I have officially been in the UK for about a month now. What?! I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings so far in a blog post and update friends and family on how I'm doing. Come along for the ride!
Quarantine upon arrival was hard.
I thought it was difficult at first back home, but little did I know that I had it MADE in the United States. Back home, I could still go do groceries for my family or go on a Lysol run (usually unsuccessful), even make the very occasional Dunkin' stop. Here? I couldn't even step foot outside. Fresh air quickly became an enigma when the temperatures here made it to 82 degrees; opening the windows became a no-go, which worsened my time stuck indoors. After about a week, we finally got some cooler temps, which allowed for me to open the windows--a glorious feeling--which made week two go much more smoothly than week one.
Contact tracing is much easier here because of the NHS.
Anytime I have to run into a store to go food shopping or grab stuff for my flat, I can scan an NHS QR code that helps the NHS track COVID-19 spreading. The NHS COVID-19 app, through the contact tracing method, will alert you if you've potentially been exposed to COVID-19 and will help you order tests if need be. You can track symptoms, as well as potential risk by area code. While it's taken a bit of getting used to, this system will benefit everyone in the long run. I'm happy to do my part and happy to have access to this amazing resource.
One thing that I won't get used to anytime soon? Switches on the outlets.
Anytime I want to cook something on my electric stove, I have to... turn it on... with a switch...? I can't tell you how many times I've tried doing something, gotten frustrated because what I'm trying to use won't turn on, and realized I'm silly because I didn't flip the switch on! This happens all too often when I'm cooking or heating up the water in the kettle.
I can't go back to life without an electric kettle.
Hot water in 60 seconds?! Genius. Whoever invented the kettle is a gift to humankind. I appreciate you, friend, especially now that I have two cups of tea a day, at least. (Today, I had three.) I've been able to try new teas, which has been so fun and delicious. There's nothing like waking up or winding down with a hot cup of tea. It feels so good for the soul.
The best part about living here? It's easier to be healthy here.
Between walking everywhere and having access to healthy food at a cheaper price (I live by two farmer's markets and an Asda... I have it made), being healthier is more accessible here. My gluten-free foods aren't astronomical in price, my lactose-free milk is cheap, and I can experiment more with making healthy meals. Not travel related, but if you'd like to see some of my favorite go-to meals while being here, let me know in the comments!
I was able to go to Windsor Castle again!
I got to see it while it was basically empty of tourists and enjoyed the experience without feeling squished between other visitors. There was hand sanitizer, social distancing, and mask-wearing everywhere. The trip couldn't have been safer! My friend and I had such a good time that we already agreed that we're going again. Best part? Next time we go to the castle, it will be free! Would you like a blog post on how we were able to finesse free Windsor Castle admission for a year?! Let me know in the comments below!
I wish everyone could experience this. I really do. I wish everyone could see how beautiful this town is, experience how good life here is... I wish I could do this town more poetic justice. With everything going on in the world, especially back home in the United States (yikes), being here has been such a blessing.
Cheers to the next year of my life, UK style.
I can't wait to share more about this experience with everyone. Would you all be interested in weekly vlogs? That might help me with the whole "poetic justice" journey. Let me know in the comments what you'd like to hear about/see!
Thanks for coming along for the ride. xx