And then everything changed so quickly!
We had some more regular classes on campus. But already then, we shouldn’t leave campus. The biggest trip was going to the gym or to the supermarket. But even that changed. We’ve been only a little longer than one month in London, when our school decided to close and move to remote learning. It was a strange and kind of sad situation. We just got to know each other and got used to the new campus. And now? Everything should be over already? I wasn’t ready to leave London just yet. I just came!
At the beginning, our school suggested us to stay on campus, as travelling wasn’t that safe. But at the end, almost everyone went back to their families. At least when they were able to. Some students earlier, some students later, some students not at all. It was so sad seeing everyone leaving again, considering that we didn’t know if or when we will see each other again. I decided to stay on campus for a while, as it was to that time still very easy to catch a flight back to Germany. I had always the possibility to go back. My friends from China for example had much bigger issues. They wanted to go back home. However, finding a flight that doesn’t cancel last minute and isn’t 1000 times more expensive than usual was almost impossible. Well… and so it started: lockdown in London.
On March 20, we had our first online class. It was actually quite funny to have a meeting with all my colleagues from all over the world. They were students online from China, Taiwan, Russia, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Italy, France, Germany, Norway, the USA, from literally everywhere. Obviously, the time difference didn’t make remote learning so easy. But surprisingly, we managed it quite well. It was just a complete switch to our usual class environment with plenty of group work and presentations. Now, it was so important to force yourself attending the classes and organize tasks and work we had to do. I just followed my usual weekly plan. Therefore, I was as busy as before with attending classes, studying and doing projects. It was definitely more exhausting to work on group projects through “Teams”. We often called each other for 6 hours in a row, eating dinner for an hour and then calling us again until 2am in the morning to finish a report. Tuff times! But somehow, we made it.
In our free time and especially Easter break, we played games, such as UNO, Monopoly and Jenga together. We either played in the kitchen, in the sofa area or outside on the grass. It was super cool having an inner courtyard on campus. You have no idea how often we played. At the end, we were really sick about playing UNO or Monopoly, that we had to find some other ways to keep us entertained. Movie nights were always an option. But we also tried to attempt a puzzle. But seriously, that was just impossible to finish! And I even learned how to play Mahjong, a Chinese game. At the beginning I thought I would never be able to understand that game, just considering the Chinese characters on the game pieces. But it looked harder than it actually was. It was so much fun. I wished I could still play it at home.
Moreover, one of our most common activities was going to Richmond park. The park was just a 10 min walk from campus away. Not only is Richmond park incredibly huge, but also really beautiful. You could walk there for hours and always discover something you haven’t seen before. We especially liked spotting dears and other wild animals. I can’t really call it “spotting”, as they were randomly standing around all over the park. And besides dears, you have no idea how many squirrels were living around Roehampton. It wasn’t even a surprise anymore seeing one. When I looked out of my window, I could be sure to see minimum 5 squirrels. Even when I went to the kitchen, it was no surprise anymore seeing one sitting next to the window or in the trash. Whatever. Let’s stay in Richmond Park for now. Elle pushed me to come running with her several times. At the beginning it was so exhausting! However, I started liking it. It was so good to get some fresh air and do some sports. Otherwise, I was just sitting all day long on my laptop. It was even more fun when we were a couple of girls running together and doing a little workout on campus.
If you haven’t noticed yet, the weather was incredible. Most of the time! Unlike the stereotypical English weather, it was so sunny and warm. During spring, all flowers began to bloom, which reminded me of the cherry blossom season in Japan last year. Incredible. Just sad, that we couldn’t use that weather to do some more trips. But we tried to make the most out of it. We chilled together outside, made a small picknick and went to the park at Richmond University to visit and feed the ducks and geese.
One of the biggest issues for guys during the lockdown period was the unavailability of hairdressers. It was just so funny to see how they all got so long hair. One friend couldn’t stand his long hair anymore. So, he asked me and Elle to give our best and cut his hair. Wow! He really trusted us. And who knew that it is so much harder to cut guys hair compared to girl’s hair. Lord! We struggled hard. But at the end, he was actually happy with the result! What a relief!
And besides going to the supermarket, the Korean market, doing laundry, watching netflix and cleaning my room, the biggest part during quarantine was the food. We cooked and baked so much, celebrated birthdays and Eastern. When I was with my Chinese friends, we had the most incredible dinners ever. They do not just cook one meal for every person. No! There are hundreds of different dishes spread out at the table. And then, everyone shares everything! It was so cool. We ate dumplings, Hot Pot, seafood, fish, noodles, tofu, spicy rice cake, curry, veggies and more. I had the opportunity to try so many things I have never even seen or heard of. For the Russian Easter party, we had some typical Russian food and pastries. I baked some chocolate chip cookies. Haha, I had to give them all the recipe and bake the cookies again and again because they were so delicious. On a daily basis, I tried to cook as diverse as possible. I cooked curries, pasta, salads, stews, noodles and so on.
And that was basically it. Sleep, study, eat, repeat! As boring as it sounds, that’s how we lived for at least a month or two. But then, we just had to get out for another trip! Stay tuned!