Esther Perel, a therapist and one of my favorite podcasters, lives by her motto, "The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives." I believe this more and more as I grow older, building new relationships and strengthening existing ones. When I reflect on my time studying abroad, I am able to look back with such fondness, not just because I saw spectacular sights, but primarily because I was with good people, building good relationships.
It is painful that we are now physically separated, much sooner than planned because of the coronavirus. There is no one person to blame for this crisis, yet we still feel anger and disappointment. But like I wrote in my last post, nothing goes as planned, and this is an extraordinary example of that.
It is hard not to envision how the bonds with my friends would have developed further over the next two months. We have said this ourselves. I learned that one of my friends was flying home an hour before she was heading for the airport. But this is not the end of our friendship, just as it wasn't the end last semester when we packed our bags to leave Vienna. Rather than meeting in the kitchen of my flat, we will meet through FaceTime. We have already planned to update each other on our quarantine projects, from cooking Dutch pancakes to sewing a pair of jeans. It amazes me how people's creativity and resourcefulness shows up once our traditional outlets of productivity are absent. Normally, sewing and baking experiments are last on the to-do list, but now, we've got time for any and every wild idea, as long as it doesn't involve leaving the house!
Since I left for Austria in July, I've only spent three weeks at home. This year of adventure was just what I was craving, and now my period of forced nesting will begin. I don't really need to recover from travel because it has been more of an invigorating experience than an exhausting one. However, it will hopefully be a change I can embrace: to take things slow, stay in one place for months and see old friends, if only from six feet away. Let's all focus on cultivating the quality of our relationships, whether it is with those we are quarantined with or with those we see through the FaceTime lens.
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<p>I'm a big fan of tea (matcha, rooibos, black...I love them all) so I'm looking forward to drinking my weight in tea while in London! I'll also be on the lookout for the best vegan spots in London; I've heard there are quite a few to choose from!</p>