From abruptly being sent home from study abroad, quarantining alone for 20+ days, going back to work at an essential business, and moving back to school… I guess you could say my quarantine experience has been quite the adventure.
March 15, 2020: The day I had to pack up my life in Ireland and fly home two months earlier than expected. Being sent home due to the coronavirus was definitely an unexpected turn in my study abroad experience, but believe it or not, it wasn't even the worst part of the whole situation. Yes, I was (and still am) absolutely devastated I had to go home early, but having to quarantine all alone for upwards of twenty days following that emotional rollercoaster ride of a trip sucked even more. Netflix, snacking, Facetiming friends, and crying became my daily quarantine routine. It took a lot of time to come to terms with the fact that I was home and my abroad experience was over, and readjusting to life in America all alone was incredibly difficult. But I got through it with the emotional support cuddles from my dog Sam, the distraction of completing my schoolwork (yes, I still had several essays to write), and of course, my friends.
Post-self isolation was much easier except for one thing: the hovering presence of my parents. Luckily, mom and dad still went to work everyday and were able to maintain their normal routine despite the damaging effects of coronavirus on the job market; however, that did not prevent cabin fever arguments and annoyances from arising. It was impossible for me to get away for a few hours to work on an essay for school without someone calling, interrupting, or hovering over me to see if I was busy or wanted anything. Yes, all of these interruptions were out of love, but they were still incredibly frustrating in the moment. The combination of no social interaction with people other than my parents, crappy weather (because Cape Cod, MA in April isn't the greatest), three crazy dogs in need of constant attention, six papers to write, and absolutely no motivation to be productive made my second stage of quarantine a different kind of difficult.
There was a light at the end of the tunnel however, and that was work. I managed to finish all of my school assignments with time to spare and get into a routine with my family that worked, but without the distraction of homework, my cabin fever was through the roof. It wasn't until my boss at Smitty's Ice Cream reached out to say that he was opening, and I couldn't have been more excited to get out of my house and make some money (especially since my online shopping habit increased significantly in isolation). Social interaction and getting out of the house was just what I needed to feel a semblance of normalcy again, and man was it good to see my work friends. This routine however, would only last for 2 months, until the next and final stage of my quarantine adventures would begin in Providence, RI.
The lease for our senior year home began in June, which leads us to my current and final quarantine destination. The Elmhurst. It's a bustling, three-story home for eight girls situated one street away from one of my favorite places on earth: Providence College. Surrounded by my wonderfully weird best friends, we spend our days working from home, jamming to our favorite music, relaxing out on our porch, watching New Girl, cheffing up family dinners, working out with Chloe Ting, and spending countless hours on the infamous "girl talk." After being stuck at home for so long, and not even seeing each other since December due to study abroad, this quarantine crew is just what we needed to make this no-so-normal summer one for the books.
What began as an emotional, sad, and lonely experience slowly evolved into a wild group of young women trying to make the most of their senior summer in unprecedented times. When quarantine began, there seemed to be no end in sight, but now, I'm having more fun than I ever thought I would being stuck in a house with my best friends. If you were to have told me a year ago that my 2020 would look like this, I wouldn't have believed you. But this is our new normal that we have to get used to and make our own, and I'm pretty damn happy with how mine has turned out so far.