In this series we discover what it takes to fall in love with a new city during a pandemic. It’s about remaining curious and open in strange and chaotic times, and about making it work.
When London shut down on March 24, 2020, I’d been here four weeks and my partner Shona, eight months. Our staggered arrivals were so she could take a job with a global human rights organisation and I could finish my work back in Australia. I arrived with a few contacts, a resume and a visa, so when London shut down my job prospects fell off a cliff. (Shona’s still working.)
In 2008 I also swapped a stable job for the unknown, when we relocated to Timor-Leste so Shona could work with a local human rights organisation. Our three years there showed us what a post-Coronavirus London may look like: overwhelmed medical system; sporadically empty shelves; and the existential threat of illness (dengue, chikungunya, malaria, tuberculosis, hepatitis — not to mention unnamed ‘bugs’ that inflict combinations of diarrhoea, fever, nausea, vomiting, headache and fatigue). Fever was optional, but diarrhoea was a given.
In the first week of shutdown we filled water bottles; re-stocked our first aid kit; bought dry goods that didn’t need refrigeration; and re-organised our fresh food options (the UK’s food systems are acutely fragile — see Episode 3). We also moved house — see Episode 2. We’re thankful we’re together (had my visa taken another week, we’d be on opposite sides of the world right now). ‘London by Lockdown…’ is about falling in love with a new city in strange times, remaining curious and open, enjoying everyday discoveries and making it work.
Opening & Closing Credits by Unregistered Master Builder
Touching Moments by Ketsa (Free Music Archive)
Markus J Buehler Viral Counterpoint of the Coronavirus Spike Protein (2019-nCoV)
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