Seems a lot of people back home are grateful that there’s now a roadmap for bringing the UK out of lockdown.
I’m not really one for strong ‘feelings’ (she says, in air quotes, like feelings are something marketers made up to sell ice cream), so I’ve always felt, you know, fine about lockdown. I’m okay with not socialising. I don’t miss restaurants. It’s not like we went out that often anyway and now that we don’t eat animal products, our choice of dishes in the average Bulgarian restaurant is limited to chips, salad and bread. (Or, at a push, bean soup.) Not that there’s anything wrong with chips, salad and bread (or bean soup, for that matter). We lived on those dishes for a whole week in Sinemorets last August. But they’re hardly worth putting on a face mask and leaving the house for on a Friday night.
There are a few obvious reasons why lockdown life has barely dented our daily routine. Chief of which is we don’t have children. For us, the phrase ‘home school’ means learning how to make a new kind of alcohol from YouTube videos. Parents, I feel you. I completely understand that you’d like to know when normal(ish) life will return for you and your students. I mean, children.
Then there’s the fact that I’m so used to working from home and have a home office setup that a) is an actual room and b) doesn’t ruin my back. (I bet the post-COVID chiropractic industry will be booming after people have spent months working at their kitchen tables.)
And we have endless walks to enjoy directly from our house. Walks where 99% of the time we don’t see another human.
We’re lucky, in other words. And if we ever got complacent about that, the pandemic has served as a timely reminder of just how easy we have it.
It’s something to be immensely grateful for, finding your groove in life (even if it is a small, calm life with not much going on). And gratitude is one human emotion that I actively try to simulate cultivate in my cardiac tissue heart.* That’s right, I’m not a robot. Or so I keep telling myself.
With that in mind, here are some other things I’m grateful for this month:
- New cookbooks. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’m obsessively cooking my way through Meera Sodha’s book EAST. We were given quite a few cookbooks for Christmas and they’re all great, but EAST is the one we’ve cooked the most from so far. It’s so important not to get stuck in a boring food rut, so if it’s been a while since you treated yourself to a new cookbook or discovered a new cooking blog, now is a good time to indulge in a little food porn.
- That Bulgarian supermarkets have finally – finally – started stocking tomato puree.
- Yoga (again). I go through phases with yoga, where I’m either doing it religiously every day or avoiding it for 14 months at a time. There was no consistency. But we’ve now got into a routine where we do yoga after I’ve finished my work for the day (around 1.30pm – don’t judge. I start at 8am), then have a slap-up lunch. Yoga has become a welcome full stop between my working day and the rest of my day, and as such it’s something I now look forward to, instead of doing it just because I seize up like an old lady if I don’t do it. We subscribe to Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and she’s an absolute delight, with her dog Benji by her side and her frequent Titanic references.
- That we finally caved and bought a Nutribullet when they were on offer in Kaufland. Yes, we use it to make smoothies and blend up cashews for creamy sauces, like the borderline millennial clichés we are. But we mainly use it for making margaritas and pina coladas. It blends ice like a beast and puts our poor old stick blender to shame.
- A new (or, new to us) plant shop that we found in Sofia. They had the most gorgeous houseplants and we ended up over-indulging (they were so cheap, we couldn’t help ourselves). We bought so many, the shop assistant actually grimaced when she read out the total price. Then she gave us two free plants because she felt so sorry for us and thought we were frivolous fools. Driving home, the car looked like a jungle on four wheels.
There are other, more important things to be grateful for, of course. Our health, and the relative good health of loved ones back home, etc, etc. But I find being thankful for small, silly things is often more powerful than the big stuff. Maybe it’s just easier. Or maybe I’m just failing to grasp the entire concept of gratitude. Answers below, please.
Also, tell me, what are you grateful for right now, big or small, deep or daft?
*Gratitude aside, the remaining spectrum of human emotions can do one.