Queenstown, New Zealand
5th April 2020

Lock down day ten. I entered into this lock down period with no idea what it was going to be like. I have become very familiar and comfortable with living in a tent, and also on my own. I find myself more at home sitting on the hostel balcony, indoors is a more unfamiliar environment. Thrown into a hostel in unusual circumstances, I had no idea what to expect. It has definitely been up and down so far.

I'm very thankful for having nice people around me - in particular those who I cannot escape from, my roommates and my balcony-sharing neighbours. These five people are lovely. But I have talked to and become friends with many people in the hostel. There is a funny juxtaposition between the Coronavirus self isolation and the meeting of people in the hostel. I'm definitely much happier here than I would be alone on a campsite. That said, I have felt really crap (mostly mentally) in the last couple of days. Also, low energy, not feeling sociable and no appetite. I blame this partially on the lock down but also I think I need to reconsider my relationships with some people here in the hostel. I think certain people, while nice, are drains. Instead of making me happier, they end up draining my happiness away. It's not always obvious who these people are in our lives.

I have started running again, but that's been rather crap too unfortunately. It's to be expected, I have not run properly in four weeks and my fitness is seriously bad. I have put a structured plan together for the next few weeks which should slowly and efficiently bring my fitness back up. I look forward to doing long runs while in self isolation, just to get away from everything and everyone for a few hours. I suspect my recent runs have contributed to my reduced energy levels.

I am trying to find new ways to keep myself entertained in positive ways during the lock down. I want to learn, I want to feel like I am achieving something with my time. I'd love to have a job right now. So I have started teaching myself some French - just 15 minutes a day. I have looked at maths that I learnt at university and spend some time each day re-learning something I have forgotten. I am learning tricks and practicing solving the most difficult sudoku puzzles. This is probably a good two to three hours of each day. I am also reading a lot more. I finished The Pants of Perspective by the wonderful Anna McNuff, and I am now reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I have tasked myself with becoming the local birds best friend. I am of course talking about sparrows, what else could I possibly mean? There are ten or so sparrows living in a tree outside my balcony and I feed them a few raisins every day. I suspect I may run into some issues soon as they have become comfortable enough with me that they fly into my room and sit on my bed. I should probably set some boundaries! They are so cute though, and I hope to have them eating from my hand eventually. Another skill I am trying to perfect is watching Netflix. Perhaps not as positive as my other attempts at staying entertained and sane, but certainly very easy and very relaxing. If you have any film or TV show suggestions, I am all ears.

I'm still keeping an eye on travel information and flights. More options continue to open up but Queenstown is currently being excluded from the fun. There are flights leaving Auckland for the UK, and I can use domestic flights to travel to Auckland, however Queenstown airport remains closed. I am in no rush to return to the UK, but once I am able to at a reasonable price I probably will. That said, it looks likely that I'll be receiving a wage subsidy from the New Zealand government as I am still employed as a housekeeper.

A view I am becoming extremely familiar with
A stunning purple sunset from last week
The birds lining up for a feeding
This one is getting brave!