from Barbara, previously in Brazil, now in London: Home

12 November 2021

Writing a last entry for the blog has been on my mind for so long, but I think I was unconsciously waiting for the moment when I would be at a point where a circle was closed, children going back to school and being happy, learning and having friends to play with; where I would be working again and enjoying more time for myself, with my wonderful husband Josh and with our friends and family; where I would feel home, serene and with more control in my hands. 

Funny enough, as the blog is just now coming to an end, I have also felt ready to write an entry these days. 

One year ago, we came back from Brazil. We rented a house for six months; had children at home during lockdown and experienced the challenges of home-schooling with a five years old, while looking after a two years old; moved back to our own house (at last); rediscovered the joys to have a walk in a park, to go to a restaurant and to see our friends and families again; became maestros in lateral flow and PCR tests (which we can now probably do blindfolded); became obsessed with graphs, reports and charts showing the evolution of Covid cases; unlearnt where to find information on the evolution of Covid cases; got our first jab; discussed its side effects; got our second jab; discussed its side effects; started taking our children to school and nursery again; learned how to not spend every minute of our days with them and to get used to that new space; look at them grow, thrive, make new friends and get on so easily with their life outside our house; learnt how to travel again; listened to others and how they have experienced the past year, some tragically, others less so. And we told our story, how we moved house four times across two continents during Covid, while everyone else was staying home.

Home. The focus of so much attention in the past year and so. We have learnt how to work from home, how to be together at home, how to not have visitors at home and see people outside the home, how to make home a multipurpose place where work, childminding, schooling, playing, cooking eating, sleeping and, when lucky, resting and relaxing, would all come together. For us who have been moving houses and continents during Covid, we had to learn how to make each house a home.

For sure, life is not the same as before, and we are not the same as before. Life with Covid has changed us and the world around us. We may still suffer lots of these changes for the foreseeable future, but we may also have positively decided on some of them – new priorities, new ways of looking at life and how we want to live it, new ways of looking at ourselves and who we want to be. 

This week after months spent at home looking after our children, while I was doubting this would ever happen again, I have finally started working again for a UN agency and for the French Development Agency. One of my projects should lead me to travel to Laos for ten days in early 2022 to work with coffee producers, Covid rules permitting. When I decided to move to London in 2012 to start a PhD, this is the type of project I was hoping I would work on once I would graduate. Almost ten years ago. A marriage, two children, a transcontinental move, a few different houses, many lateral flow and PCR tests and two jabs later, and Covid still around, this is finally happening, and probably in a better way than I was hoping for. I feel I have come a long way – like everyone else. And I feel so happy.

Covid was not a thing two years ago, and I know how the whole world could turn upside down so easily and so quickly. For now, I just want to enjoy these few steps ahead. Life goes on.

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