The little joys of lockdown

Lockdown in London is rather monotonous and there are not many topics for a blog, hence I decided to write about the little joys that have recently made my lockdown days a bit better?

Morning canal walk

One of the many consequences of lockdown and the remote working is that Londoners go for walks at all times of the day. The narrow sidewalk along the Regents Canal certainly no longer allows for a relaxing walk during normal working hours, and the density of people passing by is more reminiscent of Oxford Street in the pre-covid times. Fortunately, an ordinary Londoner usually likes to sleep in, therefore, I can safely walk along the water at sunrise and share this sidewalk of peace with only a few morning runners. These occasional morning walks always remind me how lucky I am to be able to watch this metropolitan city as it is slowly waking up to another day.

A seminar where everyone has their cameras on

Based on my experience, I would say that there is a rule of "the more people are on a Zoom call, the less cameras will be on". Most of our lecturers have already given up on asking students to turn on their cameras so there are only a few brave individuals in the larger classes. However, several seminar leaders strictly require all cameras on, and it always make me happy to finally see my classmates from all over the world in one place.

Blue sky behind the blinds

London winter is known for its frequent rains and perpetually cloudy skies. Sometimes, however, there is blue sky awaiting behind the closed blinds in the morning. There might be only a few clouds here and there, and if you are very lucky (or rather - if you get up late enough for the sun to be above the surrounding buildings) your room might be lit by a direct ray of sunlight. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many mornings like this in the last two months. However, every single one of them literally brightens up my day.

Library with friends and sliding desks

One of the reasons I decided to spend this semester in London despite the distance learning were the university libraries and study rooms that remained open (with many restrictions in place). We have to book seats in a simple system that reminds me of a lottery with an incredibly high demand. It is possible to choose a desk number, but we can only guess if the number represents a desk by a noisy elevator or a small makeshift desk somewhere in the corner. It always makes me happy when I finally find my booked desk number in an otherwise closed section and I see a sliding desk with a comfortable office chair and a view of London, which probably belonged to a PhD student under normal circumstances.

Libraries now also give us a taste of socialization. Although we’re sitting four meters apart and always wearing face masks, we can study with friends and get a little closer to the "good old library times". And I’m definitely more productive with other familiar and unfamiliar faces working around me. I am really glad our university allows us to use these libraries and study places.

Snow that doesn't melt

The snow in London was a huge thing this year. London usually only gets a few days of snow a year and it typically melts straight away. However, this year it snowed about six times and the snow even remained on the streets for several days! Although it certainly can’t be compared to cross-country skiing across Charles Bridge, my flatmates and I managed to both build a snowman and also have a decent snow fight. These are small things, but during days full of essays, lectures and endless hours in front of a laptop screen, even a thick blizzard is a pleasant break.

A Spanish class where I suddenly speak Spanish and I don't know how

This year, for the first time, we could choose elective courses outside of our faculty. After several years of attempting to teach myself Spanish, I came to the conclusion that even though I can successfully communicate with my hands, feet and the three basic tenses, it's time to progress further. I like grammar in general - it works based on given set of rules and a few exceptions, and in most cases, it simply makes sense. However, when I speak in Spanish, my brain successfully ignores the more complicated grammar and I tend to slip back to my three basic tenses. I suppose it’s because I've never studied Spanish by focusing a lot on the grammar before. Also, when traveling, simply passing on information is more important than a properly used past perfective subjunctive. Lately, however, I sometimes find myself using various tenses in my Spanish classes, automatically inflecting words and even thinking about my answers in Spanish. It usually surprises me, but it also gives me a little motivation not to give up with all those tenses just yet.

Malé lockdownové radosti
Malé lockdownové radosti
Malé lockdownové radosti
Malé lockdownové radosti

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