This week has been one of the most transformative of my life and it has to do with the latest virus.
Starting my internship abroad, I never knew it would be cut short in a matter of weeks. It was a slow process of spreading the word about washing hands and sanitising often. Given that everyone in London uses public transport, I was not looking forward to continue with this way of travelling whilst living in the city.
Within a matter of days, I found out that all study-abroad programmes were cancelled. I wasn’t too surprised, as it was inevitable with the number of concerned students constantly asking for information about whether they should stay in London, or leave as soon as possible.
I found a bright side to the news, however, because it meant that I should leave for home which is back in New York. I’d like to say that I am generally an optimistic person. I tend to look on the bright side because as I cannot change the past, I might as well work on the present to make the future better. Nevertheless, I was pretty devastated that I could not go to Sydney, Australia after London, in order to study for the rest of my semester.
I had been looking forward to making new friends again, similar to how I started in London in early January. It was so much fun meeting new people at the start of this year in a new country. The great times and memories that I made in London, motivated me to start over again in another country. And of course, I was worried about how I’d continue my internship with Elizabeth Marsh. I had been learning so many new things and meeting new people that I didn’t want it to stop anytime soon.
Here is what I thought about when searching for some positive aspects of having to leave London. Covid-19 isn’t going away anytime soon, which means travelling to Australia and my general time being there, would not have been enjoyable anyway. It means that continuing my journey to study abroad wasn’t meant to be for 2020. However, I’ll have the chance to visit the rest of the world in the future, and the fact that I can’t do it now motivates me to complete this goal in the years to come. And the fact that everything is online is a life-saver for all students! We’ll continue to get credit for courses as well as work-experience, such as my internship. Although the physical internship work at the Flower market and studio cannot be done, I can continue blogging and complete my internship! I was grateful for this set of news. Some other positives were that I could see my family and feel safe with them. Let me tell you, the virus and the media really made me feel unsafe especially since I wasn’t at home with my family.
While people in London continue to go on with their lives, this isn’t an option for students that are living abroad. Come to think of it, even as I’m back in New York, no one has been living a normal life. Everyone is trying their best to quarantine for the sake of those who fall vulnerable to the virus. As important as it is to continue with obligations, I’ve realised that the planet itself has gone through some changes as a result of humans everywhere being quarantined. Water in the rivers of Venice, in Italy are the clearest they’ve been for a long time. Pollution levels have also gone down in China. Maybe this is the Earth’s way of telling us that she needs space and that we are destroying her.
By just staying home for at least two weeks, the Earth benefits and cleanses itself. This is one of the biggest positives that I’ve come to realise while being quarantined. Hopefully, people can understand that our personal lives and everything that is going on within us, is not the most important thing to worry about. Sure, I was upset about my study- abroad experience being cut short, but there are so many things to be grateful for.
It truly is hard to stay positive in a time like this, but humans are strong enough to persevere. We’ve done it throughout history multiple times, and now we will find ways to prevent such a pandemic again. We often worry about war and nuclear weapons being the cause of the world coming to a huge halt. Who knew it would be a severe respiratory flu?
On my last day in London, I made a few trips around the city to buy some last-minute souvenirs for my family and a suitcase because I definitely had too many things! I walked with my friend and noticed how empty the streets were. We were the only two people walking with the exception of a few cars and runners.
The city was so serene. The flowers and trees stood out and said goodbye to me, as it was the last time I’d be admiring them before I left. Can you guess what I saw? Cherry Blossom trees, the ones that welcomed me to London.