Hello! Honestly what a strange month it's been, as I'm sure you already know. I started writing this at the beginning of March and now that I'm reading it back it feels so bloody sad knowing that a lot of the things I was excited about are now shrouded in uncertainty due to coronavirus. I'm trying to stay positive and of course, remember the bigger picture. With that being said, I also just want to let myself feel upset at everything...I mean, it's stupid to repress any feelings of sadness about potentially cancelled year abroad's and travels, covering them up with a flippant reference to "people r dyin kim."

There's so much emphasis on how hundreds of thousands of people across the world have it worse right now, which is of course undeniable but this shouldn't be an excuse to sweep everyone else's feelings about this pandemic under the carpet. Let people feel sad. Let people be upset about 'small' things like the fact that they won't see their university friends anytime soon or that they won't be going on a holiday they've saved up for or that even simple things like welcoming the sunshine and new season of Spring with long days in parks and beaches. It's not fair to force people to 'get over it' and keep calm and carry on with life when the majority of the population has never experienced anything quite like this and the extent of limits put on our everyday lives. So those of you reading who are mourning their 'normal lives', mourn. Allow yourself to feel things.
I've been home from university for almost three weeks after we were told to leave due to the virus. Being back at home has been nice but I can't shake the feeling of longing for the rest of the academic year. I really love Exeter: my little room with a huge window, 'crazy jan's' garden next door which is truly quite something else (so...eclectic), my packed cork-board littered with photos, postcards and quotes, my flatmates Tom and Luze who are always there for a chat whether it's through tears or laughter, the rolling fields in the distance and the sound of seagulls. I heard some seagulls squawking and I closed my eyes and imagined I was at my desk in Exeter. Having to leave in such a rush has only highlighted how much more I wanted to do and just how excited I was to spend the warmer months in the south west. There's no set date for return now that exams have been moved online and are open book. I just hope I can return soon and make the most of the blue skies and sunny weather, preferable on cathedral green or by the sea, perhaps even a trip to Cornwall to catch some waves :')

Coronavirus aside, term 2 was super strange. I was perpetually stressed and on-edge and ever so anxious throughout the duration of January and February. It hasn't been enjoyable at all but university wellbeing are amazing. The lack of my already sparse contact hours was exacerbated by the strikes, which I completely support but my God did they make my days completely structureless. But I survived it!

I'm still in the process of researching and writing my mini History dissertation which was a major source of stress for the past 2 months. I've managed to take a bit of a break since moving back. Global pandemics really do put everything in context. I'm writing on the Jewish/Converso and Muslim/Morisco experience during the later reconquista years in Spain and the treatment of these groups up till the Edicts of Expulsion which kicked them out of their home of 800 years, so exploring how much they were tolerated, their forced conversions, how the crown reacted to crypto-Muslims/Jews and how they came to expel them. It's all incredibly interesting but also hella depressing and super duper dense.

Sticking to Spain....I got a job! in Madrid! As in....I am actually going to be living and working in Madrid for the year during my year abroad. A city I fell in love with when I visited in the past. I'll be able to call it home for a year and hopefully grow to love it even more. I have a job confirmed but am looking to see if I can find another job and split my year between the two, we'll see how it goes. Current Dalal here :( I really hope my year abroad can still go ahead, although my heart aches every time I see a new update on Spain's situation. I was so close to booking a flight for the start of April last month in the hopes that I could revisit the city and spend a few days solo before moving in September. I've made a promise to myself that even if my year abroad doesn't come to fruition, I'll move to Madrid for a year upon graduating and hopefully carry on my planned internship then. One way or another, I will call Madrid home.

I've been learning how to drive, not the best time to do so whilst the virus is rearing it's head. I passed my theory test in mid January and started lessons in February but those have obviously been paused. I just hope I'm still confident by the time I'm back on the road, it's taken me 15 hours to finally feel somewhat comfortable behind the wheel (read: no tears rolling down my cheek silently after accidentally shifting to fourth gear instead of second and stalling)
A positive outcome of the quarantine is that I've had lots of time to do things that make me happy! I've watched new seasons of my favourite shows on Netflix (la casa de papel part 5!), I've water-coloured, I've read lots of fiction and my favourite blogs, I've flicked through family photo albums and restarted my travel instagram and even made a tiktok of my trip to lake Como, I've bought a few summery clothes on depop...even if I probably won't be able to wear them anywhere else but the balcony, I've tried new recipes (and felt ever so tory buying risotto rice as if it were an essential item lol) and work out, I've listened to lots and lots of music from old disco/dance and house to techno to jazz and bossa nova. I still have deadlines and exams but I'm super grateful to be able to take a few steps back and slow down.

The next few months, including the summer, like everyone else's, are very up in the air. My sister and I had booked to go to Lisbon in mid-June for when she'd finish her (now cancelled) GCSEs but we're not very optimistic about being able to go in the end. We'll see what happens!

Anyway this post is on its way to becoming way too long! I hope you're all doing well and are staying safe at home. Let me know how your quarantine is going :)

Dalal

10 comments

  1. This is so relatable Dalal! Having my year abroad 3 months short has been soo incredibly heartbreaking. Just been trying to see through the bitterness and understand that where I am right now is where I'm supposed to be, and that I'm grateful to be with family etc. But it's difficult though, without a doubt!!! Hope you're taking care, Madrid will come!! Summer will come, it will just be different. Sending luv! <3 <3 <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh it's such a shame that so many people's year abroad's have been cut short or are now up in the air, I hope you had a fab time anyway :') you're definitely right about seeing it as a 'I am where I am meant to be' instead of as something totally negative. Thanks for your comment Zoe- I hope you're doing well <3

      Dalal xx

      Delete
  2. I feel this post so much Dalal. Especially about feeling sad even when worse things are happening, I think we can sometimes use it to mask up how we truly feel which can be worse sometimes. I'm sorry about the uncertainty about your year abroad, Madrid sounds amazing and I really hope you will be able to go! I've been grateful to have this time to slow down and am doing similar things; I'm not currently working so am using the time to learn Spanish (need to message you!) and pick my french back up again before uni. Also major props to driving, I passed and no longer drive which is somewhat tragic. I have faith you will get there, even if it is after this is all over. Sending my love <3 xxx

    eleanorclaudie.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad it resonated with you in some way <3 It seems like you're spending your quarantine super well, it really is nice to be forced to stop and have your frantic pace of life slow down completely, giving you more time to just be! Yes, feel free to message me for any Spanish related queries, I'll be happy to help :) I hope you're doing well and staying safe and happy!!

      Dalal xx

      Delete
  3. Glad you're well Dalal; it's so good to read a post from you! I'm with you on allowing yourself to grieve the future a little bit; I think we're all quick to dismiss our feelings because 'it could be so much worse.' It's all relative though and everyone's lives have been disturbed in some way- small or big! Madrid will be amazing, can't wait to come and visit you! For now it's good to slow down a little for sure. Please carrying on with posting:) I miss your writing! sending good vibes xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahhh thanks Lexie, I'll try and keep writing! Yes! It's so unfair to push people to take this all on the chin and just accept their new reality whilst shaming them for feeling sad about it. I'd love to host you in Madrid (whenever that is ahah)

      Sending lots and lots of love! xx
      Dalal

      Delete
  4. I'm so glad to hear that you're doing well! Congratulations on getting the job and Spain is going to be amazing! I've been learning to drive too which is super scary and I've only done about 2 hours but I can't wait until I pass and have so much freedom. I hope that you are staying safe xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!! I hope you're well too. Driving is SO scary but it'll get easier with time, good luck with it xx

      Dalal

      Delete
  5. I feel for you! People might have it "worse" but our situation makes us feel the way we do and how we feel is valid. Don't forget that. I have been looking at your posts- just found your blog and I have been liking your vibe. I've been trying to spend this time relating to others and finding new blogs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh thank you for reading, I'm glad you like my blog so far! And that's a great way to spend quarantine :) x

      Dalal

      Delete

Thank you for reading! I love reading comments and will always reply to them.

Lots of love, Dalal

© dalal tahira.