The last post for 2020

2020. What a year. So much has happened…so much also …didn’t happen. So this is going to be a bit of reflection of what happened in 2020 to me. The good. The bad. The sad. The happy. The whatever.

  1. Feb 2020: I finally fulfilled my dream of travelling to New Zealand for a trip! It was an awesome trip in which I caught up with my good friend living in Brisbane…we did a lot of hiking, horse riding, running, and also went on a boat trip! New Zealand is such a beautiful place and I would highly recommend it. I am also extremely lucky that I was able to go overseas before the borders to Australia has closed.
  2. March 2020: I finally saw my ALL time favourite band, ONE OK ROCK. Having missed out on seeing them when I was in Japan for exchange, I can finally say I have been to my second J-Rock concert. However, this time I actually knew and could sing a long with their songs! I also paid for the VIP tickets and also got to meet them, exchange a few words, and get my photo with them. The night was surreal and it was a great memory I will treasure for many years to come.
  3. Later in March 2020: The lockdown of Australia began as the Coronavirus made it way uninvited into all of our lives. You couldn’t escape it. No matter how hard you try to close your eyes….everyone was talking about it, the supermarket shelves were bare with no toilet paper or hand sanitiser to be seen. Gyms, pools, indoor/outdoor sports, cinemas, schools, universities, and shops, restaurants were closed for dine in. Social distancing was the new norm, everyday we were wiping all the surfaces we touched…everyday I would follow religiously the numbers, the tallies, the hotspots…what rules were changing…The hardest part of all was not being able to see my family and friends…I wasn’t able to see my nephew for the longest time and I was so worried he would forget who I was… It was also during this time that I began spending a lot more time with my family that still lived at home. Yes, we got on each others nerves at some stage…but because there was no where to go and nothing to do, we were just at home. My mum began planting and gardening more and more flowers, fruits, and vegetables…I began learning how to work out at home…For my brother and dad, nothing changed much for them…They usually just stay at home anyways. Skype calls were the best, and I am so grateful for technology that keeps us together, but nothing beats the ability to spend time in person with people.
  4. June 2020. The rules has started to relax in South Austraila. We were finally allowed to have up to 10 visitors in our homes! That meant we were able to gather as a family again and to eat out in restaurants with friends! This was the 1st birthday of my nephew…unfortunately because of the restrictions, my sister only invited the immediate family to celebrate….then they broadcasted it live to their other friends via zoom. My little nephew was sooo spoilt with soo many gifts from family and friends! He got Gucci branded shoes, a small ride on Mercedes, and sooo many toys. June was also the month that I found out that my full-time contract job was not going to be renewed…It was not entirely unexpected, but still a shock to hear it. It meant I had to job hunt all over again…and during a pandemic, that was depressing and a very stressful time…there was not much up for grabs in Adelaide in terms of Hospital Pharmacist positions, so I widened my applications to interstate hospitals. I had 3 sets of interviews for a position in Melbourne and that how I ended up where I am now!
  5. July 2020: I found out that I got the job in Melbourne and I would have to start planning my move…Where was I going to stay? Can I even go there during the pandemic? My aunty and uncle helped me immensely in looking for suitable places that I would inspect when I got there. I also had friends help me plan the trip to Melbourne and what I needed to do to make sure my car was okay. Then there was catchup after catchup with all the people I would be seeing for who knows how long? It was more like a one way trip at this stage…once I went to Melbourne, Adelaide would close it’s borders to me…they would see me as an outsider…I wasn’t sure when I would be able to see my family again…This was a really sad realisation and something that made me so anxious and sad. I would be heading to the city which was undergoing the second wave of Coronavirus…and was in stage 4 lockdown, a curfew, and mandatory masks everywhere. I was going into a virus striken city and working in one of their hospitals that have Covid- positive patients…as someone who hates germs, it was a big risk. Saying good bye to my family was the hardest thing, especially my sister whom I am closest with…I hadn’t cried at all at any of my other farewells, but saying goodbye to my sister for the last time was so hard.
  6. August 2020: I made the long ass drive with my car full of lugguage, toilet paper, and stuff to Melbourne. I was not welcomed with any police or officers at the borders, but it wasn’t the same the other way round. South Australia was quite strict with who was able to enter their state…Melbourne however, didn’t give a hoot and still doesn’t. After staying with my aunt for a few days, I found a place pretty quick and moved in on the same week. Then began the journey of living solo and managing to not live in a pigsty. I had to figure out what I needed and what I wanted…money didn’t grow on trees unfortunately… Then I started working at my new job and that was incredibly tough at first because of all the competency standards that I had to meet to prove I was worthy as a pharmacist.
  7. August-October: So basically nothing happened. I may have took Gamsat…but other than that I rarely went out. I think the lockdown was still ongoing, so there was no house visitors allowed and everything was Click and Collect or buy online. I think I did a lot of cooking…and buying stuff for my house. The video calls with my family and friends in Adelaide continued…We did group chats, group games, and I played ‘Amongst Us’ Once… lol…. I also did a seminar entirely online at home for work…that was interesting, but also made me extremely sleepy.
  8. Nov 2020: Somehow we managed to have 60 days free from Community Transmitted Covid- Cases! The city slowly opened up and restrictions eased in a gradual step by step process. Restaurants were finally open for dine in, but for limited numbers…Retail shops were allowed to open again! Gyms, schools, universities…and most importantly BADMINTON RESTARTED!!!! This is what I missed most (Asides from family and friends in Adelaide)!! Was the desire to hit a shuttlecock! I write this as my whole body hurts from a great baddy session yesterday night….
  9. Dec 2020: My sister messaged me and told she was coming to Melbourne and that we should catchup !! I was so excited!! I wasn’t sure if I was able to go back to Adelaide as they have stricter border than Melbourne, but if my sister could come and go back, surely I would be able to? In the heat of the moment I quickly looked up how much flights would be to Adelaide and back…and it was pretty reasonable! Then I remembered I have a whole bunch of Frequent Flyer Points which I was hoping to use to go to England (dreams crushed this year) and I used those points to pay for the return fare in its entirety! It also included checked baggage both ways! BONUS! I was so happy that I was able to come back home to Adelaide and spend Christmas with my family and to see some of my friends! It was a rushed 4 days…as I hadn’t booked any extra leave I was only there over the public holiday and weekend. Adelaide itself hadn’t changed much, but the people had changed…a bit. Since I left, a friend had a baby, another friend told me she is moving to Brisbane for a new job, two friends had broken up with the long-term partners, and I think that is it?
  10. Dec 31st 2020: The last day of the year 2020, I slept in! Because…I can :)! I had a day off today! It was an accrued day off that just happened to land on the last day of the year. Lucky me! I met up with my sister and her family for lunch and did a bit of window shopping in Melbourne city. A friend told me about a special Free parking voucher that could be displayed to park for free in Melbourne city…Then I came home, cooked the last meal of 2020, and did my last round of laundry for 2020…had my last shower, called my mum for the lastst time, emptied the trash for the laste time, and now I am typing the blog entry for 2020 on here. So many last times for everything. Oh, did I mention that the annual firework display for NYE has been cancelled for both Mellbourne and Adelaide? The Sydney famous ones are still going ahead, however they will not allow people to watch it from the shore. Also, sadly in the last few days we got a few cases of local transmission and now we have some restrictions reinposed, i.e. maximum 15 people in a house at one time…so the Family New Years Lunch is cancelled for tomorrow sadly…

    Happy New Year everyone! Let’s hope fingers crossed that 2021 will be a better one!! Stay Safe, Wash your hands, stay 1.5 metres a part, and wear your mask!

Time of Adjustment

In my hometown, our level of social activities is ALMOST back to normal. There are some limitations to large gatherings still, however restaurants, pubs, cinemas, galleries, and sports centres are now open. I ventured into Chinatown for the first time in months today, and boy did it hit me how much I hated searching for a park, and walking past crowds of people. Are people still social distancing? Hell no. As much as they play over the loud speakers the reminders about social distancing, no one is paying attention and no one is even enforcing the rule.

It’s strange, I miss the quietness of the roads and streets…

Isn’t funny how you miss going out, when you can’t? But when you can go out, you don’t feel like it anymore. But anyways, at least people are able to go back to work and earn a living…

Life is a funny thing, isn’t it?

Well, I complain now,  but someday when border restrictions are lifted and we can fly overseas again, I’ll be a happy chap. Let’s hope I still feel like going when it does happen…

The easing of Covid-19 Restrictions in Australia

Considerations needed before lifting the restrictions in Australia during the pandemic.

Now, more than ever, I think it is really tough to have the top job in Australia, because you have to make difficult decisions of whether you choose to open up the country again or to stay in lock down to prevent the spread of Covid 19. There are both good and bad points about lifting the restrictions in Australia and this post will examine this in greater detail.

Scott Morrison who is the current leader of Australia has made some pretty sensible decisions during this global pandemic in my humble opinion. One decision that I praise him for the plan created to lift the restrictions that have been implemented in the  last month or so. He has left it up to each state and territory to make their own decisions to which phase of the restrictions that they will lift and when. This is good news for Australia’s currently ailing economy because millions of workers have been out of jobs and many are currently only surviving on government handouts. However, the large amount of money that has been set aside for government handouts is not an endless supply and sooner or later, the government will run out of money to support those people. By lifting the restrictions, it means that people can go back to exercising in their gyms, partake in religious activites, and enjoy recreational activities like going to the cinema. I believe this will have a positive impact on mental health, which unfortunately has declined dramatically due to the social distancing restrictions leaving people socially isolated from their normal support networks or from losing their jobs. Sadly, the number of calls to police for domestic violence related incidents also have more than doubled in places like Melbourne, which has been in strict lock down for weeks.

In saying that, Australia has just started entering the cold, winter months, where the   threats of influenza and other illness will also be another issue to consider. By relaxing restrictions it can mean more clusters of Covid-19 are able to break out and there will not be the restrictions that have been in place to help stop it from happening. When rules are relaxed, people can become complacent again, and lead to a second spike in the number of new cases in Australia. There is the risk of many people dying from the disease, and this is especially the case for those vulnerable people, such as the elderly or those with chronic health conditions. Another issue to consider, is the risk that we will again run out of personal protective equipment that protects front line workers from contracting the Covid-19 virus and whether or not the health care system will be able to cope with the subsequent outbreaks.

The risks of benefits of lifting the restrictions put in place to stop Covid-19 is one that needs to be carefully considered and implemented. There is a need to restart the economy and to help get people back into the workforce as there is only a limited amount of time that the government will be able to support so many people. However, careful plans to ensure that a second outbreak  in Covid-19 cases doesn’t happen is also essential to have.

Things to do at home during a Pandemic

During this time where most of us are being encouraged to stay at home to ‘Flatten The Curve’ and to minimise the spread of Covid 19 by social distancing…it is easy to become bored. With all the chaos going around the streets…now is a great time to have a think of embarking on some home projects and rekindling some past hobbies…and this post highlights what I know people around me are doing.

It is not so bad for me because I am still working 6 days a week…so honestly life hasn’t changed much for me…except I don’t have any social activities or group exercise planned… 😦 I have been trying my best to go for a short walk around the hospital in my lunch break to get some sun and to get away from the workplace…I am quite lucky that I work in a job where I am constantly on the go and get enough steps in a day.

I miss talking and seeing my friends… so I messaged in my group chat and organised a virtual catch up with my university friends! While there was some people that ignored/forgot my invite to the conversation, I think it was quite successful getting about 6 of 9 people in a chat at once! Because we are all supposed to stay home anyways, they really do not have much excuse for not participating :P. As my sister and her family are also in self-isolation after their trip, I have been regularly video-calling them as well. I am not sure if we are allowed to visit them post isolation, unless to drop some food or supplies (which we have been doing). As most of my friends have FB messenger, that is what I’ve used to communicate with others…but I have heard Zoom is popular, Skype, or even Watsapp.

My mother an extroverted socialite and the self-imposed social isolation that she has undertaken has taken it’s toll on her and the rest of the family face the consequence of it…I keep telling her it’s still okay to get exercise and to go shopping (if you need it!!)…I think it makes you a bit crazy and forgetful when you stay at home all the time…it’s not healthy :(..I am lucky to be isolated with my family at home, but I know a few people at work who live on their own and it can be quite lonely not being able to visit friends or invite them over…unless you risk getting a fine from the police. To combat her boredom, my mum has been gardening almost all day and everyday. She’s planted new plants and flowers and have been taking care of them like her little children! She is also growing vegetables for our own consumption which is great! It might be worth learning to grow your own vegetable and fruits and further avoid the mass queues at supermarkets.

My brother has always been a socially distant person and rarely leaves his room to do anything except eat, shower and shit. So this pandemic hasn’t affected him at all. I guess if you are a gamer, this is your ideal life style?! Thanks to the internet you can entertain yourself with paid streaming websites like Netflix, Stan, etc…or for stingy people like myself, youtube is good enough XD.

My sister has been picking up her practice of lettering (or is it calligraphy) and water colouring again. Since you are going to be indoors all day, everyday day…,might as well make use of those art and craft things that you have, but rarely ‘find’ time to use and do. You can post your work on your facebook or instagram pages to show your work to others or ask for feedback. Isn’t it awesome that the internet keeps us together during this time?

Back to me again, asides from work…I try to minimise the amount of times I go to the grocery store, but if I do, I check in with my elderly aunty and uncle (who have been recommended by our Prime Minister to stay indoors and self-isolate for their own protection) to see what they may need. Helping others get their crucial supplies is a way to look after those in your community. When I do walks around my neighbour hood, I have been keeping my eye out for any elderly that I can ask to see if they need toilet paper/groceries…so far I haven’t seen many out (which is far enough-they are supposed to stay in). As I mentioned in my last post, now is the time to really strengthen that community spirit and look out for the more vulnerable people in our society. While I type this, I feel like I am some sort of politician or something…but anyways probably a sign that I’ve been watching the news too much (not good)!.

Lastly, I mentioned before, I have taken up playing the guitar again. For me, playing music allows me to focus on something else and allows me express a part of me that is only through music… even listening to good music is comforting and amazing. On sort of related side note, I just wanted to let you know, I treated myself to Apple Airpods! Since I can’t go to the gym and work outs (if I do them~!!) will be by myself at home…and walks/runs around neighbour hood. I thought it would be much better having wireless earphones! I love them! I have been using them to listen to videos for my studies and its great…kinda like listening to a podcast…Anyways, I promise I don’t work for Apple..I just really like them. The sound quality of music is great too… not that I know much about sound quality…. xD

I hope everyone stays sane during this challenging time!!!!!!!!!!!!

p.s this pandemic has allowed me a bit more extra time to write more posts and update more frequently and do a little bit on my book…..

Enjoy your indoor time~

JL

 

Positivity Needed

Hi everyone,

My sister recently invited me to join this Facebook group: The Kindness Pandemic.  It is basically a group that shares different acts of kindness that they have experienced while the Coronavirus is going around in the world. It is the much-needed positivity that we need at a time where the world as it seems has changed and become a more grey colour.

I also want to shout out to our local grocery chain, ‘Coles’, who have decided to open early on Tuesdays and Thursdays for Health Care workers! I am planning to go in the morning and suss out who the other health care workers around the neighbourhood are and I wonder if there will be a stampede of people waiting outside when it opens? Personally, I am trying to stay at home as much as possible after work. I am trying to limit my weekly visit to the supermarket once a week. Yes, it is a bit boring at times, BUT on the plus side, I am helping to stop the potential spread of the disease.

My mind-shift about this disease has rapidly changed over the last few weeks…I was a sceptic a while ago….when the disease was overseas in China, it felt so far away! People were dying, yes…But it seemed so far. But now, the disease is on shores…It has reached and it has spread as people spread throughout Australia. My parents took quick action, getting as many things they thought they would need if they were self-isolated in the home. I wouldn’t call them ‘hoarders’ as such, but people who are thinking ahead. My parents are well-informed about the situation in China and were around when SARS also happened. They have refrained from going outside unless absolutely necessary and their church was also very proactive in going ‘Online’ with meetings instead of meeting face to face. It is a lot more than the rest of the population who seem to disregard the seriousness of this pandemic.

I used to think, I am young, I can survive this disease…But then, I also have to think, who may I be spreading the disease to? My patients at work? My elderly aunts and uncles? My nephew? My parents? A pregnant lady? Who knows who could get the disease from me and how can I live with the guilt that I may have been responsible for spreading something. While it can be really tempting to make this an “All about me” thing, we have to remember its also all about keeping “them” safe too. Also, as a health care worker…we have to look after our own health so that we can look after others… Please be patient with us as it’s not our fault there are medication shortages due to people stockpiling their medications :(! There is no need to stockpile medications during this time! There won’t be a shortage if everyone just gets their usual supply…

On a side note, I went to post a package today at the post office and I was really pleased that they implemented a 1.5 Metre marked lines on the floor to indicate how far people were to stand from each other! It’s great when businesses implement these ideas to help STOP the spread of the disease. I have also noticed some shopping centres having installed more automatic alcohol gel dispensers…People at KFC drive-through were also wearing gloves and not accepting cash. I hope everyone is able to see the seriousness of this disease and ramp up hygiene measures to minimise the spread! Good job to those people! I believe we can all do our small part.

 

Stay safe and well,

 

Joy

P.S Wash your hands!

person s left fist punching water
Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com