What a year!

This year has been a rollercoaster of sorts, hasn’t it? Never would I have thought that it would have so much packed in one year.

A friend of mine wants a refund on this year 😀 I don’t blame him. It has not been smooth sailing.

We were supposed to travel to India in April which was put on hold for a month without having any clue as to whether we would even get a refund or a credit note for the flight tickets we had paid for six months ahead of our travel date. We got our credit note finally after 3 months of our travel date. Now we don’t know if we will be in a position to use it before the deadline which is next year May. One can only hope.

The decision to move our teaching online which threw a spanner in the works making us work 8 hours per day just creating the necessary materials and videos for our delivery. I almost lost my voice doing those and then delivering the lectures as usual over online platforms. It was a double whammy, but at least the students were happy and we did very well with our third semester where everything was completely online.

I have had the experience of Working From Home (WFH) during my days working as software engineer, so the switch was quite easy for me and I found myself being very productive too. We also delivered three weeks of summer school online which concluded recently and it was also a huge success. Never would I have thought that I will be teaching a 100+ kids on Zoom about the basics of wireless networks 🙂

Mr M who has never worked from home absolutely loves it now. He would be a very happy person if he has to never set foot in his office again 😀 He loves his work, but he loves working from home more than working from office.

We did the whole bake during lockdown thing too, not as much as others seemed to do it. We couldn’t get enough flour to start with during the peak lockdown time. We also didn’t understand the whole toilet roll drama that happened. But at least we now know what people’s priorities are in case of any calamities or disasters.

We kept ourselves busy by going for regular walks around the block, trying my hand at Bingo for a Cancer charity (where I won a round too! yay!!!), have Zoom calls with friends, what not! We have managed to work well with each other in the same room without having the urge to kill each other 😉 and keeping clear of each other during the Zoom sessions (we have witnessed enough Zoom video disasters).

After working non-stop (Mr M had his three month break where he was furloughed), I took a week off and we decided to go on a mini trip in and around Swansea. We decided to do the St Thomas Way tour/pilgrimage. It was a much needed break and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Things elsewhere has not been going good has it?, the wide spread of the virus in India where my parents, siblings, and friends are, the wide spread fires and riots close to where my friends are in the US, the politicisation of the epidemic, the stupidity of the people who party as if there is no tomorrow, the sheer lack of common sense… I should say we are lucky to be in good health doing what we like to do (touch wood) and may it continue. But it is also important to realise that we can never go back to what was “normal” for us all. A new “normal” is going to take time and it is OK to have a new normal. This is one of the changes that we didn’t want but cannot ignore. We might as well wisen up and learn to adapt. We have done so for so many ages, so why not now? It is going to be hard and there will be people who will take advantage of it, but those are the ones who have always put their own prosperity before the general goodness anyway. That has never changed. What we can do is take care of our own in our own small way and hope for the best.

Stay safe and Keep smiling 🙂

Snowdonia Murder Mysteries

We did a North Wales tour last year and it was brilliant. The places are so gorgeous and beautiful. We did not cover the whole of it, but enough to know the various places when someone mentions it. I stumbled upon this Snowdonia Murder Mystery series by Simon McCleave. They were available on Kindle Unlimited and I managed to rent all the three available books and finished them one after the other.

All three of them get 4/5 stars from me. They were very good. I enjoyed the pace, the description of places, the characters (most of them flawed), the speed of the narrative etc. It was very enjoyable during these trying times. Since I could picture most of the places mentioned, it helped me imagine the whole flow very easily.

Also, for Agatha Christie fans, I recently found a few books available on Kindle Unlimited. I read “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” recently and I have got “Murder on the Orient Express” next. I am very much enjoying reading these fictions now more than ever.

Saturday Special

Mr M practicing his game. 😉 He decided to go solo after I whacked him in his arm (a you’ve been framed moment) during a game of Tennis.

View from my Window

I am glad to have a green patch on one side of our house where we hear the birds chirping in the morning. In fact, I am woken up by them at around 4.30 am recently and they are chirping away until the afternoon. I decided to leave my camera out just in case I spot some of them being still even if only for a second. Most of them are not, but I get lucky once in a while. I was lucky once today.

A week later…

It’s been a week now since the lock-down was announced. We baked a ginger cake to commemorate this. I am used to working from home (wfh) and since Mr M has been working part time, he too has taken to wfh like fish to water. I will have to see what impact it has on him in another week.

With my work, we were able to replace an exam with a coursework and get the semester done, create some resources for school students for offline activities etc. Lots of work done in a week tbh. I am sure it is going to calm down a bit in another week. Keeping the children engaged and interested after a couple of weeks is going to be challenging. My second niece who is just 9 years old was horrified at the thought that she can do some learning at home. “We have got some respite from learning now, why would anyone want to learn when we can enjoy playing all day long?” she asked me. I am pretty sure, after a few more days of fighting with her sister, even their rivalry will become boring for her 😀 (fingers crossed). As for the elders, my mom is going crazy having to separate those two fighting all day long.

When this is all over, I am sure some of my colleagues who are experiencing remote working for the first time (since most of them finished studies very recently) would find it very boring to get up and get ready for work 😉 Even more boring to face people in person and not via Zoom or Skype! My only fear is I might end up putting on some weight because after a while there is nothing more to do and while watching TV I love snacking. I am making a conscious effort to be very good and use my Wii for my exercises.

Hope everyone is staying safe and keeping their distances. The restrictions are going to be more severe, which is essential. Keep healthy and keep smiling. We can get through this only by holding on to hope and some common sense.