Some simple joys that have not been destroyed by COVID-19 – OurWarwick
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Some simple joys that have not been destroyed by COVID-19

Covid-19 sucks in pretty much every way. I don’t think that is disputable. However, as we enter our sixth week of lockdown, and our third month of chaos, as well as exam and deadline season for University of Warwick students, it seems more important than ever to recognise some of the slightly less sucky parts of life, especially the parts that have not been destroyed by the corona virus. 

1) Dogs

Wow, Catherine is talking about dogs again, groundbreaking content. However, though boring it may be, I truly believe dogs an amazing source of joy and happiness, and seeing my little guy Wilbur every day makes me feel so much better. Even if sometimes he treats me as his personal sofa….

Sometimes a day spent in your pyjamas with a dog on top of you is rather necessary

If you sadly do not have a dog in your house on standby for the occasional procrastinatory hug, then follow Warwick’s Library on Instagram, as they are hosting virtual puppy therapy during the lockdown, as part of their Study Happy initiative. Or you could YouTube “[insert dog breed] + cute” and spend 10 minutes watching the undeniably adorable results. I personally always go for Labradors, English Bulldogs, Beagles or Bernese Mountain Dogs. Rottweilers are wonderful too, as are Corgis. 

2) Books

Slightly more mature topic. I love to read, and I do it every night before bed. I find that if I go on my phone or laptop in bed, I tend to go to sleep later (the struggle to resist just one episode, just one more scroll on twitter) and subsequently battle to actually fall asleep, so I always make time for reading instead with my phone on do not disturb. Of course, this is reading for pleasure, and not sad course reading, which would not help me fall asleep. Maybe. 

Some books I have read recently and enjoyed have been:

– Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, a four-book series detailing the lives of two friends from childhood to old-age, in Naples from the 1940s onwards. Beautifully written and occasionally heartbreaking, it is clear why these books are loved by many.

– David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas, a six-part collection of intertwining stories from the 1600s to the apocalyptic future… If you need to escape the news, but still want some terror-enducing doom. Not very comforting though.

– Alice Roberts, The Celts, a very general introduction to the enigmatic Celts, and very suitable for people like me, who fear non-fiction and usually run screaming from ancient history. Gives a nice overview and helps to understand their exciting history. 

3) Cooking

Anyone else love going home from University and having not only a cleaner, bigger kitchen, but all your mum’s cooking equipment and ingredients. A dream. Whilst we’ve had to be quite regimental with a weekly meal plan to ensure no more than trip to/ delivery from the supermarket, my parents and I have managed to enjoy some new meals. 

– I was so excited when Wagamama said they would release the recipe for their katsu curry, however, after getting impatient, we found this recipe instead, and whilst it was not exactly the same, it still tasted delicious. 

–  (Miso mushroom coconut noodles) This is actually one of my favourite hangover foods, so it technically is not a new lockdown recipe. However, it is a really comforting collection of flavours. 

Sadly, due to the insane amount of bread making, I cannot get any bread flower to join the hype. However, with snickerdooodles, chocolate-chip cookies, carrot cake and peanut-butter brownies having all been enjoyed recently, it is safe to say that baking is getting me through the weeks. Next up is flapjacks! 

4) Sunshine

Despite the rather dreary weather which we have had this week, it’s fair to say that this April has been insanely hot. And whilst this is probably due to climate change, therefore signalling our impending doom, I won’t lie, I have also been taking advantage of the 20+ temperatures and gleefully applying suncream when going on my daily walk/ run. Sometimes it has also been possible to study in the garden, and that is a real treat. Also, don’t the spring flowers just look so much better with a blue sky and not the typical April showers…

5) Colouring

Lol no hate. I know colouring was a thing like 5 years ago, and even then it was far from acceptable, however, in the last couple of weeks, I have found myself colouring pretty much every evening. When I am watching TV or talking to someone, I am one of those hideous people who like to do something with their hands; I’d love to say I crochet or knit really cute, useful things for my friends, but realistically, I tend to just numb my brain by playing merged on my phone. However, I feel like colouring is slightly better for the mind, and so it pretty much has become my life…

Practically Picasso

Although I have no clue what I am going to do with my pile of coloured mandalas after quarantine is lifted….

*Speaking of Picasso, I must mention this pig, which is enriching my life tremendously. Ingeniously named Pigcasso, she is a South African pig who lives near Cape Town and paints abstract art. I am obsessed.*

6) Bread

You’d think this would be within the food section, but no, bread, specifically toast, holds a special place in my heart, therefore it is getting it’s own section. As I mentioned earlier, I am yet to make my own sourdough, however, with our weekly supermarket shop bursting with the carby goodness, I am personally surviving the days with toast. My favourite sliced bread is seeded, but I don’t discriminate. Sourdough, rye, plain white, tiger. It’s all a hug in a slice. As for toppings, I’m mostly a simple girl: I like it buttered, although, as Chrissy Teigen says, “If you cannot see the butter, it’s not properly buttered,” so don’t be afraid to load up. Sometimes I embrace the avocado toast trend, or peanut butter and bananas. Pesto and cream cheese. Houmous.  All toast is good toast. Like all bagels are good bagels.  

7) Crosswords

Sometimes, especially during periods of revision and deadlines, a quick intellectual win is needed. I have turned to daily crosswords, although, don’t fear, I am not one of those superior minds who completes the cryptic crosswords in The Times. It’s become a bit of a tradition with my parents to do one over lunch.  I am a simple fan of the quick crossword published by The Guardian. It’s nice because you can check if you’re answer is correct before moving onto the next clue (true crossword fans would hate it) and sometimes, if you’re really stuck, you can guess letter-by-letter (something  that is pretty much sinful in proper crossword completion)

8) My teachers

Warwick was rather lucky, as a week before lockdown was fully introduced in the UK, we broke up for our 5-week long Easter holiday, meaning it had time to plan how the following term, which started last week, would be carried out. Whilst you might have heard that this has not been totally smooth-sailing, it is clear the University is trying their best to accommodate their students. I would like to say a big thank you to my teachers from the SMLC (School of Modern Languages & Cultures), who despite also suffering the lockdown, and therefore may have new homeschooling/ care-giving responsibilities, have always been available to mark my work or give me feedback electronically, as well as hosting an occasional online lesson. I really appreciate how all my teachers have actually just spent the first five minutes of these classes asking how we all are, and checking everyone is okay. 

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