When I envisioned 2020…let’s just say it looked the complete opposite of what it’s turned out to be, as I’m sure is the case for every single one of you reading this. I welcomed in 2020 from the comfort of my own home with a tummy full of buffet food and, prosecco. I daydreamed of spontaneous travels, theatre visits, date nights in instagrammable cocktail bars, festivals, long summer nights with friends, summer balls at university- need I go on. I envisioned a year full of new experiences- new experiences that involved being in a close proximity to people. As all of you are, I feel astounded by the reality of our 2020 thus far. I still very much feel like we’ve been warped into a science-fiction movie and I’m waiting for Tom Cruise to swarm in and save us all.
J A N U A R Y
Thankfully, my year began with a series of trips and gatherings that involved lots of family and friends. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that those first four weeks of the year were busy and full of laughs with close loved ones. Our first trip of the year was to London, my mum and I went down to go see ‘Dear Evan Hansen’- a masterpiece. We only spent one night in the city so, spent our free time mooching around Covent Garden and playing the game of how many historic monuments can we find around the theatre district. Covid-19 has stripped us of all our favourite mother/daughter past-times so, I am unbelievably happy we had at least that one little trip together! My dad turned 55…I think and, a lot of the family surprised him at his house. We ate pork sandwiches, nibbled on biscuits and talked into the night with huge glasses of wine. James, my boyfriend, turned 21 and after the surprise party I pulled off last year- I had to try top myself. I took him to a fancy restaurant for tea before we got together with a huge group of our friends for a music quiz and, a spot of open mic. The following morning we headed up to Durham for a quick stop over before carrying on to Newcastle Airport. James and I, since we’ve met, have always talked about going to Dublin. Both of us had been close to going in the past but, plans fell through. So, it seemed the perfect place to go to celebrate James turning 21. It didn’t dissapoint us, we both came home shattered from walking but happily full on Guinness. After Christmas and the busy weeks of New Year going back to unviersity was tough. Especially when I couldn’t afford any more time/money to travel round for a while. I missed out on lot’s of things with my boyfriend and, that’s always so crap. Being long-distance is perfectly fine but, it’s hard to watch trips or nights you should be a part of through a phone screen 100 miles away. Not too bad though when we had a 21st up in Durham to plan. My housemate Anavi turned 21 and we took her out to S&L in Durham. It has such a swish interior and, the night was spent drowning in 2 for 1 cocktails.
F E B R U A R Y
Ahh this month was spent indulging in three-course meals at our University college- Josephine Butler. Honestly, I sometimes just dream about Butler’s food. It’s soooooo bloody good, you always sleep like a baby afterwards (mainly because you’ve been drunken doubles for something silly like £1.50). I nipped back to Sheffield for Valentine Day which, was spent with us both horrifically hungover and my leg completely black from falling down some club stairs the night before. The rest of the month was spent frantically typing at my desk. Second terms hits hard at Durham with summatives flying at you from every direction- February tends to be one of those months where you’re constantly wading against a tide of work. My other house-mate turned twenty and we celebrated in quite possibly the best way possible- getting drunk in our PJs. What’s sad looking back at this month is, the only thing that kept me going through summative hell was the thought of my holiday in March, visiting friends, summer being close by. I feel a little sorry for myself that my hard work didn’t get rewarded the way I thought it would !
M A R C H
Here’s where things start to go tits up. The first week of March I went home for a long weekend (the 6th to the 10th) to see my boyfriend’s band Crossfire Eagles perform two quite big gigs. I saw my friends, family, danced, had a drink. I kissed my boyfriend bye at the station and told him I’d see him in a couple of weeks for the Easter holidays. Two days later I’m in Tesco gobsmacked at the empty shelves chatting to James through my headphones about how odd this seems when I get the email from Durham saying that from Friday at 4pm all further classes will be cancelled till they notify us otherwise. On top of that, there was a note to say we encourage students to return home as soon as possible. My mum rings to tell me she’s picking me up Saturday morning- in a blink of an eye, second year was over. I remember quite clearly before my final lecture on the Friday I felt so nostalgic stood in front of the cathedral. I knew deep down I wouldn’t be back for a good while. Those rushed goodbyes were so difficult, such a bittersweet ending to our second year in Durham. What was odd was I came back to a Sheffield seemingly absent of any precautions. My boyfriend’s university was still open so I was able to study with him in the library. We met our friends. We went to an awards night with the band and all the girlfriends. It was still a world absent of any sort of difference bar, the empty shelves in shops. It was my mum who rang us to say, I think you both better come home to us. Twenty-four hours later we all sat and watched Boris Johnson announce we’d be going into a national lockdown. To be honest I found that whole news announcement terrifying. I remember my tummy dropping a bit and, memories of the bloody purge film ringed in the back of my mind.
A P R I L | M A Y
I think you’ll accept, it’s necessary to just bundle these months together. I don’t even know if I can distinguish one from the other- time is meaningless in lockdown. Our first weeks of lockdown were spent pottering around the house, catching a tan in the garden, watching re-runs of Only Fools and Horses and, doing bits of university work. The Tiger King phase came and went. We walked the entirety of our immediate area. By two weeks in- we were fed up. What made it worse, third term began and trying to do it from the dining room table was impossible. Doing exams from home was just horrific. Due to the restrictions placed on my specific exams I felt I was unable to show off the level of understanding i’d have shown under normal exam circumstances. It was infuriating and, until I get my results I think the tiny bubble of worrisome anxiety in the bottom of my tummy will stay. Like everyone, I pined for friends and family members. I pined for a sense of routine to return to my days. I missed the bustle of a crowd. I missed our normality. Lockdown did let me appreciate the smaller things in life. I nearly cried that first day we were finally allowed to sit in a public park. I did love, to an extent, being able to live back at my family home. It’s the most time i’ve spent at home since leaving for university. Although the novelty wore off when you weren’t allowed to leave the four walls, being in the company of my mum was lush. I’ve also been lucky enough to have spent the duration of lockdown with my boyfriend. It’s the most time we’ve ever solidly spent together and, I think it’s done us both the world of good. For a start, I’ve lived with him nearly three months and I still like him- always a good sign.
J U N E
A slightly happier month. No longer having exams plaguing me, I was able to settle a bit more into lockdown life. My main focus was on blogging and growing my Instagram platform. Reaching 2k was a really huge moment for me so, thank you if you’re part of that figure- you made me very happy. Restrictions eased to a point where we were able to visit family again. As i’m writing this i’m sat waiting for my boyfriends mum to pick us up so we can spend a chunk of time with James’ loved ones. What a funny old year so far. It was back in January when I had the idea to summarise the year in two separate six month chunks. In a normal world i’d have been telling you about my holiday to Spain, about my London internship, about festivals and summer celebrations with university friends. I imagined huge detailed paragraphs with countless photos of what I thought would be, the best year of my life so far. Funny how life turns out isn’t it. Despite not having anything worth talking about, i’m not going to moan. I’m healthy, my loved ones are healthy, i’m safe and that’s all that matters. I’ve enjoyed acknowledging the simplicity of life. I’ve enjoyed getting to know more about myself as I’ve faced this truly alien world. I’m hoping that in December i’ll be able to look back at the final six months of 2020 and share with you stories of much happier times. Till then, i’ll be muddling on and hoping that a whole lot of good luck will hit us soon.