Well, how is everyone? I’m about to start Day 8 of mandatory, company-wide work from home. All cafes, restaurants, bars, and non-essential shops have been closed for 9 days now with the exception of those eateries operating from a takeaway window. Since Wednesday we haven’t been allowed out unless we’re covering our faces with a mask/scarf. Life feels weirder than I ever thought possible. The world feels like it’s shrinking down to just these four walls around me.
Like everyone, though, I’m counting my blessings and keeping on as best I can. I feel great joy that Dr HH is by my side right now and we are able to keep each other entertained and optimistic. There’s nobody I’d rather be with. (Though if he continues humming at his current rate, things may change.) I’m relieved that we’re both in a position to work from home and are well supported by our employers and colleagues, and that we’re in good health and therefore low risk if we do get sick.
I’m glad that our loved ones are still healthy and able to continue buying their essentials and, for many of them, to continue working. I’m happy that I can keep in touch with the people I care about, however physically near/far they are, and that I am able to offer them help and support in whatever small way. Even when the world seems to be shrinking, I feel like my support network is widening, and checking in with people on a more regular basis is a nice reminder of how we’re all connected and in this together.
Like many people who are in our fairly fortunate position, I’m looking around to see how I can help those who are struggling and sacrificing. For anyone who is not financially able to stockpile, the bare shelves must be a huge source of anxiety, so I’m supporting food banks.
For the elderly and vulnerable, it must be a lonely and terrifying time. For people who are told to leave their elderly loved ones in isolation for their own protection, it must be heartbreaking. Age UK has a list of ways to help, from donating money to getting involved locally.
It’s an anxious and stressful time for everyone, and living in an expat community many of us are dealing with the uncomfortable reality of being far from our loved ones and unable to return home to them if they get sick. I’m checking in with my local friends and colleagues as much as I can in the hopes they will feel less alone and be able to vent their fears/forget about their troubles for a little while, as needed.
Mind is a great mental health charity in the UK that provides a vital service. A £21 donation can fund their online peer support group for one hour, and I imagine there will be high demand right now.
As I mentioned, I’m extremely happy to be isolating with the charming, kind, loving Dr HH. Many people are going to be forced into isolation with people with whom they are not safe. Women’s Aid released this strong statement on the link between the virus and domestic abuse, and outlined the work that needs to be done to help survivors during this time. You can donate directly on their website.
And of course I’m trying to support local businesses as much as possible, including vegan eateries. You can probably check your local Vegan Facebook group to see which businesses near you are still open. VeggieVisa put together a comprehensive list of what’s open and closed here in Prague, so now Dr HH and I are aiming to get takeaway a couple of nights a week.
Unfortunately my two favourite eateries, Pastva and Moment, have completely closed for now. The original government order was for all establishments to close until 24th March, but I don’t think anyone is expecting them to open again tomorrow. I’ll be counting down until they reopen, and thinking of their brilliant staff, hearty meals, and eclectic playlists in the meantime.
I go to Pastva almost every day when I’m working in the office. I’ve convinced my team that all of our group lunches must be held there. Their ever changing lunch menus bring joy to my life. Sometimes my deskmate and I go at different times on the same day and then try to guess what each other have ordered, with an admirable degree of success (you can’t go wrong with their pasta or ramen dishes). As soon as they reopen, I’m buying vouchers, tipping generously, and following my lunch with a slice of cake every day to help boost their profits!
Friends, how are you doing? I hope you’re all getting through the bad days and finding reasons for celebration, however small. It seems frivolous to continue posting about food right now, but it makes me feel better and hopefully for some of you it will be a welcome, brief distraction from all the bad news. If you want to highlight a great charity to support, or a small online business I might like to buy from (bonus points if it involves vegan chocolate), feel free to share in the comments.