As Malaysia goes into a period of lockdown from 18th to 31st March, I will be publishing a new post on this blog everyday to keep all my friends back home company. This post is part of the #Lockdown series.
My firm has made everyone work from home starting this Monday for an indefinite period of time. Part of me rejoiced at the idea of being able to roll out of bed at 9:29 am on a Tuesday and sending bad-ass legal advice next to my teddy while the unstoppable energy of a Superwoman in the making brew alongside a fresh pot of fierce Sumatra coffee. Another part of me died.
Working from home
Today is Wednesday. That means I have been working from home for two days. That means I have been oscillating between a state of bullish optimism – churning out work at a speed even Corona can’t rival – and disorientation – getting distracted, losing focus, feeling confused and bored – for at least 48 hours. It turns out the spiritual animal of a Superwoman is a Hungry Hungry Hippo and it is in her nature to raid the fridge every half an hour. So I guess there is nothing I could do except to let nature take its course.
I didn’t wake up feeling like P.Diddy today. I lay in bed languid as sunlight crept through the window. I was distraught and demotivated, feeling alone and nervous about all these uncertainties. And as I saw myself diminishing into a pile of tear-soaked bed hair and self-pity, I asked Siri to set a timer for 7 minutes. I told myself that I will, for 7 minutes, wallow to my heart’s content and think about all the worst things that may come out of this pandemic. And I did. I cocooned myself in the blanket and let pessimism hit me like a train. When the 7 minutes were up, I rolled up the blind, got changed and went for an hour run at Hyde Park.
Life goes on. But I want to be able to dictate which direction it goes.
What about London?
London is a lot quieter though the government has not imposed mandatory quarantine. Cinemas, museums, theaters are shut, major activities are cancelled. London is now a hollow shell, a semi-ghost town, the morning-after of a debauched themed party where confetti strewn all over the floor and empty magnum bottles lay drunkenly next to bones and lip-stick stained napkins. This is the place where the circus comes night after night. But tonight, there will be no party. It will be quiet, and so will tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, and …we don’t know how long this will last.
Many of you asked what is it about London that I like and what made me decide not to return to Kuala Loco after graduation. To start, I don’t have a job that pays me enough to migrate to the moon should Covid wiped out the earth, nor do I have a secret husband who is so besotted with my humour and intellect that he’d take note of everything I say even when I sleep talk. So there really is no good reason for me to stay, you say. There are, and there are plenty.
I am here because of a long list of things that have unfailingly kept me here – scotch eggs, dry humour, wet weather, moist chocolate cake, big trees, big pavement, big currency, big ego, small flats, small talks, small connections, opportunities and double gin and tonic. They say one should choose to build one’s live in a place where one feel belonged, supported and accepted. Wrong, because one is only able to live one’s life to its fullest where one is funny, constantly full, constantly hungry and has cool acquaintances that one can name drop at school reunions.
London is that place for me.
I wrote about London recently for Popular Malaysia. Yes, the renowned mega publisher slash bookshop chain where you and I both spent lots of time lepak-ing growing up . I contributed a two-page article to their March magazine and poured my heart out to all the Pop members about London. They initially wanted me to write about how to travel in London like a local, but I refused.
Travelling like a local is oxymoronic. This concept is not real. You cannot have burgers without buns, nor can you marry someone with whom you have not sexual attraction. You are missing the point. Travelling can be an action where one moves from one place to another but, in this context, it means opening your senses to stimuli that you are not ordinarily exposed to or have in your everyday life. You can’t travel to a new country and only visit the bars where the tired and the jaded go. You want to look at everything that makes the place (and better, with child-like wonder and at your own rhythm) so you can go home, go back to crying over chopped onions on a dull, regular day and feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth.
The girl who worked with me on this article from Popular said that this was the BEST travel article she’s ever read, and so has my mum. Just saying that the standard of this piece would be pretty up there, so brace yourself and definitely request for a copy. It’s free, I will give you that.
Okay that makes the first rant of my Lockdown series. Before I sign off today and before you go to bed, I want you to think about the big picture. Think about how you can make use of this period of free and undemanding time that you now have at your disposal. I will be here again tomorrow with a more structured post as well as on Instagram (@alxndrluella).
Remember, I will do this with you.
So platitudinous I know. But I am honing my blogging skills. Now go think about what you will do.
With love x