#Help – An American enduring lockdown in London

There are probably a number of Coronavirus diaries floating around the internet. But right now, I need to share my personal lockdown experiences with those who have still hung around (and may stumble across my blog).

I call myself an American expat in London. That term, expat, is subjective, but I’m using it to describe myself.

I moved to London from the Bronx officially in November of 2018. Cut to 2020, the Coronavirus has landed.

International travel and typical interactions (running to the store for snacks without facing a line, or riding the tube without a care) are a thing of the past. Nothing is normal and everyone could be a carrier.

Well, that’s how things have been playing out in London. Until today, when Boris made the announcement that more common spaces and trips to other households would return to a new normal. It feels so arbitrary if I’m being honest. I want things to go back to normal but are things really safe? What can we really expect to happen and will I find myself back at the office in no time flat? Is it bad of me to say I enjoy working at home (mostly).

As an American in London during these times, I find it particularly interesting. Not only am I going through lockdown, further removed from friends and family in NYC, but I’m also witnessing the Black Lives Matter protests around George Floyd’s murder. It’s startling. It’s jarring. And I find myself questioning everything about race and what is and shouldn’t be – much more than I typically question race.

Conversations of race were a point of conversation at work for a few days during the pandemic but not so much anymore. I ask myself if I should be annoyed by this or hopeful that work is being done behind the scenes. I’d like to believe the latter but I never really know what’s happening.

Sometimes I don’t even know what people are thinking and I spiral into thoughts that second guess what I think is happening, and what should be happening, and what others say should be happening. It’s a vicious cycle.

But I digress, untangling some of my feelings about race is a separate blog. This is about being in lockdown in London.

What is it like? I imagine it’s similar to being in lockdown in NYC. People choose whether or not to wear masks out in public and gloves aren’t mandatory. People are told to line up outside of supermarkets, standing 2 meters apart, but not everyone follows those rules. They sometimes pretend they don’t see lines and have the audacity to try to skip ahead of people. Legit had a guy try to skip me after I waited roughly 30 minutes to get into Boots (a local chain pharmacy).

Others seem to blatantly disregard the rules, not trying to keep any distance on the sidewalks, or sit out in parks chatting with their friends in the sun. I saw people tanning outside my apartment in the small patch of grass near my cul de sac and friends having a communal rooftop gathering across the way. Was I jealous? Maybe. I was definitely annoyed that I have been following the rules while others just do what they please.

But at this point, it doesn’t matter anymore, as Boris made it so people could go outside for more than their one time a day exercise. They can also meet up with six people outside as long as they mind social distancing guidelines. And starting July 4th, all hell will break loose.

However this time to sit in and reflect in lockdown has felt so weird and nonexistent. I don’t know what to reflect on, what to look forward to and what hope I should have. I also haven’t had any time to reflect. I’ve been so busy at work that I’m too tired to assess what I’m feeling. And let’s face it, if you’re forced to be indoors, who wants to feel forced into confronting feelings of inadequacy (or whatever you have floating in your mind).

But don’t get me wrong, I still have hope. Hope to meet up with people. Hope to go back to NYC. Hope to travel to far away places again. But I’ve also felt stagnant. Lost without a real sense of what’s next but clinging to the idea that there is something ahead (and I do know that in my heart there’s something ahead).

I think a lot of people have been feeling that way in London (and around the world), stuck. Not sure of what to make of their futures and the future of their family. Some have felt that planning life is over while others have felt inspired to do, make, launch. I can’t put my finger on the London vibe but if I had to call it, I’d say nonchalance. Everyone here seems blase and just ready to have their lives restored. That quiet British way of saying, “World, we’re right and we’re fine because we’re British.”

I’ve also felt connected and disconnected. Everyone has been forced to interact online which is great for me. It’s like everyone in my family or friend group is living abroad. But at the same time, I feel like people in NYC are doing their own thing, separate from me. That’s ok but it’s weird how you can feel a little disconnected.

But that’s enough for now. Lockdown in London has been a lot. Things are changing however so I hope to see more positive things come from this.

It’s been a while (again)

It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post. Not because I haven’t wanted to but because I’ve been lazy.

I could make excuses but I wont.

Did life get in the way? Has work been super busy? Has Coronavirus turned the world on its head? Has the mind been boggled by current events around Black lives matter? They’ve all been a part of my life but it’s still no excuse.

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5 Trendy Things To Do In Hackney This Summer

Believe it or not, Summer is pretty much here. It feels like it’s been a struggle to get to the point where you can comfortably wear shorts and sundresses without the worry of gusty winds (and to be honest, I think that threat always lurks over London), but the sun’s out! This means it’s time to rock your cutest flowery prints and hit up some fun spaces you’ve been dreaming about all Winter. I’ve compiled my top 5 trendiest things that I think will be a guaranteed good time this summer.

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Board Games at Draughts

Entertain yourself by playing numerous amounts of board games while drinking beer and wine. Draughts is the perfect place to go to if you lack your own gaming library or the space to host friends – you can literally search through their stacked games library and find something to play that you never knew existed. They also have a kitchen where you can get classic British snacks like toasties or just a cheese plate – but expect a super hipster twist on all of the menu items. You can checkout what they have to offer or book a table in advance by visiting here.

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Ice Cream And Other Cold Snacks

Indulge in sweet treats like waffles covered in toffee sauce with a scoop of ice cream or enjoy vegan treats like decadent chocolate mousse from Oslo. Nothing makes summer heat more tolerable than something cold and tasty to distract you from your sweaty brow. One thing that sounds completely drool worthy is the Banana Sliders at Oslo. Ingredients include banana, toffee chantilly, vanilla ice cream and more!

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Outdoor Pub Lunches

Nothing is more British (IMO) than pub lunches and pints on a hot summer day. Dine outside with a nice cider, a glass of bitter shandy or my favorite, Pimms (note, these are all alternatives for people who hate the taste of beer as they are more sugar than anything else)! Pubs are rarely hard to come by in Hackney, so find a place that looks good and settle in with your shades and a cold drink. I recently went to the Jolly Butchers which serves a taste home (Brooklyn Brewery ya’ll!) and has lots of great items on their menu.

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Tan Or Nap At Hackney Downs

London is known for beautiful, green parks and spaces so one place you’ll have fun at this Summer is Hackney Downs. Find people playing a game of football (that’s soccer) or cricket in the park and take part! Or you can be like the millions of other Londoners reading a book and tanning on the lawn. I guess that’s what Summer is for.

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Rage At Visions Festival

This isn’t really my speed BUT there is an awesome summer festival in Hackney celebrating arts, food, music and culture called Visions Festival. Happening in August, listen to some hipster music at one of the many venues across Hackney or have fun being creative at one of the non-musical activities. Enjoy the last days of Summer in Hackney by partying your day away at Visions – tickets are on sale now!

 

These are five ways to enjoy your Summer in Hackney and they are all relatively easy to achieve. No matter what you do though, make sure you do what you want and enjoy the Summer and all those sunny vibes.