When I first got close-contacted I was stuck at my mind-numbingly boring summer retail job, hiding (totally inconspicuously) in the changing rooms, killing time on my phone before my much deserved one-hour lunch break. As you can probably already infer, I was obviously the employee of the month. After about 45 minutes of panic, denial, and furious scanning of the COVID-19 government website—it finally became apparent that this was NOT the type of ~positive vibes ~ I initially envisioned and manifested for the month.
When I arrived home, it was time to break the news to my Asian mum. To put it politely, I’d describe my mum as someone with an intense and uh, fiery personality—who also happens to be an active subscriber of WeChat’s hypochondriac discourse. So, after making her promise she would NOT have a heart attack, I dropped the truth bomb, emotionally preparing myself for the chaos that would soon follow. Unsurprisingly, I was given a lengthy and condescending lecture that was backed by citations from her fellow scholars at WeChat University. In my mum’s eyes, I had not only personally summoned the disease into my lungs, but also did so with the sole intention of passing it onto her.
Despite having no symptoms, I still had to set up a COVID-19 ward in my bedroom. Armed with enough bottles of strange supplements to put Vitamin C poisoning on my autopsy report and some trusty 15-year-old Tiger Balm (expiration dates are a myth in my family), I was set to be confined to my room for the next four days. Not gonna lie, the FOMO set in pretty quickly—especially since I had to drop out of a three-day Uni club trip to Rotorua. But hey! At least I could now catch up on all the hobbies I had neglected during Summer School!
However, classic me became paranoid very quickly. All of a sudden my throat kinda tickled. I started getting “hot flashes” and sneezing “more than usual”. I leapt to the conclusion that my tiredness must be a result of Covid fatigue and not because I only got five hours of sleep that day! Sadly, this weird anxiety lasted ‘til I got a RAT. After weeping like a pussy when I had to nose swab myself (I have sensitive tear ducts okay)—you bet I was THANKING my lucky stars that I was negative.
Here’s the part where you’re probably expecting me to say that I was super productive with my time. Nope. I sowed wheat on Farmville, swung on a swing (masked) by myself at the playground while little kids watched on with pity and actively avoided cleaning my room. I did however finally get around to watching the Before film trilogy and AHH I HAVE NEVER FELT SO SIMULTANEOUSLY EMPTY AND ALIVE IN MY LIFE. The series is BRILLIANT. Would highly recommend watching if you find yourself in self-iso or just any time for that matter.
For everyone currently isolating—don’t feel obliged to be productive. Being by yourself is already hard enough. You can get through this!!!
Self-isolation is what hot girls do. I guess the fact that three of us on our Craccum team—of eleven people—were self-isolating at the same time, is just a sign of the times, honestly. I was stuck in MIQ from February 9 to 17, because midway through, the government decided to turn my 10-day quarantine to 7; as long as she had a negative result, and this bitch did. The government really said: ‘She’ll be alright’ and she was fine asf!
So, that meant I could attend my uncle-slash-cousin’s wedding (he’s an uncle that’s my age), whom I adore! But behold, there was a positive case in the wedding, and my two-day freedom streak plummeted; I was back into isolation. For background context: in early January of 2022, my family and I already caught the Omicron variant in The Philippines. So, we isolated for about three weeks and it was testing galore. So, to say that last week was my third isolation of the year? In mid-February? Bonkers, but hopefully it’s an end to this whole Covid series.
But this third isolation was pretty fun. Isolations are generally easy for me. I’ve grown to my introvertedness, and it helps me take time to just crochet and watch dumb shit, like the wreck that is Emily In Paris. It also helped that I was coming from my summer back in The Philippines, and I needed to settle back into my Auckland flat. It helped that other members in my family were isolating too; some sort of sense-of-community being built, I guess. I did miss the fact that I couldn’t go out to the beach, considering the weather was so nice, but my bed provided the same amount of comfort anyway. I also got downtime to make money on Depop! So, win-win.
Oh, the sweet sound of a Covid App ring. After a rocky few days of potential Covid exposure, it was confirmed via an extremely rude push notification. I was thrust back into lockdown mode, ready to have some unscheduled sleep-ins and attempt to expel health anxieties via movies and hugs.
Due to the long months we spent in Level 4 and 3 last year, I’ve sort of honed in on what my ideal isolation entails. Going into those seven days, I knew I needed to establish some sort of routine, dedicate some specific time to work, stay out of bed during those hours, and reserve some time for no screens. Did I do all of that successfully? Definitely not. I tried my best. I was active on my emails and slumped at my desk for a few hours a day (nothing stops for Craccum deadlines), but also allowed myself time to just chill out. I was bummed to be missing out on some catch-ups with friends and events I had planned out, so I definitely allowed myself some time to be glum too.
However, I did get some lovely time to work on my ‘grandma hobbies’ as my loved ones like to call them. I busted out my long neglected knitting, cracked into some dusty board games, and tried playing some Pétanque (just kidding, that last one is not real). Good news is I’m halfway through my scarf, and might even get it finished for this winter. Bad news is my partner has seen more of my scary and grumpy competitive side: “BABE, you HAVE to say ‘Uno’! It doesn’t count otherwise!!!”
Thankfully, no Covid had squirmed its way into our immune systems, and we’ll go on to fight this virus some other day. While I won’t be jumping at the opportunity to return to isolation again, I’m grateful for the time I got to spend with my partner, right before uni steps in to kick our butts. It did take a long six days to get my PCR back though, so I will not send that energy on to anyone out there still waiting on their own.