18 March 2021

It’s Day 6 of quarantine. Tomorrow I’ll reach the half-way mark.

In a way it hasn’t felt that long. Six days confined to a room sounds like it’d be a very boring and stifling experience. But it hasn’t been like that. Days did tend to get boring toward 5/6pm, but for most of the day I’d keep myself engaged with various activities: work, reading, speaking on the phone, drinking wine/beer.

But in a different way, it feels like I’ve always been in this room. This room has become my reality, my present. Bangkok, parents, the flight—these are distant memories that I can whip up at will, but don’t occupy my mind much otherwise.

I’ve always been this way. I tend not to linger on places. I left Thailand for the UK when I was 17, and back then I remember not really missing home at all. And then I left the UK for France, then back again, then back to Thailand for good. People would sometimes ask if I miss the UK, where I spent a good 7 years of my life, but I really don’t.

Was life better there? In many ways, it was. London is a magnificent place to live. But once I leave a place, the break is clean. I don’t let my thoughts linger on it. I turn my attention wholly toward whatever present location I find myself in, and I get on with it.

I think this is a blessing. I rarely feel nostalgia (and when I do, it’s usually for my year abroad in Paris, specifically for this one memory I have of walking down the street near my college and thinking, “This is picture-perfect. I’m walking in a movie.”) I don’t really miss places, no pangs of sadness, nada.

So, 6 days after leaving Thailand, I don’t really miss it. Do I miss the people I leave behind? Also not. I’ve been messaging everyone and having catch-up conversations. I’ve spoken with my mom at length on the phone twice (on Saturday after I arrived and today) and once with my dad (in our regular Sunday morning slot). So I don’t miss them at all. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a long conversation with mom as the 55 minutes we spoke today. The forced physical distance has paradoxically reduced the emotional distance. I feel as close to my parents as ever.

I wasn’t going to open my laptop today; I had decided to take a day off my screen. But I’ve spent the day reading this book, Brain on Fire, and the author’s recount of her diaries sparked a strong urge in me to blog. So here I am. It’s a brilliant book, by the way. Fascinating. It’s one reason I wasn’t going to open my laptop—I was glued to my Kindle.

But another reason is I think I deserve a little time off. I’ve been working pretty hard this week, and the monotony of the work routine is getting to me a bit today. So though I’m already on my laptop now, I think I’ll give my work tasks a break. Get back to it fresh tomorrow.

Sometimes what’s needed is simply a day off.

Hope you’re all well.

Love,

Val

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