This sure is one for the history books. I’m writing to you from back home in Ontario. I didn’t have to travel very far, but I sure feel far away from the life I was building in Newfoundland. I was lucky to get home when I did as a few days later, Newfoundland closed the borders and the State of Emergency in Ontario was extended with increased restrictions. The hardest part of this for me was that we were no longer allowed to visit parks or trails, so nature hiking (my favourite pastime), was eliminated from my options. I needed to find things to occupy myself without leaving my property.
I threw myself into my thesis. I found that weekly lab meetings over Zoom really helped to keep me on track and to maintain a sense of normalcy within my academics. This was especially important because this pandemic really interrupted my, and I am sure everybody else’s, academic endeavours. Conferences and guest lectures were cancelled, and I had to completely redesign my thesis to accommodate the new restrictions and lack of field work that will be allowed in 2020. At first, this was a terrifying prospect. It was hard to let go of something that I had been working on for a whole year, but I’ve come to realize that this was a blessing in disguise. My new thesis topic is fascinating, yielding interesting results, fun to work on, and is quarantine friendly. This new topic was originally a side project that I presented on at the World Seabird Twitter Conference, the only event that was not cancelled. The World Seabird Twitter Conference went on as planned, reached millions of people, and was absolutely free! If you have never heard of a Twitter Conference before, here are some links to a few that would be great to consider for the future!
Outside of thesis work, I spent lots of time with my awesome family. We all suddenly had a lot of time, so we baked, learned to cook new dishes, played games, and watched our favourite movies and TV shows. I also had a lot of time for my favourite indoor pastime, knitting. I have knit 12 pairs of socks since being home. I adore knitting because it is relaxing, it occupies my hands, and I can knit in the company of others. I also love that at the end of it, you have made something useful. I have been sock-piling (haha get it?) to give gifts to friends and family when I can see them again, and to donate to homeless shelters. If you’re crafty and like working with your hands, knitting is a cheap and productive hobby to get into. You can order yarn and needles online from Micheal’s, Walmart, or a local shop like Cast On! Cast Off! that can be picked up or delivered to your door. There are thousands of tutorials on Youtube, and even more patterns available from sites like ravelry.com and yarnspirations.com. Lately, I have enjoyed knitting over Skype with my friends.
I truly hope that the situation improves soon and that things move to our new normal, but for now, I’m signing off to go think about birds and knit another pair of socks.
Thanks for reading!