Like a lot of people, I got a little bored during the Covid-19 Global Pandemic in 2020, so I decided to keep a diary of what that was like. Maybe, at some point in the future, someone will find it interesting to look back at how I lived through a small piece of new history in the making.
When I looked back at my diary, I realised that most of the things I saw there fell neatly into a couple of categories:
- Virtual Learning
- Social Distancing
- Cancelled Events
- Other Highlights
I’ll use these to tell my story below.
Online Classes and More Homework
This basically involves me sitting at my laptop (which is a Chromebook), doing a lot of “listening” 🙂 and I may or may not have been slightly amused by seeing some of my teachers struggle with using a microphone for the first time.
It wasn’t actually all that new to me because my school had already switched to using a digital learning system (using Microsoft Office 365) last year. I guess that made it easier for us to adjust to the home-based classes.
It was actually a lot more comfortable than going to school too, because:
- I could get up later
- I didn’t have to wear the itchy school uniform so I stayed in my PJs all day 🙂
- I could have my lunch at home and take breaks when I finished my work early.
However, I also got loads of homework in the first two weeks of online classes because I think the teachers found it so easy to send out homework using Office 365, Fortunately, they realised this after a while and stopped giving as much, so I then had more spare time to do nothing 🙂
Home School Hub
One of the national TV stations, RTE 2, then started broadcasting school classes for younger school children and it was called Home School Hub. The main teacher for the younger kids there was called Ray and he was quite funny. My 4-year old brother enjoyed watching this most days, although sometimes the content was a little too old for him.
No Friends or Family
Because of the quarantine and the social distancing that was put in place in Ireland, I could not have any sleepovers or go out with my friends (Siún, Laoise, Molly, Sasha, Alethea and Oran). I also couldn’t visit my extended family. That meant that we called them nearly every day and sent them pictures and videos instead, usually involving my brother doing something silly, which he seems quite good at 🙂
Shopping and Food Deliveries
Me and my Mam did the shopping for my Granny and then delivered it to her because she was not allowed to go outside. This was called Cocooning and everyone in Ireland over 70 had to do it.
Most days, when we tried to drive to her house, the police were stopping everyone to see why they were coming to and going from my hometown. This felt really weird because I never thought I’d be stopped by the police for doing the shopping!
Video Calls and Netflix Parties
To keep in contact with my family and friends, we would sometimes have a video call with them, as well as normal phone calls. Me and my friends started using a new feature that Netflix brought out, called Netflix Party, which meant we could all join a virtual group and watch a movie together at the same time. There was also a chat box at the side which meant, when a jump scare would happen in a horror movie, the chat would erupt in a frenzy of “agghhhhhh” and “hbudgbuyhwjdkkbi”.
We spent a lot of time in the garden during the pandemic because we couldn’t go out that much, or very far if we did. We did some gardening and we cleaned my Grandad’s motorbike too. We also cycled to the beach a few times and stopped to throw stones into rock pools with my brother, and ate Haribo jellies on the slipway. This was fun for me because I remember doing the same thing with my Dad several years earlier.
A number of events that I would normally have attended were also concealed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
All of the St Patrick’s Day Parades were cancelled due to the virus so we had to make do at home. We put up every green decoration and Irish flag we had, from the hallway to the sitting room, and wore every shade of green. My brother then led the world’s shortest parade through the house.
He also did a version of Riverdance with my Mam and then we made our own green ice cream because it’s not a proper St. Patrick’s Day in my house without that!
On the 19 April 2020, I would have been going to a Simon de Witts (a.k.a. Blanks) concert in Dublin with my friend, Molly. However, it was postponed until the 11 October so I’m glad it wasn’t cancelled altogether. We will be in 4th year by then and hopefully won’t have a lot of homework, so I can’t wait to see him then instead.
I found out on 19 March that all Junior Cycle practical exams were cancelled and that we would be getting 100% in each of them. I was pretty happy about this, for obvious reasons, but I guess I was a little disappointed because I had actually prepared for it and I had practiced my songs a lot.
Then, on 10 April, I got even bigger news, when I found out that the Junior Cert exams were postponed (until September) and so we’ll have no exams in the summer. My phone was buzzing like crazy all day with my friends talking about it and celebrating 🙂
Normally we would go to an Easter Egg hunt in my hometown (created by the scouts) but, with the quarantine and social distancing in place, we had to make our own. While my brother was beating my Dad in a game of Draughts, my Mam and I “went to the toilet” and suddenly saw that the Easter Bunny had been to visit 😉
We went outside and he started finding the eggs around the garden and putting them in the bag. He had found them so fast that, while he was at the side of the house, I tried to take some out of his bag and re-hide them, but I heard him coming back so I had to launch them out of my hands and pretend they were there the whole time. I’m sure if he reads this in future, I’ll be in trouble.
I started playing games on my Xbox One a bit more during the Pandemic. My favourites were Apex Legends, Sims 4, Roblox, Call of Duty Warzone and Minecraft. My brother also got hooked by Cars 2, Disneyland Adventures and Disney Rush. He was actually so good that my Xbox score was thousands more than my friends and they were amazed by how many achievements he had gotten.
I nearly broke the Internet after Disney+ was finally released in Ireland on 24 March 2020, because I had waited several months. I could finally watch nearly all of the Marvel movies and my brother could watch all the Pixar movies that he knew from the game, Disney Rush.
My Grandfather (a.k.a. Dan Dan) started taking social distancing and cleanliness very seriously from the moment quarantine was put in place. He did this by developing his own range of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which involved wearing multiple layers of hats, scarves, masks, gloves and coats. That resulted in only being able to see his eyes when he went on walks and walking like a crab going into the utility room when he got home.
All in all, it’s been a very interesting experience to have lived through a pandemic, so I hope you enjoyed reading about it here.