Day 2 of my quarantine and I have still not fully come to terms with my return to the states. It feels surreal to be so close to home and yet unable to hug my mom and my brothers. Waving from a distance and still face-timing. I knew coming back under these circumstances would be difficult, but I didn’t realise it would be quite this difficult. With two isolation days under my belt I have realised all of the things I will have to miss and all those that I have to gain. But first, I feel as though I need to tell the story that got me here.
NAU was understandably worried, having students they were responsible for in different parts of the country. The whole world was in a state of unrest, so unsure with the way that things were going and what was going to happen next. Early in the month they informed me that I would be able to stay in the UK if I signed a form about risk assessment, and liability. After doing that I felt fine, I had some friends that were staying and work was still open. I felt safe on campus because I was still making safe choices.
I continued to grow new roots in the town and even managed to do some safe exploring. I was naturally disappointed about the things that would be changing the next month, but I continued to stay positive. Then I received another email from NAU. They made my return home mandatory through the threat of my enrollment. Saying that if I was to stay in the UK past the 26th that I would no longer be enrolled in NAU. I was naturally concerned, since my exchange program required me to be enrolled in NAU. I was panicking and began to think about how unsafe it would be to do all of the traveling necessary to return home. To return home to another location because my sick grandma lives at our house. So not only was I being forced to leave somewhere I felt safe and had people, but NAU wanted me to make the unsafe journey home and then I was to be isolated for two weeks. I couldn’t wrap my head around the thought process, I still can’t. However, I bought a plane ticket for the next day and began packing my bags and saying goodbye.
Saying goodbye is never something that I have been very good at. I miss people too easily and knowing it would be so much longer until I got to say hello again hurt even more. After dropping off some boxes at the post I went to say goodbye to the coworkers I could find. Wates House was my favourite job that I’ve had. The staff was full of so many amazing people that I really enjoyed spending my time with (shoutout to Conor and Zakk for working most shifts with me). Thank you Nat and Collette for teaching me so much and helping me grow as a better worker! You guys are always going to be welcome in LA.
By the time that I had left most of my housemates had gone home. However, saying goodbye to the rest was hard and I can honestly say that I have never had better housemates. I loved our trips and I wish we had the time to do even more. Luckily Canada isn’t too far from the states, so reunion pending for sure. Also a quick appreciation for Kate, who loved me even though I might’ve been a pain as a roommate. I am going to miss eavesdropping on your phone calls and telling you about my day. At least we will be able to visit each other, I’ve been meaning to check out Florida. Of course saying goodbye isn’t the only thing that had to happen before I left. I also had to think about everything I would be giving up when I left.
- My 21st Birthday (it will now mark my 7th day of quarantine)
- Hamilton (I was going to see it for my birthday, I’ve only been waiting for 6 years)
- April Travels (Portugal, Spain, and the South of France and the itinerary was already mapped out)
- My Job (the only one I have actually enjoyed)
- My Exchange Friends
- The Boy (due to my sudden leave we didn’t have time to untangle Christmas lights or get lost)
- The Ball (Kate and I were going to get to go to a ball with the english majors)
- Traveling Europe with the sisters (don’t worry guys we will make it happen soon)
- My Exchange Experience (while my 6 1/2 months in England were an amazing experience I still feel gutted when I think about how this term was cut so short)
- The ability to actually be with my family
Of course there were things that I was fortunate to gain. While the good don’t currently outweigh what I have lost I do believe that with time I will feel better. O without further ado, here are the things that I have gained.
- American Food (I missed my snacks a crazy amount)
- Socialising with my dad (he is stuck in quarantine with me since he is the one that picked me up)
- My TV Shows (time to rewatch all of the The Office during quarantine)
- An interesting story (how many people can say they were abroad during coronavirus? probably a lot actually…)
So far those are the things that come to mind, but I know as I begin to accept what has happened to me that I will be able to grow and find new positives. Well, that is all for now, though I am sure I will post again after the isolation has ended. Hopefully with a more positive outlook on the situation.