Blog post

Wellington on Lockdown

April 21, 2020

I’m typing this on day 26 of lockdown here in New Zealand. Today we got news that next week the country will move from Level 4 to Level 3, which means that a few more essential businesses can open up and deliveries from certain shops, cafes and restaurants can resume. However, we’ll still have to stay home as much as possible and work from home for the foreseeable.

stay home save lives poster wellington coronavirus lockdown new zealand
pan hellenic association building wellington new zealand coronavirus lockdown

It’s a strange feeling knowing you’re living through such an historic time in history, knowing that in the future people will ask “what was the COVID 19 lockdown like?”

I don’t know about you but for me it’s unsettling and monotonous. But sometimes it also feels cosy. Like those strange days between Christmas and New Year where you loose track of time.

Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be more grateful to be in NZ during this time. A country that acted decisively and quickly and is successfully (touch wood) flattening the curve. But that doesn’t stop me worrying about my loved ones at home. So far away and now impossible to reach if something happens due to border closures.

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It also doesn’t stop me missing my favourite pubs and restaurants, wishing I could get a takeaway, missing my colleagues and the ability to actually go into my office and have face to face meetings instead of constantly interrupting each other on Zoom calls.

My semi-regular walks through the city have been a relief. Getting some fresh air blows away the cobwebs in my head and helps me take stock. The soupy, seemingly non-linear progression of time make me feel like my brain is submerged in a warm bath. It’s comforting, sort of, but I miss clarity.

wash your hands poster wellington coronavirus lockdown new zealand
sarah walker in the middle of empty taranaki street wellington on lockdown coronavirus new zealand

Wellington isn’t a large city and it’s certainly small in terms of population, but it is a lively one. Or it used to be. It’s Autumn now, and there’s a part of me that’s annoyed that we’re missing the last of the sun in Wellington while cooped up indoors, but another part of me is grateful that at least we’re not missing out on Spring and Summer like our Northern Hemisphere friends may.

Walking through the spookily quiet streets I appreciate being able to stop in the middle of streets to take photos. Eerie, almost post-apocalyptic ones. I’ve used half a roll of film taking photos of buildings I love without passers by wandering into shot. The blasts of wind coming in from the ocean are a welcome shock to the system and the angry seas in the harbour are oddly soothing.

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Like many people my mood is very up and down. I am struggling to be productive beyond my day job which I now do from my living room – muting the microphone in meetings when my flatmate puts the kettle on. My colleague is my partner, he’s wonderful in so many ways but he doesn’t provide the idle office chatter that I’m missing. I feel guilty that I’m not doing more. I’m not blogging any more frequently than usual, I’ve got a half finished macrame wall hanging that I haven’t added a single knot to, my expensive planner is gathering dust. But then I remember that surviving in times of extreme stress and anxiety is exhausting, and keeping your head above water is achievement enough.

I’m not really sure what I’m wanting or trying to say here. So congratulations if you made it to the end. I just wanted to write something and try to sort my thoughts a little. To have some digital document of this strange time we’re living through. In the future I can look back at this post and remember, “ah yes, that was what it was like to live during lockdown, half a world away.”

Kia Kaha Aotearoa, stay strong everyone, and take care.

Love, Sarah xx

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Wellington on lockdown yellow feather blog
Wellington on lockdown yellow feather blog
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