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!

22:17

With the arrival of good weather in the UK my friends and I have had the opportunity to play more tennis. The courts are currently still free to use as Edinburgh Leisure remains closed so are not taking court bookings. The courts will remain free for the remainder of the month.

Revisiting sports that I used to play in high school brings back fond memories of my more athletic days. I was part of an after school tennis club which I really enjoyed. Picking up a tennis racket again after over 10 years brought back happy memories. Though it took us a while to get used to the sport again, it was satisfying when we started to get some good shots over the net. We definitely lost a ball or two by hitting them over the fences but have managed to make improvements in recent sessions. We found that we still have muscle memory of how our bodies should move while playing tennis, almost like an automated system got rebooted. Each time we played for 2 hours and found ourselves wanting to play again.

As the month draws to the end and rainy weather makes a comeback, our tennis days draw to a close. Thank God for a strange lock down time to revisit past experiences and create new ones!

22:25

The UK lock down rules have loosened a little meaning that there are more chances to meet friends and family while still social distancing. The rules differ according to English, Scottish, and Welsh governments with different levels of business reopening and meeting regulations in the regions.

Today after dinner I went for a walk with a friend and her parents in a popular park in Edinburgh. The weather has been great all week and resulted in a lot of people congregating in groups to enjoy the sun. While spirits were high, BBQs were blazing and everything seemed as normal, there were a few things which reminded everyone of the pandemic. There was a much greater presence of police officers on patrol keeping groups from getting too large, and making sure social distancing was being followed. Most people sat a little sparser so laughter and chatter was louder.

While I am glad that restrictions are lifting a little, I am also still aware that Covid-19 is still very much prevalent in the UK. There are new cases and deaths everyday. As we enter phase 1, I will continue to wear a mask and sanitise my hands when shopping in supermarkets and also keep my distance from others on my runs. We are all collectively hoping that there isn’t a second peak because people have become too lax concerning the virus. Only by working together can we overcome.

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.

22:09

Yesterday I pushed myself to see a group of friends who I haven’t seen in a while. These friends are easy to get on with but are much more extroverted than I am – which is why I do not see them that often. As a keen introvert I tend to shy away from large group hang outs and opt for smaller group occasions instead. A larger group can be mentally draining and takes more effort on my part to ‘fit in’.

The initial group of 15 was difficult to get used to. I felt like I was quiet and not really a part of their conversations – like an outsider looking in. However as the night went on and I spoke to people on a one-to-one basis, I felt more relaxed and at ease.

One friend (who I have always connected to a little more) took the time to catch up with me which made the social situation a little less daunting. He also remembered a fact about me which I didn’t even know he knew! I questioned how he knew and he gave the reply, “Everyone knows this about you.” It was such a small and passing comment but it really resonated with me. It was actually a compliment in disguise. It was a reassurance that I was not forgotten despite my absence from frequent social gatherings. It was a detail so small, yet it was comforting to know that people remembered that about me.

As the night went on, the numbers of the group dwindled down and we started to reminisce on memories. I had settled into a safe space with people I was comfortable with, talking about how we had all grown together and come so far. We ended the night around 1am (noticeably later than my usual early bed times) and went our separate ways. I left the gathering with a warm feeling in my heart – I had pushed myself into an uncomfortable situation and prevailed.

Getting out of my comfort zone is a challenge but the biggest obstacle is actually my own thoughts. There is always a ‘what if’ thought. A pessimistic thought that suggests something could go wrong. A daunting task in front of me that I can’t achieve. But what if it goes right? What if I can achieve it? I like to think that I can encourage people but when it comes to myself I struggle. It may not be easy but getting rid of the negative thoughts is the first step to success.

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!

 

16:45

Yesterday I had the chance to catch up over dinner and dessert with a friend who I lost contact with 7 years ago. While we have seen each other in passing often over those 7 years, there was an unwritten rule that we didn’t talk to each other any more. Though there was never any verbal or written confirmation that we were no longer friends all those years ago, we both felt things had grown cold and we fell out of touch. Last night’s dinner with mutual friends allowed us to reconnect a little and to catch up on the little things. Sometimes all that’s needed is the acknowledgement that things are okay though a former friendship disappeared. It shows growth and development from both parties. What happened in the past becomes irrelevant and people are able to move on.

22:47

After a hectic week of work and play I have finally had a chance to let my body rest. For the past week an Australian friend has been visiting Edinburgh so everyday has been eventful. I went to work during the day and met my friend in the evenings which resulted in long days out of the house. We also helped to prepare for our mutual friend’s wedding over the weekend (making favours, decorations and organising schedules). Over Sunday and Monday I attended wedding festivities and taxied friends around in my car.

Today I went back to work feeling very drained and ended up being quite unproductive. After a long Monday of wedding activities and the previous week of work and play, the tiredness finally caught up with my body. When I got home from work I had a 3 hour nap, skipped dinner and now I am ready to sleep again.

As much as I love being busy sometimes, I also need time to rest and have some time to myself. Being physically out of the house every day and night is exhausting! I think my body is telling me to slow down and take it easy, however I seem to have a million things planned for the coming months. I am grateful in advance for any opportunities that I get to stay at home!

22:57

I am safely back in my home town in the comforts of my childhood bedroom! The last few days have been manic with travelling, friends and visitors, and family gatherings.

I spent much of my long weekend catching up with people who I do not get to see for the majority of the year. I must have answered the, “So where do you work now?” question at least 15 times. Sometimes I feel like I have lost that connection with my friends and family back at home, however there are also times where it feels like I never left.

I spent Sunday afternoon through till Monday in the lovely city of Cambridge. A friend recently moved out there for work so a group of 10 went out there to visit and chill out. When we get together it reminds me of how much we have all grown, as individuals and together as a group. While some of us have moved away from our home towns, it is reassuring to see everyone growing and developing into self-sufficient adults in their own ways. It is comforting to know that my friends are doing well.

22:15

In between all the family gatherings and friend feasts I have finally had an evening to myself since I travelled home for the holidays. I had an early and quiet dinner with my mum and my brother before soaking in a hot bath.

As work keeps me busy during the day I have gotten used to having the evenings to myself. I do not mind having the odd event where I need to be out of the house longer than usual, but for the most part I like to be showered and ready for bed by 21:30! The work lifestyle has got me in a set routine, so once the holidays hit it was quite a shock.

As visits home go by so quickly, it makes sense to cram them as to make the most of my time. It has been lovely to catch up with relatives and friends over the past few days. As I do not know the next time I will be able to travel home I shall endeavour to fill my days a little more!