restrictions we can enjoy the outdoors and the spring.
The garden has been my number one source of joy and wellbeing during this time. The weather has been quite ok, with some very nice warm days. In the mornings, if the weather is good enough, I usually take a stroll in the garden to look for new flowers and to take some photos. Some days I’ve taken lovely morning walks in the area within my 2 km. I’m so thankful to be able to be outside and see nature come to life – something beautiful to focus on and perhaps you can see it as a metaphor.. life will come back.
To stay focused on good things, I decided to dedicate my time on improving skills and learning something new. Udemy has had some incredible sales on online courses, so I bought a few writing courses and courses in Lightroom and Adobe Indesign. I’ve also spent more time on photography and tried to learn some new skills – such as using an off-camera flash and some macro techniques (still working on that though).
Before the crisis, I worked on finding out what I should focus on to be able to build a career, and it was stressful or at least frustrating at times. After my rough days, I’ve needed to focus on wellbeing so I ditched everything I was doing and decided to just do things because I love doing them, because they make me happy and entertained and because I want to become good at them. One of the writing courses includes lots of hands-on advice when it comes to the actual use of the language – exactly the kind of thing that I love learning more about.
I have lots of writing ideas now, maybe too many. But hey, you don’t improve your writing if you don’t write! Now I need to sit down and do some planning and organising. It will keep me busy, in a good way.
Since last week, we can walk up to 5 km from home, and there is a plan to gradually ease restrictions if certain criteria are met. If all goes well the gardening shops will open next week! 😍
I have big plans for the garden this year… spring is here and with the lovely warm days we’ve had now and then, I’ve done some nice work. There’s more to come, especially when I can buy plants. Stay tuned for more news and some photos!