Twenty twenty-two02 January 2022
A year ago the summary of my life was pictures of boxes ready for shipping, and talk of a new life sometime in the distant future was something that kept me sane and depressed me in equal measure. Depressed me because it had started to sink in how long it would be before it happened, but knowing it will happen provided a much needed ‘goal’ at a time when life was pretty empty. That new life arrived a while back but it is only now that it has really got going; it has not been easy getting here and there is very little to say that has not already been said.
As much as I initially disliked having to move back to the UK it was the only alternative to staying where I was, and it was pretty clear that the status-quo was simply not viable for what I wanted out of life. Had I not been bothered about getting EU citizenship I would have left in the later half of 2020, because by that point it was already clear the place was plagued by inertia, and certainly by the start of 2021 I was in a pretty bad mental state.
AccommodationAccommodation plays a major part in shaping life and what I now have is pretty much everything good about the place I lived 2014–2019 plus more. When I was given notice in late-2019 and had to look for new places I felt that I was having to make compromises that I did not really want to make, and in short I felt that I was trying to recreate rather than advance. Eventually I decided that post-Covid I did not want to put up with the problems I was facing, which if anything have got worse since I left. The place I now have is not quite what I had in Bristol prior to 2013 but it has pretty much everything aside from parking that I could possibly want for the foreseeable future:
- A Balconey
- ..with a great view
- ‘Enough’ space
- Good transport connections
Moving inThere is no clear point at which I consider myself to have “moved in” because even after I had shifted the vast majority of my stuff I was only staying overnight about half of the week. I was still figuring out my routines well into December so similar to 2013 it was pretty much the new-year before I really started to feel settled. Part of the problem was sorting out furniture and it was only after I started to get in shelving that the place finally had the sort of order it really needed.
In hindsight I moved more stuff over to the flat during the christmas period than I could really cope with, and with it all thrown into crates without much thought I had a few panic searches for items I was after. I was in two mind over whether I should go digging through all my stuff and note down what was where or simply buy new on an as-needed basis.
Covid-19 restrictionsI have very mixed feelings about how the UK handled the pandemic, but on the whole I am supportive of how they regarded vaccination as a silver bullet and did away with restrictions over the summer. My experience of the alternative was 18 months of stifling inertia where the state neglected all its duties rather than at least trying to operate at reduced capacity, and while not wanting to go back to a dysfunctional accommodation & property system had already made me decide to emigrate, suffering under a needlessly harsh lockdown regime is why I do not look back. At this stage peoples' reactions to Covid are actually worse than the virus itself and in reality having had four jabs in the last seven months is all I could actually do to protect myself. In the week before Christmas I semi-isolated because I was staying with family and in any case a lot of events in London were getting cancelled, but had decided that after Christmas I would stay at my own place full-time and take part in high-risk events.
Back in September when it was all about Delta I had already accepted that Covid was here to stay and getting exposed to it was just a matter of time. By Christmas Omicron was out-competing the common cold with 50% of those with a cold symptoms testing positive for Covid, and the sheer ease at which it spread meant that pretty much any policy other than letting it rip was merely delaying the inevitable. In fact some medics think this is desirable as it had become clearer Omicron has a much lower hospitalisation rate than Delta, and it had already pushed out the latter on many countries. New Zealand has just about managed to keep it out but Australia and Hong Kong — the latter somewhere that mandates three week quarantine — already have community spread. The sheer speed at which Omicron spread made it too fast to track so containment via travel bans was ineffective.