AH if we only knew what life would be like in the year 2020 and well from what it seems 2021! COVID I’m sure you guys are sick of hearing all about it and depending on where you are in the world you probably are still dealing with this nightmare that is somewhat far from ending. I know what you are thinking what a positive note to start a blog post on… well life sucks at the moment and hence there is a slight pessimistic tone going on, on here! Nonetheless, there is so much to be grateful for. The last year brought a lot of hardships I’m sure to all of you and I hope whoever is reading this is in good health with a roof on top of their heads.
I decided to write this blog post as a little update on my life it is mostly for me to reflect on last year and for random strangers to read my late night thoughts. I don’t know about you but this is my coping mechanism in order for me to slow down time. P.s. if you didn’t catch on I called it home quarantine edition because most of it was spent in quarantine 🙂 lets start from march 2020.
In March 2020 the very first cases of covid in Qatar were coming out, it wasn’t a big deal we thought it was just a couple of cases that were specific to a certain area here and so the spread can be stopped easily! I remember watching covid spreading in other countries, near by, and thinking to myself.. Nah never going to happen here while enjoying a cup of pricey coffee with friends and interviewing for random jobs, you know the chill life I took for granted… yeah. At the end of this month we were under somewhat of a lock down cases kept increasing my parents starting working from home and my sister had to come back from university whilst my other sister started going to school online. It is all fun… having the entire family home just casually yelling at each other to get off the internet as someone’s zoom meeting is glitching whilst the other is trying to listen to a lecture!
April 2020 – I think this is when everyone started actually freaking out I remember cases reached a 800 per day which for a small country like Qatar is a lot in fact more restriction were put in place during April. The entire world was up in flames during this month I use to open the news channel and watch countries announce their new cases as if it was stocks, the covid stock market 📈 📉 Everyday you were watching to see but unlike the stocks you want a decrease so that our lives can go back to normal! April though brought sadness into my life for other reasons! I remember it was a very low point in my life, I had graduated from uni last summer (2019) and I felt like taking a gap time and so I did. I enjoyed time traveling and indulging on good food having endless fun. January 2020 comes I decide I would start looking at jobs and I did do some interviews and I got one job offer that I passed on because they worked Saturdays and I’m spoiled to the point I need a two day weekend hahaha no but that wasn’t the only reason I mean the pay wasn’t great either and I didn’t necessary like the job description. I love how I’m explaining this to you guys deep down I think I’m trying to convince myself that my decision was right . Anyways I had built hope on moving to Norway in fact it was 90% happening but due to the pandemic unfortunately this plan got canceled, just to let you know, not by me 😦 I had just rejected a job offer a month ago and the job sectors had come to a halt during April and so I did feel like I took a wrong decision but in my defense how would I have known that this is going to happen. So yeah I felt like I had no future and that I was going no where in life, not a great feeling by the way.
May 2020 – I buried myself in the kitchen, people look at the exterior and think she is doing well little did they know that those cooking videos hold so much hidden emotions. I like to say this “with every smile there was a thousand tears with every new recipe there was a thousand voices screaming in my head” But I pushed through one banana bread at a time. For me it wasn’t much the isolation I felt like I was one of the lucky people that got to quarantine with her family which truly was a blessing. I feel like for me it was the no future part that really got to me, add on that the fear of losing a loved one to COVID and you’ve got a bundle of beautiful emotions but yeah I cooked and cooked and cooked people got three course meals and a snack on my insta almost everyday it was crazy… I laugh about it now but it was the biggest and longest mental breakdown I ever had. It is amazing how I’m still kinda sane today.
June & July 2020 – Those months were confusing here is why on one side you see the amount of love and compassion the world was showing! You would go on insta and see a random person throwing a concert on their balcony for the whole neighborhood and you think people are good. On the other side someone is being a covidiot and getting people sick because they aren’t taking covid seriously and you think why am I surrounded by idiots! In addition to that you hear on the news that covid will end by summer… summer comes and we are at home dealing with our families that at that point were driving us insane…. but you love them right?! On one side the introvert in you is like yess home all day get to relax on the other side you are like I’m bored of that same exact routine every day! I ran out of recipes … imagine I felt like it was my duty to help my friends abroad make a nice homey meal but I couldn’t anymore it was an endless loop of the same shit everyday and a glitter of hope that fades in the background when you get a notification of the number of new cases of covid… we continue to bake banana breads and eat our emotions cuz what else will we do. I love the month of July and June though you wanna know why… the entire of Qatar bought inflatable pools to put in their backyards we swam in an unintentional Jacuzzi and tanned under the scorching hot sun. Looking back at it I’m thinking it wasn’t the greatest use of money but anything for us to feel like we had a summer I guess.
August 2020 – Restrictions start to get lifted gradually and I get to go eat in a restaurant and swim in a cold pool. I remember the first dine out experience after the lock down was at a Thai restaurant called Isaan with my whole family everyone was freaking out like is the chef wearing a mask, did he wash his hands? is this table sanitized well? don’t touch this! don’t stand near me! why is the waiter so close to us ? did this guy just cough? it was insanity at its best. I honestly can’t believe we didn’t worry about those things before. A pandemic comes and changes how we look at sanitary aspects in our outings. Restrictions getting lifted didn’t just allow us to go out and meet our friends after not seeing them for months it also brought new opportunities in new places.
September 2020 – The start of a new life. This month was exciting first cuz it was ma birthday month whoop whoop secondly I took the decision to move to the stunning city of Istanbul! This decision was rash not going to lie very last minute wasn’t even part of my plans but I’m glad I did it. I packed my bags and said goodbye to my parents and left to Istanbul. Flying during a pandemic is the absolute best first the flight had like 5 people so no cues and no one is sitting next to you on either side the only downside is wearing the mask and face shield the entire flight and in the airport. Still loved that flight despite the fear of that this move was a wrong decision roaming through my brain.
October 2020 – Furnishing my new place and getting accustomed to the life there. I’ve visited Istanbul many times before but living in a country is very different than visiting it for a week. Residency permit paper work, health insurance, finding an apartment, furnishing the apartment getting used to the working hours here. All those processes were so exhausting, they definitely took a toll on me but it was just a couple of weeks of hard work. I finally got a good night sleep in my bed and had a home of my own, I got used to my new routine and started enjoying what this beautiful huge city has to offer. I was now sure that the the decision that I made was a good one and I was thankful for all the support I got in the process
November 2020 – The start of the rise of covid cases in Istanbul. When I first arrived in Istanbul the cases were relatively low however unfortunately they started rising and so did the restrictions. By the end of November we had weekend lockdowns and all restaurants closed off, we also had curfew every night which was quite tough to deal with. Being home alone for two whole days is crazy I feel like if it wasn’t for Netflix I wouldn’t have survived. My heart goes to anyone living alone and has to deal with this pandemic alone.
December 2020 – With new year being around the corner and covid still being well and alive it was easy to feel that the this nightmare was far from over. You would see those posts by people anticipating 2021 to be the year where all this disappears. However towards the end of December a new variant of covid, that spreads faster, appeared… this year truly took the joy and happiness that comes with different holidays (Eid, Easter, Diwali ,Christmas, etc) and left most of us ,if not all, mourning the loss of loved ones, dealing with heart ache due to being away from loved ones for such a long period of time and having financial troubles due to losing a job. However despite this year being a total disaster I was so thankful for the simple blessing of being alive with a roof on top of my head! I knew 2021 will not change much but the date but it was important to keep counting my blessings and keep being aware of my surroundings and the privilege I’ve been given.
January 2021 – Happy New Year! I flew back to Qatar on new year’s eve to visit the family and I was stuck in Quarantine for 7 days which was a great time to reflect on life and my goals for this year. Not the greatest start of the year but I did come out of that quarantine with a new mindset! Once I was out I got to see my family, my friends and indulge on Qatars innovative food scene ( I did put on some pounds ;|).
February 2021 – I got my first dose of the covid vaccine. I was one of the lucky ones that was able to get the vaccine early I was excited cause that meant my body would be able to deal with the virus (hopefully) if god forbid I get infected. At the same time I felt like in a way it was unfair that I got it when many people do need it and don’t have access to it. The world is an unfair place unfortunately and I do pray for a better world but until then I do hope that anyone out there with no access to the vaccine is keeping safe or trying to keep safe. I’m aware that sadly the people with no access to the vaccine are the same people that work their ass off in the streets trying to make a living for their families and have limited health care access, so you reading this keep those people in your prayers, in fact keep all the people suffering from poverty, or working tough jobs in those tough times in your prayers.
March 2021 – I got my second dose of the vaccine and flew back to Istanbul to resume my life routine. Covid didn’t just have an affect on the healthcare sector it truly screwed up our economies and the world is suffering! It is easy to think about it in the small picture like saying “I didn’t travel and go on a vacation for a year now” I do it sometimes, it’s normal to look at it in the way it affects you only. However, it is important to remember that for many it meant becoming homeless, for many it meant losing many loved ones, for many it meant being stranded in a place away from home and for many it was physically and emotionally exhausting. So show more compassion towards your friends, family and strangers you meet on the subway or the bus. Don’t give people a hard time, you don’t know what they went through and how they are surviving at the moment. Be grateful, count your blessing and for the love of god stop with that feta pasta challenge or any Tiktok viral food recipe for that matter!
Until next time, crave the dish…