Hello, I thought today I would do a personal post alongside a food post. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with the current situation we are living through. I’ve been on strict lockdown with my partner now for 6 weeks (today marks the day!). Because he is high risk, and I am potentially at risk, we have decided to put ourselves on strict lock in. We’ve been very lucky that both of our employers have been understanding. However, it can start to weigh on either of us any given day.
We have not gone to the shops, or hardly even gone for a walk, since this began. I went for a ten mile bike ride as you may remember from a few posts ago, but otherwise once a week I go for a run and Aaron goes for an early morning walk. To pass all of the time that we spend indoors, I’ve found that a routine is the only thing that gives a semblance of normalcy.
Luckily enough, our upstairs neighbours are happy to do emergency shop runs for us and we have subscribed to a gorgeous local vegetable box. We also finally, after multiple nights staying up until midnight and endless refreshing, got a Tesco delivery slot. We’re getting a big order of groceries tomorrow at last!
Each Monday I set myself some weekly goals. Make a sourdough loaf, cook something new, read outside for one hour, 6 German lessons and 6 yoga sessions, setting benchmarks for school assignments, and specifying areas of the house to clean are the goals that show up every week. It truly does help to kick start the week if I feel every day is not going to be the same. It can be hard to not have a plan, otherwise I have found myself sitting on the couch until 4pm thinking “what am I going to do today?” – effectively wasting the day.
Here below is a “normal” day in quarantine for me.
8am – wake up (for a little German practice: aufstehen, ich stehe um 8 Uhr auf.) I am useless in the mornings. I’ve also been sleeping terribly. I wake up any time between 7:15-9am these days though, and then stay in bed as Aaron gets up and makes us breakfast. He has to be “at work” from 8:45, so he needs to get up and going long before me, as he takes longer to wake up in general. The mokka pot is always filled with fresh coffee, and usually porridge or toast is served. Stomachless Rachel has to eat first thing, but it also can’t be something complex. I start by eating small bits and usually either spend a full hour picking at the table or come back for a second small breakfast later.
I have found that taking my coffee and having a mindful morning has been very important to me. I sit alone and reflect on the things that I am scared about, as well as the things I am grateful for, and I write it all down.
9am-11am – Work time ! Aaron goes upstairs to the other flatmate’s room, and I stay in the front flatmate’s room where we have set up our respective “offices”. The boys each have desks and lovely windows and I am forever grateful to them letting us use their rooms while they are away. On days that Aaron doesn’t work (Thursdays and Fridays), we usually do a little home work out together and then still spend this time each working on our little projects – Aaron’s writing, and I’m reading/researching.
Part of the morning is spent researching recipes and typing up recipes for the blog. I also organize my recipes and make meal plans, trying to use inventive ingredients so that we are not eating the same thing over and over. In fact, I don’t think I’ve cooked the same thing twice since quarantine began (except for sourdough).
I work on bits and bobs throughout the morning, allowing myself time to wander about social media as long as I am mindful of it. As soon as I realize I am scrolling mindlessly and endlessly, I log off and hunker down back to work. Most mornings I spend doing work for a lawyer in California who I do research for, and also compiling research for my master’s degree assignments and dissertation. When this began, we still had class so I would be in online lectures for this time. Working in the morning works for me, so I found that keeping that same structure I had when school was “in session” was a major help.
11am -12:45pm – At around 11, Aaron comes downstairs and we make a midmorning tea, sipping on that for a little break and nibbling on whatever treat I have made throughout the week. Then it is back to work, reading and researching away. Just before lunch, given I am not too busy, I do some German studying. I use Babbel, as they offered a free 3 months at the beginning of quarantine and I gobbled that up. That said – I would gladly pay for a subscription (and I plan to!) I was meant to join a course with a university, but the fees were costly and given the situation, I would rather use an online app and pay for a class when we can again receive in-person teaching.
12:45pm-1:45pm – Lunch time! (Don’t worry plenty of snacking happens for me before and after this, I pop into the kitchen every hour or so to grab a bite to snack on!) Aaron and I always eat leftovers for lunch, because without fail my dinners are enough to feed 4 people comfortably lately. It’s nice to not have to think. We leave the lids on the pots and when it comes time to cook, all we have to do is turn on the gas. After we eat, it’s another tea and sitting in the garden to read for a moment. Lately, I am reading a book called The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. I’ve recently finished La Peste de Camus.
2pm-4:45pm – Aaron goes back upstairs to finish his work day and I do one of two things. Usually, I go back and try to do a little bit more work on whatever I was doing. Then I clean something. I have given our bathroom and kitchen some very loving deep cleans lately, and honestly nothing feels better than this. If Aaron isn’t working, we use this time to work in the garden, digging out the weeds and building beautiful areas for plants to thrive. Having an outdoor space is such a privilege. I don’t know what we would be doing without the little garden. It’s been a lot of work getting it back into garden shape, but well worth it.
4:45pm-5:30pm – We end our work part of our day and begin the relaxing part of our day with a short yoga practice. Aaron and I completed the 30 Day Yoga “Home” series with Adriene, YogaWithAdriene on YouTube. Her videos are good for any level, relaxing and easy to follow, and sometimes feature some tough Vinyasa flows. Aaron likes her for her pace, and I like her for her attitude. I miss going to in-person yoga courses, even though the last one I did was in Paris ! Yoga and breathing techniques, as well as meditation through the app Headspace, have been very important to me over the past year and some. Having a body can be a very difficult experience, and practices such as this help to ground me and remind me that I am strong – I can do anything with or without a stomach.
5:30pm-6pm – Sporcle time. Once Aaron is off work, he joins me downstairs and we pass the time completing logic and geography quizzes on this wonderful website called Sporcle. We can name all 197 countries of the world now, as well as point most of them out on a map (minus the micro-island nations, we know where in the world they are but not which individual island is Tuvalu or Nauru or Tonga!) This is such a fun way for us to keep our brains in check and to get the wheels turning.
6pm-7pm – Dinner prep and cooking time. Some days it is later, and some earlier. Sometimes we don’t do Sporcle or yoga immediately once Aaron is off of work, sometimes we have various calls to make, sometimes we’re still in the garden. But at some point in this time frame, we begin to gather ingredients and read recipes and figure out how to make something tasty delicious and that makes us happy. Usually at the start of the week, I take stock of the ingredients we have on hand and make a list of what we could do with those ingredients. We grab from one of those recipes in order to ensure that nothing goes to waste, or we adapt ingredients and recipes to fit the mood that we’re in that day.
Once a week we order a takeaway. I would say 9 times out of 10 (5 times out of 6) it is Indian takeaway from our favourite place nearby. This also helps give us a sense of normalcy and fun ! We order takeaway Indian once a month or so anyway, and as each week begins to feel like a month, why not treat ourselves? We’ve supported other local businesses, buying bagels and breakfast bakery boxes for delivery as well as beer and wine from a place owned by my favourite coffee shop in the area.
After dinner – When all of this began, we decided to set up a pub quiz because that was a weekly given that we knew we would miss. The first week was run by us, and now the baton has been passed, teams have been added and subtracted, and we have had so much fun and success completing it. We call our teammates each night to discuss answers, and then hop onto a video call to hear the answers read out and say hello to friends and family.
After quiz, we watch something. Aaron hopped onto a deal with Mubi, a film streaming website that offers one film a day which expires after 30 days. I’ve never gotten a membership as I worried about films expiring before I watched them, but now we have enough time to watch a film a night. And we have seen some amazing films now !
Then it’s clean up, feeding sourdough starter, brushing teeth and getting into bed.
How have you been coping? Do you have a quarantine routine?
I hope you are all staying healthy and well. I send my love.