In the words of Carrie Bradshaw however we are not in New York, but back in lockdown. It’s definitely not the Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year weekend we wanted but 2021 was always going to be the sequel to 2020 – the year of the global pandemic. It’s been all too familiar to be at home, wear a mask outside and return to working and learning from home. There has been a rise in people reaching out for support and if you are feeling anxious, it’s wise to take action.
Things will change as they always do, but until the vaccine is fully rolled out, we are living in a start stop economy and my heart goes out to the many small businesses – cafes, restaurants, event venues, caterers and florists that were lined up to do a roaring trade this weekend. On a more personal note, I am sad for those whose birthdays fell on this weekend and school camps scheduled for next week. It’s not fair but we have no choice to accept where we are and deal with the reality. Hotel quarantine continues to be a fraught exercise and given it’s clearly not watertight I can understand why the Victorian government is reticent to bring back both stranded Australians and international students, but also annoyed we are back in this position. My only hope is that this latest outbreak is contained given the collective pain we are now all in.
It hasn’t been easy for industries that are suffering including higher education, which is Victoria’s largest service export. There are 17,000 colleagues in the sector just like me who have lost their livelihood but given that things may worsen before they improve this year, I am glad to be out and contemplating my options now.
I have continued to apply for jobs, share my CV with recruiters and LinkedIn contacts and meet people in my network. This week, I had coffee with Deputy Mayor of Darebin and Greens councillor Susanne Newton at The Pioneer Cafe in Rosanna. She is also a La Trobe staff member and we have remained in touch since I presented to council for funding as a Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board member. She is an interesting person in her own right and I’d often see her riding her e-bike around campus!
I also met local photographer Rod Ceballos during the week at his pop up studio at wework at 120 Spencer Street opposite the station, which unsurprisingly was very quiet given COVID-19 but it was great to spend time with him having my photo taken and finding out more about Rod (he’s from Chile) and his interests. He is a regular photographer for Banyule Council and also volunteers with Amnesty International as well as teaches photography. He took a number of great shots so I will share these once ready to go.
Prior to the lockdown being announced, I met my friend Alisia for an imprompu lunch at The Little Pho Tuck Shop located behind Leo’s in Kew (park in the carpark). Although it was a warm day, we opted to share some prawn spring rolls and then each had a rare beef pho, which was delicious! While there are now at least two or three Vietnamese restaurants in Preston, it was good to find something traditional in the eastern suburbs.
While my family hasn’t celebrated Lunar New Year this year, my friend Lianne’s family snuck a big dinner in on Friday night – check out those noodles! And I am very glad to farewell the Rat year and let the Ox march in – a year where we are rewarded for our hard work. Let’s hope this includes going into lockdown to avoid a third wave. And while not to take the gravity out of our situation, it’s a little twee but I hope this Carrie Bradshaw quote might make you smile:
“Eventually all the pieces fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moment, and know that everything happens for a reason.”