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  • Writer's pictureAnto B.

Greetings from London and how Covid-19 impacted my daily life

Right, here we go. First post ever.

When Giulia asked me a few weeks ago to write a post about my life in London for her blog, I was like, "What should I write about?"

There's nothing special about living in London, let's face it.

Many people move here every month - well, not really right now!

They come here, live every day as it comes. They learn a bit of English, prove themselves in a different country and come back at some point. At least some people do, some others don't.

It's not like years ago, when in the last century, our grandparents or their parents were leaving for the Americas to have better opportunities, or some opportunities at all.

It's not like what my parents did when they left Argentina in 2001 and moved all the way to Italy so I could live in a country where inflation was not part of everyone's main dish for the day.

It was just part of the process: I wanted to make a serious change, to have a completely new job, I was offered one and I moved. End of the story. No drama.

Whether I did right or not, it's not for this post to discuss. I'm leaving it for another day.

London is great, I can say that.

I enjoy living here, it makes me feel good all the times that I walk in her streets, when I have a glimpse of all born and raised or adopted Londoners' faces, losing themselves in the chaos of Leicester Square or Camden.

I have my favourite spots: places I never get tired of visiting, like Holland Park or Tower Bridge.

I can walk to South Kensington or Knightsbridge, chill out in Hyde Park (when it doesn't rain, I swear it doesn't happen all the time!), I can get to see Van Gogh's Sunflowers whenever I please.

I am not making any sacrifice and when you're from a small village on the Tirrenic coast in Southern Italy, living in London is not different than living in Milan. It feels very far away anyway.

But then 2020 happened.

When this year started it seemed like any other year. There was no sign, no alert of the madness this year would have been.

Never would I have thought that our planet would stop for months, that there could be something capable of putting us down at a global scale.

It happened so quickly that I didn't even realise, I went from 0 to 100% worries and despair.

In March I made the conscious decision of staying here, I could have left but I chose to stay. I know it will seem weird but I felt safer in London than travelling to Italy.

I didn't regret it, it was the right thing to do. Everyone was facing the same shit so no point in escaping.

I spent lockdown with my flatmates (now ex flatmates) watching movies and having drinks in our patio. Weather has been great this year and it was okay.

I got used to wear a mask when outside and the words "covid-19" and "social distancing" became part of my daily vocabulary.

Summer came and life felt a bit better; I packed and went to Italy for two weeks.

I had a nice summer holiday with my parents in the Amalfi coast.

I spent ten days there and it was as normal as it could be.

Autumn started and the fear of a new lockdown inevitably spread.

Eventually a new lockdown came. It was declared as necessary to ensure we could save Christmas. Pretty big deal, right?

So let's behave, be patient and we will celebrate Christmas.

That's what we thought, and again I made another conscious decision of not going home for Christmas.

I thought I could wait a few weeks before leaving, I was hoping to travel when things were less complicated, to avoid quarantines, tests and loads of questions.

But then the new strain. Back to square 1.

No celebrations on our Christmas menu and travel ban for dessert.

I thought I had moved my trip to Italy for a few weeks but I ended up moving it for a few months (if we're lucky).

I felt so stupid the day when the announcement came out. It hurt so much, not that many times in my life I felt that unsafe, almost hopeless.

To an anxious person like I am this really seemed the end of the world. Everything I could think of was: really?

Do I get to live the same shit all over again? What else could go wrong this year?

Luckily that seemed to be the last of all the unlucky events that accompanied the course of 2020 if we forget about Brexit. But hey, at least BoJo secured a deal of 660 bn, not bad, uh?

As much as I'd love to say that this feeling went away, that I am better now, it won't be true.

It didn't get better, I stopped thinking too much about it since there's nothing I can do.

I feel lucky that everyone in family is healthy and even if we haven't seen each other this Christmas holidays I know it could have been much worse, and I am grateful for my friends that made me feel at home.

I wasn't alone in March and I am not alone now either.

It was just a different Christmas and NYE and I will be waiting now for the next to come with great anticipation.

In the meantime I'd like to think that there is a parallel world where there was no coronavirus, limited capacity for your parties and tier systems; a world where all friends, old and new ones, their families and mine can sit together around the table. I can hear their laughter and loud voices.

They're having great fun and I am sure soon so will we.

XXX Anto

PS: the photo was taken pre-Covid restrictions.



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