Double lockdown

*Written in January*

Welcome to a raw blog post. If we are not honest with each other what are we even doing. How have you been doing? What have you been up to? Why in double lockdown?

Another lockdown was settled in full force yesterday in Portugal. Can’t say that I’m surprised as our cases have gone from around 1.000 daily to 10.000 since summer.

Since March I have flown to Portugal, flown to England to get my stuff and move countries, flown to Portugal, went to Lisbon to get my stuff, went to Lisbon on my birthday (October) and went to Coimbra to get some medical exams done.

That’s it. Other than that, I’ve gone to the beach a handful of times, went shopping maybe two handfuls and went to see my friend which is lockdown too.

All of this with masks, alcohol-gel and lots of ‘bubble space’. When I had to fly I used to say ‘If I don’t get it now then I won’t get it’, as it was hella tricky and worrying that I could get the virus then so I would always isolate for two weeks.

More recently, I haven’t been getting out of the house even ONCE. My mental health was getting used to being home which was worrying but at least I didn’t feel so frustrated anymore.

I saw the opportunity of going to an Excel course that was paid and I took it. Would be dumb not to, learn and get paid? I only had to get out of the house twice a week, what a win.

It was on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the evening.

On the first class I was quite excited, I finally was getting out of the house, had a reason to get dressed and look decent and was going meet other people even if I knew there wouldn’t be any friendships waiting for me.

I got my pc ready, a notebook and a pen and highlighter and drove to the city. It was pretty dark but I quite enjoy driving surrounded by nightlights. I was the first one to get there. I saw people reserving soup for their break and was left thinking ‘what’s that about?’ and decided not to ask.

Went in and filled some forms and had the mandatory introduction. Everyone laughed because I wanted to be called Nicole when my first name is Lídia. That was cool but also low-key not funny? Dunno what rocks people’s boats these days. Said that I had come from England, where I graduated in 2019 and now I was the teacher’s English reference for ‘unknown words that might appear in Excel’. That’s fine.

As the lesson went on I started to feel my sunshine turn cloudy. My hope was subsiding. I was becoming mindful of my environment and that triggered my sadness.

Not that it was about the people in my class or the teacher but the fact that people were talking in Portuguese, that the floor and the tables were made of wood and my seat was an office chair with no wheels made me weary. I missed the cosiness of the carpet, the triangular-shaped tables of different colours and the sound of the wheels of my chair when rolling on the carpet.

The cloud turned grey as I sat with these feelings of not belonging, not fitting the brief. I felt different, I wasn’t an equal.

People didn’t make me feel that way. I made me feel that way about myself.

It was not self-doubt or not being confident in my abilities, it was simply that my aura was now a sad one.

The break was upon us and I realised now why they were reserving soups. I grabbed my cereal bar and my choc soy milk and scrolled through Instagram just to feel less awkward and more productive. Everyone was very talkative and seemed they already knew each other.

The class came to an end. We had learnt two functions, I guess that’s what you would expect from a first lesson. I opened my laptop in the beginning of the session and ended up having a blank Excel page shinning through my screen the whole time.

Now I was sat in my frozen car and wave of frustration came upon me. I started the car and gave myself a pep talk while driving. It was dark so I knew I could talk by myself that no one could see me blabbering alone like a crazy person. The more I tried to pat myself on the back with this talk, the sadder I felt.

I cried my way back. I cried for my unfinished plans and potential. I cried for the times I spent with my friends that I haven’t seen since I moved, and for those I’m probably never going to see again. Four years of crying of laughter, fear and absolute bullocks I had to go through.

I remembered my times in high school where I already knew I was going to England and simply looked at my history teacher and thought ‘I am here right now, but I can’t wait to show everyone what I can do once I leave this place’ and I looked forward to leaving and living everyday. Scared, but excited and full of hope. On this day however, I looked at the Excel teacher and it reminded me of that same moment I had had five years before. Except this time I felt hopeless.

The next Tuesday I did the same but I tried to be more positive and not get so affected by my feelings. I got there, reserved a soup and waited. Got inclass, translated the word ‘ceiling’ to the teacher and sweeped my sadness ‘under the rug’.

On the break, I got my soup.

A girl asked if she could have a seat. She sat and put her belongings on the table. I complimented her water bottle of ‘The scream by Edvard Munch’. She answered and I took that as my social interaction for the day.

She suddenly got a phone call “what now? What are we going to do?”. Oh no.

I ate my soup and put my mask back on. The talk sounded serious and concerned.

The next Thursday, two days ago, I called the course building to know if the lessons were going to be online or in person.

“We were just about to message everyone that a girl in your class is a positive”

“Can you give me a name or is it confidential?”

“Her name is #### she was next to ###### in class”

Oh no ‘The soup girl’. The class was held with an AC and closed door and I ate soup with her, even if apart from each other…I could have gotten it.

Now, here I am in double lockdown for complimenting a girl on her water bottle.

I haven’t developed any symptoms yet. I think I am developing a cold though but that’s quite normal for me at this time of the year. Hopefully I will be okay and not infect anyone. I am ‘locked’ in my bedroom now for two weeks, have my own bathroom and use a mask to get food in the kitchen.

Life is funny sometimes isn’t it?

Hope everyone is staying safe because it’s getting harder to stay that way. Protect yourself and others.

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