In memory of one year from the start of our first lockdown (Covidversary) here are some light pictures I took during that dark period.
It’s last hour of lockdown. Making it the shortest lockdown I have experienced so far, but didn’t mean it was in any way easy or got easier.
These five days have been a constant battle of staying positive.
I couldn’t take a mental health day off today from work, nor can I anytime soon. And by the end of workday today, I felt entirely drained, like I am running on empty.
Alas, it’s almost over now. For now. This wave.
Ps. After work, I watched Contagion to wind down. Weird choice, I know. It’s a good movie, eerily similar to the current situation.
Pps. Something random, I wondered about the zoo personnel during the lockdown. Some of them still have to go to work every day to feed the caged animals. Strange time we are living in.
Ppps. Tarot card of the day was the Seven of Pentacles from the Fifth Spirit Tarot deck.
When I sat down for the Monday Morning meeting, the first thing discussed was the high probability of lockdown getting extended. Not a great way to start the week, eh?
I tried to push the speculative news aside, along with the thought that I most probably won’t see my parents nor go on Kumano Kodo pilgrimage this year.
Some highlights of the day include bed coffee, payday (I pulled the King of Pentacles), cozying up on the sofa with Fafa and watching The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel on Netflix, the smell of the burning candle ━ a gift from Jik, getting a package and Wood Frog’s pumpkin seed sliced bread.
My morning routine stays the same ━ bed coffee, morning journal and tarot cards.
Today’s card was The Hermit. I also pulled another card to honour Valentine’s day and wrote a semi-lengthy journal about it. I continued with yoga, short exercise and a 5km run at the Albert Park, which thankfully is still within the 5km limit set by the government.
We then stopped by the South Melbourne Market where I got free-range eggs, honey-lemon potion, pumpkin-seed bread, and other things to make a typical Aussie brunch menu: chill scrambled eggs on toasts with smashed-avo on the side.
I quickly prep the food back home, declaring it as Valentine’s day meal made with lots of love when I served it to Fafa. He got me a bunch of gorgeous pink tulips and pre-ordered a tarot deck (I KNOW!) for Valentine, the least I could do was to cook the man a warm meal.
After lunch, Fafa went to study to read up on his upcoming project while I did a bit of reading. Then I started watching Contagion and dozed off half-way before waking up to Fafa sitting beside me, watching the finale of Your Honor.
There is nothing much to share about the lockdown nor my feelings about it, except maybe it looks like it’s going to last more than five days which gives me a bit of anxiety. But I have decided no point in dwelling about it today and ruin my restful Sunday.
Before I leave for the day, let me share one of my favourite poetry about love by one of my favourite poet, Bianca Sparacino:
My god, I hope you find love. And I don’t just mean that in regards to someone you wrap your tired bones around at night. I mean that I hope you find love in every aspect of your life. I hope you find it tucked into early morning sunrises, and the smell of your favourite places. I hope you find it strung between the laughter you share with your friends, I hope it bounces off of you when you hug the people you care for, I hope it swells within your ribcage whenever you hear your favourite song, or discover something that moves you. I hope you fall in love with growth, and change, and the messiness and the beauty of fucking up, and making mistakes, and becoming exactly who you want to be. I hope you find love in places that were once void of it, in places within yourself that you could have been softer to, kinder to, in the past. Because if there is one thing I have learned, it is that love is so much more than a boy, or a girl, who holds your heart. Love is everything around you. It is everything.
I truly hope you had a love filled Valentine day. Sending you virtual blessings and love 💌.
Today is the first day of Melbourne third lockdown.
There ━ a sentence I was praying never to write. The authority announced it yesterday afternoon; said it’s going to be only for five days and calling it a circuit break. As if making it sound mechanical could help to ease the despair.
I wanted to share my experience here, diary-style, as I regret not doing it consistently during the last previous lockdowns. Also, I figured surely I can commit for five days.
Today, on the day one, I woke up, turned off the alarm, recounted my blessings, drank my bed-coffee and shuffle my tarot cards.
First, I drew the card for the day, Queen of Pentacles and Judgement flew out. Then, I did a lockdown tarot spread. By the time I finished journaling Fafa had come back from the market (shopping for essential is still allowed) with an almond croissant. What a treat!
I stayed on the bed until past noon, which seemed the least I could do for myself in the name of self-care after the work week I had combined with the lockdown announcement and having had to cancel both the Airbnb and dinner-date to celebrate Valentine this weekend.
After that, I did healing yoga, showered and went to the market myself. I wanted to get myself some flowers and the over-priced hipster juice from there, which I deemed as my happiness potion. Unfortunately, the roses were also over-priced and the hipster food store was closed. Instead, I came back with stuffed capsicum and quinoa salad for lunch, red velvet Vals cupcake and iced coffee for Fafa.
I read for a while but then thought I’d give my weary brain some rest and joined Fafa to half-watch Your Honor while browsing Affirmations decks on Etsy.
For dinner, we ordered fancy-ish take-away to recreate the date night that we had to cancel. We got Szechuan style king prawns and spicy fried rice from Dainty Szechuan and when we realised we forgot dessert, tiramisu from Thirty Eight Chairs.
I also watched The Descent (2005), it was really good; and The Neighbour (2017), which was extremely boring.
Right before bed, I called my parents and got an earful to be extra cautious as if being put on lockdown is not enough. And with that, I shall retire this first day take three.
…Rang in the new year in Japan for the third time in a row. We had sushi and sake as the first meal of the year.
…Went to Bali for a weekend getaway. Now reflecting back, I am grateful we had the chance to travel outside of Australia this year.
…Started a new job in a new company.
…Practice with Miko, the first (second-hand) film camera I scored on eBay at the end of last year.
…Celebrated my friend’s, Liz, 30th birthday with a stay-cation in Mornington Peninsula.
…Joined a witch coven.
…Bought my first ever indie tarot deck created by a female artist, then the second, then the third.
…Studied for CPA.
…Started liking black-coffee which no doubt is heavily influenced by Fafa.
…Finally enjoyed a good sandwich. It’s from Tivoli bakery on Toorak road which was introduced to me by Liz.
…Lived in lock-down for the most part of the year.
…Had a lengthy period of sadness from the combination of Covid and seasonal depression.
…Which made me pick up running.
…and journal-ed as if my life depends on it.
…Got a tarot deck and oracle deck for birthday gifts from Fafa and Jik respectively.
…Had plenty of tarot readings.
…Deepen my tarot practice.
…Started a tarot blog then stopped because I thought I didn’t have that much to talk about in relation to tarot.
…Facetimed with my parents every single day from March onwards.
…Started this blog, a personal blog, but proceed to discuss mostly about tarot.
…Paid for a Google Photos account.
…Found out that Chiron has entered my chart since March and will stay there until the beginning of next year. Eek!!
…Finally read The Alchemist and generally read more books than last year.
…Stayed in a Mornington Peninsula airbnb.
…and in a Meletos winery in Yarra Valley.
…and in the farmhouse in Echuca where I took a boat trip along the famous Murray River.
…Went to an art gallery in Bendigo to celebrate our date-anniversary.
I have the apartment for myself this evening. Earlier, I counted the last time I had the place for myself for more than an hour or so. It was pre-lockdown, which coincidentally was during my redundancy months. It was almost a year ago. Far too long, no thanks to Covid.
I took a long hot shower and poured myself a tall glass of chilled Moscato. It was the only bottle left from the eight bottles we bought last month in preparation for Christmas celebration. Pinning the thought that I might be a fully functioning alcoholic aside, I put the cookie dough on the tray into the oven. Yes, it might be a weird choice to combine cheap chilled Moscato and chocolate chips cookies on a summer evening, but those things bring me joy.
After putting Final Destination 2 as the background noise and while waiting for the oven to make the “DING” sound, I took out all my tarot deck. Tonight we party! Well, not all of us, as I only invited the Hermit from each deck.
The thing is, even though I claimed to be an introvert and a through-and-through
who need their space and me-time, I have yet to connect with The Hermit card. I have yet to sit and meditate, let alone journal with them. And I guess today is a good day as any to connect the archetype that I am all too familiar with.
Traditionally, The Hermit is about taking some time to contemplate, solitude, isolation, introspection, me-time and carving some space for oneself. With those characteristics attach to them, the Hermit can be seen as well harmless at their best and dull at their worst. It’s not without reasons. The Hermit is a not threatening card. None fear them in a reading. But at the same time , The Hermit card doesn’t scream good luck either. Well to be fair, The Hermit doesn’t scream for anything.
Even for a yes-no question, The Hermit won’t give you a resounding answer immediately. They will need to contemplate the question first, for some time — preferably alone in the dark. Before coming up with, what they think as, a well thought answer.
They can be border lining with boring those Hermits, but let me ask you this:
What can be a better card to represent our collective 2020 experience if not the Hermit?
It’s the epitome of the lockdown, confinement, isolation — both self-imposed or forced.
Back to the Hermits that I laid on the table — I could see a thread that connects them all, from the classic Rider Waite Smith tarot deck to The Light Seer’s Tarot deck, the lantern.
In The Spacious Tarot deck, The Hermit is depicted as a lantern, brightening the dark woods with its’ light. The guidebook says this about the tree in the woods: “they offer a clearing, a sacred space for you to reconnect with yourself.”
Refreshingly, in both This Might Hurt Tarot and The Numinous Tarot decks, the cards are drawn as feminine figures. Though their faces are hidden (typical The Hermit), the long grey-hair and the shapely coats indicate their womanhood.
In This Might Hurt Tarot deck, the woman is holding a lantern illuminating a dark snowy night. It’s beautiful. I also love Isabella Rotman’s parting message regarding the card. She said:
“It doesn’t mean that you need to rent a cabin in the woods and throw your cellphone in a river. You just need to withdraw enough to listen to yourself.”
And I will do just that right after this with a book companied by a plate of freshly baked cookies, another generous serving of Moscato. I wish you a lovely start of the weekend!
Happy Anniversary to the man who thought we have only been married for a year instead of two. I take it as the marriage life has been a breeze for you— ditto!
Happy Anniversary to the man who puts so much effort to keep me happy during the #ISOlife — from getting me bed coffee every morning to finding some good crime series to binge-watch together. Who drove more than the allowed 5 km limit to get my favorite Indonesian food a few times during the lock-down.
Happy Anniversary to the man who blames the weighing machine when I complain about my weight, the lighting when I think I look bad in the pictures, the weather when I am in a bad mood, the food when I get a pimple, the type of the houseplant when I kill yet another one. Because God forbid, it’s me who is in the wrong.
You know what bo? I kinda agree with you.
Happy Anniversary to the man who cleaned when I pretended to study, whose default setting is “you are prettier”. Who has been repeating the phrase “okay, let’s do what you want instead” way too many times.
Happy Anniversary to the man who, when I tried and failed miserably replicating an Ottolenghi’s recipe, took one look at the mess I made and declared that “Nah, this looks better than the one on the book” and proceed to eat the tasteless shredded pieces that were supposed to be meatballs.
Maybe I shouldn’t mention that we had to throw a large batch of the leftover the next day because it was that bad.
Happy Anniversary to the man who knows the meaning and difference between piu, miu, tiu, liu, giu, liaw, tiaw, miaw, and other words I invented on a whim. Who wants to frame my primary-school-grade-level paintings. Who calls me the Rice Queen but still puts half of his rice on my plate. Who stalks me on social media. Who respects my me-time but still peeks through the door ten times to see what am I doing. Who celebrates every single one of my minuscule achievements and tolerates most of my shortcomings (except for my loud chewing).
Happy Anniversary to the man who has been saying, “I miss Japan” more than “I love you” to me throughout this year. Me too.
Happy Anniversary Fa, life is good with you. I love you and I love the way you love me. Here is to another year of spoiling me in the name of marriage.
Technically, the last day of the lock-down is tomorrow but I am riding on the joy of the announcement from earlier today combined with the post-run adrenalin and the buzz from the filled-to-the-brim glass of rose that I polished off right before I opened the laptop to write.
So it’s kinda like the last day of the lock-down.
“WE ARE FREE“Pri texted me earlier.
followed by “are you excited?“
To be honest, not yet.
I told her that my brain usually takes time to process and project my true reactions to any good news and bad news. Excitements or disappointments.
She said I was thoughtful. I told her “no, I am just slow“. And I do really feel that my brain takes a longer path to digest the big news (amongst other things) — case in point I never get excited about my trips before I reach the destination.
Not that I complain because it makes me appear as a calm person most of the time. No matter whether I am washed with overwhelming joy or sheeting with anger or wallowing in sadness inside.
To finally be free from all the lockdown rules, iso loneliness and COVID dramas feel great. Even though Dan’s announcement came with lots of warnings, which made it feel like conditional freedom, it still is very much welcomed news.
In the past 17 weeks or so I have thought about the first few things I want to do post the lockdown. I want to meet my friends. Eat at a restaurant — both new and old-familiar ones. Go on weekend day trips. Maybe even a staycation. I also want to go to as many bookstores as I can go on in a day and try my best to not touch and smell all the books.
One more thing I have been dreaming of doing post lock down: to visit a museum or gallery. Because weirdly, my soul has been craving for some art. Go ahead and label me as pretentious if you want to, I don’t care at all, as long as I get to stand close to and stare at some paintings or photos or artworks for some time. And no, no virtual exhibition in the world was able to satiate that yearning. So I am going to see it directly, the pre-Covid way.
Tomorrow, I will check which exhibition is opening the soonest and plan my visit.
Other than that, today has been a great day. The announcement has blanketed the whole state with happy vibes. And I can hear my neighbour starting their celebration as well.
A very well deserved celebration indeed.
Let’s savour it and vow collectively never to take things for granted again — from friends to a train commute. And yes, let’s execute the new normal with great care and a tad bit of caution.
Yesterday my Melbourne Whatsapp group chat which I named “Lockdown Girls” (yes, I am proud of being the one who came up with such an original name) was busy for a hot minute.
We were discussing the things we miss and couldn’t wait to get back to once this lockdown was over. Whenever it might be.
One of them then said that they can’t wait to have brunch outside again. The same sentiment shared by my other friends in that group chat.
I almost chimed in with: “OMFGGGG ME THREEEEE!!!!!” (the added flair is just my Whatsapp personality), before I stopped myself.
The truth was, no, I didn’t miss brunch in Melbourne.
I guess, today as good a day as any, to come clean that — despite Melbourne donned as one of the cities in the world with the lit-est cafe scene — I don’t enjoy brunch, at least not in Melbourne.
You see, even though I moved here more than four years ago, my Asian tastebud is still loyal to its’ home continent. Meaning, brunch for me still is a bowl of hearty chicken porridge or prawn vadai or two half-boiled eggs or kaya toast or nasi lemak or chicken pao or vadai or chocolate soy pancake or nasi uduk or pastel with chili-padi or idli drenched in sambar. Anything but the fancy-looking-taste-nothing-super-pricey all-day-breakfast served in Melbourne cafes.
So yeah, it’s safe to say, if we are having brunch in Melbourne, that’s because I like hanging out with you. Enough to pay $23.50 for a plate of scrambled egg. In which I can choose to add bacon, hash brown, sauteed spinach, grilled halloumi, and mushroom onto, as long as I pay the extra $5. Each.
An exception to this is Tall Timber’s Shakshuka which I have been gladly paying an extra $5 for the addition of chorizo.