Covid Abroad - Conversations with Myself
After two years of narrowly evading covid, it found me at the worst time. I was a week into my program in Dublin, enjoying life to the fullest, when I came down with a cold and tested positive for covid. I was isolated in a separate suite immediately. On the first day, I alternated crying and sleeping and feeling sorry for myself. On the bright side, in between naps I had lots of time to reflect on my first week in Ireland and think about life in general.
In the beginning, my thoughts were even more jumbled than usual. When I first moved into my covid room, which I named Julian, I noticed that the same dresser-desk combination that is in every room of the apartment complex was too big for the door. This means that some poor person had to sit on the floor of every one of those rooms and painstakingly assemble hundreds of them. The image made me cry and I got all sad. Moments later, I freaked out because something was moving on my bed but as it turns out it was just my toe. Later on, I was looking out of the window in my room (which was just above the main entrance to the building) and admiring some cute guy walking in and tried to pause him so I could get a better look. I tried to pause. a person. Needless to say, I was restless and maybe a little delusional.
The days went by as if time was just a construct. I woke up around 2 p.m. and would go to bed around 3 a.m., napping intermittently. I watched Brooklyn-99 like my life depended on it and got through about 30 episodes a day because my brain was too foggy to do anything else. My friends were incredible and checked in on me every day, bringing me food and snacks to make sure I didn’t die. It made me thankful for the program and for the people I met and I resolved to make the best of my remaining time in Dublin.
Getting food was no issue in the dorm; I ordered from Deliveroo or Uber Eats and called the front desk, which would bring me the food and leave it in front of my door. The first time I did this, however, I phoned the reception and the man who answered had such an overwhelming Irish accent that I thought I had the wrong number and hung up on him. Just another instance of me acting like the silly goofy dummy that I can sometimes be. Don’t fret, I caught my mistake and still had my food delivered to me.
On the last day of my quarantine, another girl from the program with covid joined me in isolation and I was ecstatic to be with another human being. We watched a nature documentary and ate candy and felt sorry for ourselves and each other. The next day I left the covid dorm and was high on life. I found my friends again and they laughed at me as I frolicked in the streets. Despite missing out on one week of a six-week program, I feel like I have been in Dublin forever and have no desire to ever go home.
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Stella is currently a mechanical engineering student at the University of Colorado Boulder, where her goal is to always have at least one foot out of her comfort zone. When she is not on the engineering grind, she is passionate about playing guitar, backpacking, climbing, dancing, or really anything that will get her outside and soaking up the sunshine. Being raised in a French/English bilingual household, she grew up with an appreciation for other cultures and traveling. As she continues on her journey toward adulthood, she hopes to keep experiencing the unfamiliar and become an increasingly global citizen.