22:34

Thank God for a smooth eventful week in July with better weather!

On Monday I had a restful last day as a twenty something – don’t worry I turned twenty something too, my blog name will remain the same for now! Been feeling a bit lazier recently due to not having any new places to explore, so sometimes I walk around the block a couple of times instead. Last Friday my group of friends and I decided it was my turn to lead the next quiz so I started preparing for the following Friday.

On Tuesday it was my birthday! Had a fairly early start to the day picking up my friend and driving to Craigie’s Farm for fruit picking. There’s something about picking your own produce that is super satisfying! Got lots of cherries, raspberries and strawberries and also picked a mini courgette. All really delicious and worth the money! I dropped off some fruit and shopping to my brother and my sister-in-law and then had lunch outside by Newhaven Harbour. Later on in the evening I took a walk up Blackford Hill to reflect on the day and the past year and was rewarded with beautiful, dramatic skies!

On Wednesday I went for a walk in my local area in the morning, did some more work on my quiz and played tennis after dinner. The evening air was much cooler compared to playing during the day, and we found it started to get darker quicker – summer is fading fast!

On Thursday I went for a cycle using the Just Eat cycles, a short walk around Edinburgh University Kings Building campus, cycled to meet my friend and played tennis. She let me try her hybrid bike and she tried the Just Eat one. She is an avid cyclist and wanted to see how different the city bikes were!

Today I made the most of my free subscription to Just Eat Cycles for the last time and cycled to McEwan Hall. My legs are definitely not built for cycling – those hills are tough! I then walked into the city centre to do some shopping (with my mask firmly on) and picked up a few things for my upcoming nieces/nephews. Also bought two items from The Body Shop using my £5 birthday voucher as a little treat for myself. Ended up walking all the way home in the drizzly rain! After our church fellowship, I led my quiz (Powerpoint and everything) and had a catch up with my friends.

All in all, a really lovely week spent doing heart-warming things. Definitely thankful for these past twenty something years and excited for what is to come!

21:59

Last week I had a terrifyingly realistic dream influenced by one of my recent Netflix show binges. I recently watched the whole latest season of 13 Reasons Why over the span of a few days. This blog post will touch on a particular episode of the latest season so only read on if you wish to have the show spoiled!

I used to have strangely vivid dreams with huge plot lines and stories, with multiple characters (including family and friends), but often with abrupt endings. In the past few years I have woken up each morning not remembering if I had a dream or not. Sometimes I have a mundane dream about work which is nothing in comparison to my past eccentric dreams. I believe that this may be because I fall asleep faster and into a deeper sleep because I’m always quite tired – but I’m no expert on sleep!

My realistic dream was based around 13 Reasons Why Season 4 Episode 8 titled Acceptance/Rejection. This episode centred around the high school going into lock down due to an active shooter. All staff and students barricade doors and hide under desks in their classrooms/offices for their own safety. There are students who want to confront the shooter and defend their school, there are students who call their parents and tell them they love them, and there are those who are terrified by every sound that they hear. The show also touches on PTSD as one of the students relives trauma due to the location of where he is stuck in lock down. It is later revealed that the whole situation is a drill, one that only a select higher ups in the school knew about. The sound of shots firing were those of blanks, and officers were asked to test door handles and walk about the school as if a real shooter was in the school. The latter half of the episode discusses ‘how did this exercise keep us safe?’ The students push back against authority saying that they don’t feel safe in their own school, and that the drill was potentially harmful to a lot of their students. They argue that the drill did more harm than good amongst other security measures, which leads to a mass walk out.

My dream featured a office building location and a mixture of my colleagues and friends. I was in the lobby of the office building chatting to some colleagues when alarm bells rang out and everyone was told to take cover because there was an explosive device in the building. This device was supposedly in the lift and was quickly descending down to the ground floor, which opened out to the lobby (where we were). My colleagues and I didn’t have time to exit the building so ran to the farthest corner and turned over the large L-shaped sofa, and hid under it. I slipped my phone out of my pocket but my fingers and brain didn’t seem to register what to do. I knew I had to contact my family as it could be the last time I spoke to them. My mind was swimming with thoughts. My colleagues and I waited under the sofa for an explosion and the impact of the blast, all frantic and panicked, with some crying and distressed. It was at this moment I woke up in a cold sweat with my heart pumping faster, reeling from the events of my dream. As I pieced together the events I realised that a lot of the emotions I had felt were based on the 13 Reasons Why episode I had watched the previous evening.

The media we consume has such a great effect on our lives. There are constant studies by scientists trying to prove the direct link between violent video games/shows and perpetrators of violent crime. As someone who studied Criminology for their undergraduate degree and has a strong interest in the crime genre (podcasts, shows, films, documentaries, theories), it has never bled into my unconscious. While I enjoy watching a show to unwind in the evening I may rethink my choice of genre to keep my dreams as peaceful as possible!

21:30

These lock down weeks seem to come in quicker and quicker as the months go by. Already tomorrow is Friday and brings around another weekend which is not much different from the rest. This week I have explored a few new areas of Edinburgh by foot (even in the pouring rain), baked scones, had video calls, cleaned and tidied my room, and also watched a stupid amount of Netflix, YouTube and films. The other things such as sleeping at crazy hours and eating weird cravings I don’t really need to mention…

More significant happenings include my younger brother and his wife are expecting a baby in December! Super happy news and I’m thankful that they came to tell me in person (from 6ft away of course). Definitely a blessing to brighten up a dreary lock down time, and something to look forward to when all this is over. I will become an aunty twice this year so have started collecting cute clothing etc for the babies in preparation for meeting them!

An important choice I made this week was to cut out black tea from my consumption. I recently noticed the toll tea took on the colour of my teeth so am actively using natural methods to combat the stains. I still occasionally drink green tea but have been sticking to water in a bid to keep a healthier system. Definitely miss the little caffeine boost from tea but thankfully I don’t need it during lock down!

20:49

Something I have been hearing/reading more of recently is the idea of being ‘Zoomed out’ or ‘video call fatigue’. Whatever platform you use to contact friends and family, there is a term to describe the feeling of being sick and tired of endless video calls. Whether you use them for work meetings, friendly catch ups, games and quizzes or even meal companions, the lock down from Covid-19 has us scrambling for human connection through the only means we have.

Prior to lock down the idea of a video call to me was an inconvenience and slightly daunting. What needs to be said so urgently that the other party needs to see my face? Back in late 2019 my brother and sister-in-law revealed to the family their baby scan via video call on Whatsapp – that was probably the last ‘normal’ use of video call. Starting in March my Whatsapp video calls increased, I joined Zoom and Webex, and I used Google Hangouts for maybe the third or fourth time in my life. During lock down a video call may be the only way to see someone who does not live in close proximity to you.

I attend a video call almost every other day. That may be in the form of me calling my parents for a quick catch up, attending a church fellowship, or simply hanging out with friends and family. My mum loves to show me her cooking/baking and the plants she is growing, and my dad likes to show himself eating said baked goods. A group of friends and I have started a weekly quiz/game night with the quiz master rotating through the group. It has become something that we all look forward to and is a chance for us to hang out virtually. I host an online tea time video call once or twice a month with extended family. We get to see how big the children have grown, comment on each other’s baking triumphs, and catch up on work/furlough news.

Though the idea of a video call used to intimidate me a little, it has quickly become the norm and is a valuable asset in this difficult situation with Covid-19. However is there such thing as too many video calls? Those who are working from home may have mandatory meetings every morning to check in, or clients to contact. Family members may video call instead of a standard phone call, increasing the need to be ‘on’ and present. A friend of mine left a video call because her eyes were sore from staring at the screen. My cousin declined a family video call due to being part of a call for 2 consecutive days. There are more and more people saying no to video calls. There are also those who accept a call, don’t turn on their video and put themselves on mute. A friend called those kind of people ‘lurkers’. I am guilty of doing this sometimes as I am often focussing on something else but not wanting to miss anything important.

Whatever the reason for not attending a video call there is no harm in saying no. This notion of presenting our best selves digitally can be tiring and overbearing. In troublesome times we can do our part by being understanding and mindful of others.

19:22

Tomorrow I head back up to Edinburgh after a longer than usual time spent back at home. This year I was able to arrange my holidays so I could spend 10 days in my home town with my family in December.

Each time I come back my nieces and nephews are a little taller, have learned more about the world and are cheekier than I could have ever imagined! In the downtime at home I was able to catch up with friends and family, spending quality time with those dearest to me.

While I am looking forward to a normal routine again, I will miss the comforts of my holiday back at home. All good things come to an end eventually!

 

22:02

Today my cousin came to speak to me at church and said she had a small gift for me. It was something that I had mentioned a few months ago and I was genuinely surprised she remembered. She said when she saw it in the store she had to get it for me because she remembered how much I liked it.

There is a heart-felt joy when people are reminded of you in day to day things. I am very thankful for loved ones and unexpected sparks of joy!

22:13

This morning at 04:15 my brother came into my room and woke me up. He was complaining of a sharp abdominal pain on his right side (just under his ribs). He said he had phoned an ambulance and they would be there within an hour. I quickly snapped out of my dozy state and got ready.

We waited for 30 minutes and there was no sign of the ambulance. My brother was clearly still in discomfort and was resting on the sofa. Whilst we were both relatively calm I started getting more anxious and paced about from window to window, looking out for the incoming ambulance. At 04:50 the ambulance arrived and we went inside to get checked.

After the usual questions and checks were completed, my brother was given some morphine to ease the pain. He started to feel a bit disorientated but soon we were on the way to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital at almost 06:00. My brother was wheeled into the hospital on a chair and we were assigned an examining room to wait. A student doctor came to do a check up but seemed very unsure of himself. Another doctor also came to look at my brother’s condition but seemed to think nothing of the symptoms and thought it not serious. We were assigned another room and paracetamol was given to help with the pain.

At around 06:30 the student nurse came back to do a blood test. He joked about missing the vein and having to repeatedly stab patients. My brother and I didn’t think it was funny given the situation. The bloods went off to be analysed and we waited for the results.

It got to 08:10 and we still hadn’t been informed of anything. My brother had fallen asleep lying on the trolley and I had dozed on and off. I also contacted our mum to inform her of what happened and stayed relatively calm so not to freak her out. The blood results came in about 08:20 and a consultant told us the blood results were normal, and there was nothing to suggest internal problems. The verdict was ‘non-specific abdominal pain’. The consultant talked us through the possible reasons for the pain and what to do if the pain recurred. At this point my brother’s pain had subsided considerably. By 08:35 he was discharged. Thank God he managed to rest more during the course of the day (as did I) and ate a little.

One of the doctors commented on how calm my brother was throughout the whole process. This also led him to believe that it was nothing serious. The whole experience was a huge learning curve for me, not only into how the medical care system works but also of how I deal with emergency situations. I kept my calm in the ambulance by reassuring my brother and also saying prayers in my heart. Had the sirens been blaring and the ambulance been going faster, I would surely have been more panicky. Luckily it was early morning and the pain was bearable.

In emergency situations always remember to be logical, prepared and informed. We both managed to stay calm, I packed some food, water and an external phone charger in my bag, and I took a photo of the medication my brother takes. Though I certainly would not like to experience the situation again I would like to think I could handle it well.

23:10

It’s been a fair while since I’ve posted so I feel a little update is overdue!

I moved into a new flat mid-January which has brought about new challenges and exciting times! I have discovered a new love of cooking and planning meals, setting aside time to clean and do chores, and truly embracing down time. I have also been introduced to paying house bills, travelling further to work (thus waking up earlier), and fitting everything into different time schedules.

I have also truly learned to embrace family time at home. Over the holidays I got to relax and catch up with my family, whilst also being busy with gatherings with various friends. I rang in the new year with some of my oldest friends and learned to lie my way through many many games of Secret Hitler. I set up fireworks and screamed out of excitement (and fear) as the new year rang in!

Apologies for the less frequent posts but I am still here working my way through my twenties!

20:25

Currently undergoing trying and testing times due to a family member being in hospital for major surgery and recovery. It made me reconsider the things I hold dear to me. Last week I took an unexpected day off work to go to the hospital with my family. Previously I would have considered how my colleagues would feel picking up my work in my absence, or the fact that I have used all my annual leave already. However I found that I did not think about work that whole day because my heart was concerned with the matters of my family. Worrying about trivial things is not healthy or beneficial. Yes, we need to consider these things in the long run but it is also important that we can drop them at a moment’s notice.

23:15

Last weekend I was able to return home to visit my family for a few days. Though it was a short ‘long weekend’, it was definitely worth it to travel 5.5 hours home and back just to see them. I miss simple home comforts now and again so quick bursts of home satisfy my yearnings.

I am thankful for time with family and friends and the rare times I get to return home. It makes me cherish those times all the more.