A Year of Covid Lockdowns

It's been a long 12 months!

It is a year since the government implemented the first lockdown. I feel as though I have been living in this “new norm” for so long now that I cannot quite remember how it feels to not live this way!

Although I have adapted into this new lifestyle, sometimes it feels like I am just numbing out my emotions that yearn for life to go back to being normal. Social media can make this hard as well. I often see my friends meeting up for meals together in restaurants back home, as the restrictions are different – how lush!

With the vaccines being efficiently administered, I am starting to feel hopeful again. My friend termed it as “a light at the end of a long tunnel” which is well phrased.

After the heavy workload this semester and with limited options, I am contented with not having any elaborate plans for Easter. I know that some of my mates will still be in Newcastle and some good company is really all I need. I might also dabble in some art trends such as resin art with dried flowers, read some books, play frisbee, go indoor rock climbing (climbing centres open up on April 12th!) or take a train and stay with my relatives for a short while.

This plan of odd bits and bobs is not something that I normally would have looked forward to. But I am happy that I can mostly push my work out of sight and out of my mind. It’s the little things in life that mean more to me now, as I realise that it is these things that are slowly shaping me into the person I want to be, as I build good habits. For instance, a good read could broaden my mentality while a new art project could be a therapeutic creative outlet, which simultaneously boosts my confidence.

The restrictions have helped me to become more focused on the present, instead of worrying about constantly being on the move to feel productive. This is still sometimes a challenge for me as I can be such a worrier!

"The restrictions have helped me to become more focused on the present, instead of worrying about constantly being on the move to feel productive. "

What Easter traditions do you have in your country?

For me, back home in Malaysia, I would normally attend church with my family. After the Easter service we would socialise with others over a buffet of local delicacies in the car park.

As a Christian, I always gather alongside the church community on Easter Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, which grants me the freedom to have a connection with God.

Unfortunately, due to the current lockdown circumstances things are different. Last Easter the service from the church I attend in the UK had a live online service instead. Truthfully speaking, I did not expect much from the talk as I tend to find that Easter services can get quite repetitive in nature. However, sitting on my bed alone in my dorm room, I felt the opposite of boredom as I listened to the speaker. Essentially, the speaker prompted me to be more introspective in my faith in God. I was encouraged to claim my relationship with God rather than just viewing it as a religion I had been brought up with. Still, I missed the fellowship I was accustomed to each time I went to church because the community really does make the church.

Easter Differences: The UK and Malaysia

Here in the UK, there is an abundance of tempting Easter themed chocolate treats all over the supermarkets which would be hard to find back in Malaysia. I have read about Easter egg hunts but never participated in one (but would happily do so even now!), which my housemates mentioned was part of their childhood.

Easter is commonly associated with a term break here which does not occur back home in Malaysia. Currently, I absolutely cannot wait for this term break and a well-deserved rest from all things course related, as this semester has been quite a hectic one for me.

I would have loved to travel across Europe during the break, probably to the Netherlands, as we had hoped to visit there last Easter holidays. It was a shame as my friends and I had so eagerly planned out our little tour across the Netherlands, only to have to forsake our plans when her parents grew concerned about the rising Covid-19 cases. In hindsight, this was no doubt the right call.

Stay safe and have lots of fun, whatever your Easter plans might be!

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Joylynn - International Student Blogger

Joylynn is an international student from Malaysia. She is studying Speech and Language Therapy at Newcastle University.

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