• Katie Trojak

Quarantine Updates

I’m sure I don’t have to update you all on what’s happening world wide, but I wanted to give a little update on what’s happening in my life.

At least the weather has been getting a little warmer and sunnier here in Pennsylvania

First of all, I am on the North American continent. For those of you who didn’t know, I’ve been in America for the past few months doing my study abroad at George Washington University in Washington DC. You can read more about that here. It was such an amazing experience and I’m sure I’ll write more about it soon.

As we went into spring break, the University announced that we would be staying home and going online for an additional two weeks after the break. We all kind of knew that we wouldn’t be coming back. I was trying to stay optimistic, especially since I was loving my study abroad. I hoped we would come back.

But we didn’t. Classes went online for the rest of the semester.

Trying to stop and smell the roses- even my dog!

Over in London, my two flatmates were going through a much faster whirlwind. They decided to stay in London even after King’s went online for the rest of the semester. They thought the virus might not move over quickly but it was worth staying in the flat because we already paid rent.

So they cancelled all of their flights to come home for spring break. Their airlines were allowing them to keep the credit to book at another time, but they were cancelled. They stocked up on food in case London shut down and one of our friends began staying nights in case she had to leave her flat.

Then the next day King’s announced an advisory for all international students to go home. After hours of debating and talking with their families, they decided to come immediately home.

The next day, Alex was on a flight home. You can hear more about Alex’s time with all this on her brilliant blog here. Camden caught a flight a few days later.

Out in California, my friend Nic who was also studying abroad, immediately found a flight home to Switzerland. Several connecting flights and long lines into the country later, he was home safe.

Lots of my London friends were moving out of their flats and leaving the city. Everyone, as far as I know, is okay, which is so relieving.

I know other people have gone through so many more horrifying moments as this sickness kind of takes over the world. But for me, the most terrifying thing was those two days or so as I watched my friends move around, not being able to reach them all, and trying to figure out where they all were and where they were moving from. At the very least, I’m glad now that we’re all safe and sound in our houses.

Playing Catan just last night in front of a late season fireplace

I realize we’re very lucky. All of my friends and I are at that age where we still have homes we can go back to and parents that will take us in. As an international affairs major who tries to read world news relatively often, I’m all too aware that so many people are suffering more than us.

But I try to do what I can and not let the panic of not being able to help more sink in.

Spending time cuddling with the cats. That's Pluto!

Online classes are going alright. I hear it from all my friends that it’s hard to get up the motivation to do schoolwork, and I’m feeling it myself. It is strange to have this shift to doing schoolwork in my bedroom rather than at the library or in the courtyard. Luckily I have homeschooling experience and my family has been mostly home based for the past few years anyways (both my parents work from home and my siblings are/have been homeschooled before). So we have practice.

But still, it’s hard to find a space where I’m not distracted. It’s weird to feel like I’m on a break because I’m home but still have so much work to do.

My teachers have been really understanding and I’m so grateful.

I’ve been trying to work on other things too, which hasn’t been easy. Just as it is for everyone at home right now. But I feel like I’ve gotten some of my groove back and I’ve settled in.

My family has been passing a lot of time playing board games. We are die hard board game players and my friends tell me I’m nuts whenever I try and get them to play. I know I get way too into it. We play Catan, Ticket to Ride, a bunch of card games, and loads of others.

A game of ticket to ride with my family- I won! I never win!

I’ve been doing a lot of music, songwriting, and journaling, which are all very related for me. I’ve gotten back to playing violin and piano and I’ve had time to sit with my guitar more. I’ve been rounding out songs I’ve already written and gotten more comfortable playing old songs.

I’ve always felt an urgency to journal. It might be silly and completely off base, but I love reading journals from other generations and I have this hope that someday someone may read mine. And any world, national, or even personal event is history. Even the way we talk. And as a history nerd and major I want to help preserve history.

My current for pleasure read is this beautiful book written by CS Lewis. Highly recommend.

This global crisis has made me even more acutely aware of that. We’re living through history. When my kids and grandkids learn about the coronavirus pandemic that changed the way we structure medicine and nation level responses (hopefully) and impacted a generation (definitely), I want to be able to take out my journal and show them my thoughts during it all. So they can see the pages I wrote when stuck inside for months at a time, read the words.

So I journal. A lot.

I’ve been running. This isn’t new, but I’ve had the time to go further than I ever have before, which is exciting. I’ve been crocheting. I’ve finished projects that have been four years in the works and might even run out of yarn. I’ve been reading. Some books I should read for class, others I should not read until I’m done with school but am reading anyways.

My farthest run so far and I'm proud of it

I’ve been writing a lot. I have several projects that I’m in the midst of and every day I want to start a new one. So, when I have motivation, I write.

This week has kind of been sad in a new way as I watch my summer plans drip down the drain one by one. Obviously, we’re not even sure what state the world will be in when summer comes. But the few incredibly hard internships I applied for I didn’t get and every other internship I thought I had a really good shot at (even some hard ones) were cancelled. I would love to travel but I need money and I’m not sure that international travel will be safe when I want to go.

So my summer has turned into being here. In suburban America. I want to make the most of it, and I’m sure I will. I have dozens of ongoing projects or writings to work on. I have loads of previous travel to write about. But it’s sad to watch my hopes disappear.

One silver lining is that I get to be here with my family. Yes, we drive each other crazy. But yes, I love them. And living so far away from home, I rarely get this much time with them. I haven’t had this much time with them for nearly two years, since I left for University. And because of quarantine, I’m not focused on running around or seeing everyone I want to see during the limited amount of time I have home. I’m just stuck here, getting to enjoy time with my family.

The quintessential quarantine photo. Playing a board game wearing no makeup, a dingy tshirt, and a hat I just crocheted. At least I won that game!

So as ridiculous as this is and as much as I’m still struggling for motivation, I’m really focusing on the plus sides of this all and am loving the time I have to breathe and figure out my next move.

Stay safe, stay indoors, and look for the silver linings.

Related Posts:

First Week in Washington, DC

A Note on Homesickness

Protesting in DC: The Women's March and March for Life

5 Funny Realities of Going to University in Another Country

The British Middle Finger



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