Notes from Hong Kong Hotel Quarantine: The Final Day

Photo by thom masat on Unsplash

Sweet freedom is hours away! And I’ve enjoyed quarantine way more than I expected. Over the last week, I’ve become an honorary resident of Stars Hollow, because I have been watching Gilmore Girls, Gilmore Girls… and more Gilmore Girls.

I only recently started watching the show for the first time, decades after everyone else. Yet the benefits of being this late to the party: there is not only a revival already on Netflix but also lots of opinion pieces already in existence, on how Rory became The Worst (‘a monster’) and why Jess mattered.

Anyway, the show has been a saving grace because it has made quarantine feel like a treat: when else would you have this much time to spend with Rory and Lorelei?

Outside of that, I’ve been grateful for more cupcakes from my brother and another batch from my boyfriend. Even though I haven’t seen my family yet, there is something very, very comforting about being in the same city as them.

There was a fire the other night right outside the window across the road which felt pretty dramatic.

Other than that, not much happened.

I got a lot done with work. And with writing. The landing page has gone up for Modern Woman and I’m working on a new website to launch next month.

Most of all, it has been really nice having space to think. Although I spent a lot of time indoors this year, I’m usually plugged into a device or on FaceTime or distracting myself. This time, out of pure boredom… I got to think. It made me realise the difference between hibernating and reflecting.

I wish I could say I had some major revelation. But it was more like a series of other thoughts that had been hanging out at the back of my mind finally had the space to creep to the front of my mind.

Most of all, I am so ready for 2020 to be over.

I’m grateful that I listened to a friend who had done a hotel quarantine in NZ and had said to me when I was considering my Christmas plans: ‘It’s reallly not that bad if you go into it mentally prepared.’ She was so right.

It’s easy to focus on the negatives: can’t open the windows, can’t leave the room, can’t do anything. But really — it hasn’t been massively different from when we were in strict London lockdown earlier this year.

Mentally treating it as a mini-retreat makes you realise that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to press pause on real life. People pay all this money to go to expensive spas or meditation retreats to create headspace, and this version is far less glamorous but has also been unexpectedly relaxing.

My sleep hasn’t been great but the jet lag is gone. I’ve had my Tom Yum soup, Hainanese chicken rice, and Gilmore Girls on tap. I’m curious about how it feels to come face-to-face with other humans in real life and to wear shoes, put on makeup, carry a handbag.

If you’d told me a year ago that to spend Christmas with my family, I’d have to hole up in a Novotel for two weeks beforehand, I’d never have believed it. But on the grand scale of pandemic hiccups, this has hardly been an ordeal.

In fact, it has been a reminder that during overwhelming uncertainty, the only place where you can truly seek refuge is inside yourself. Or Stars Hollow. Whatever does it for you.

Things I loved reading :

  • How I Approach the Toughest Decisions (By Barack Obama) — “Having at least one contrarian in the room pushed us all to think harder — and, frankly, everyone was a bit freer with their opinions when that contrarian wasn’t me. When you have a tough, almost unsolvable decision to make, you don’t just want people to tell you what you want to hear. You also want to create space to think.”
  • The Digital Nomads Did Not Prepare for This — “It turns out there are drawbacks the trend stories and Instagram posts didn’t share. Tax things. Red-tape things. Wi-Fi rage things. Closed border things. The kinds of things one might gloss over when making an emotional, quarantine-addled decision to pack up an apartment and book a one-way ticket to Panama or Montreal or Kathmandu.”
  • I’m Sorry, WHAT Does the Peloton CEO Do Every Morning? — “At first, I was certain that my synapses had briefly snapped, and I had misread. Surely a wildly wealthy executive does not start his day hunched over a sink, shoveling handfuls of loose sink water into his mouth like a little raccoon instead of simply placing a glass or a water bottle on his bathroom counter?”
  • The Pandemic Arrived. His Text Back Did Not. — “I didn’t want to be the one to initiate this talk. I wanted to carry on as the mysterious, chill girl who doesn’t discuss feelings — or even have needs. But as my coupled-up friends informed me, my escalating anxiety signaled that I was not, in fact, the chill girl, and that it was time.”
  • Paris Geller is the best Gilmore Girls character, and no one can convince me otherwise— “You, Logan Huntzburger, are nothing but a two-bit, spoiled waste of a trust fund. You offer nothing to women or the world in general. If you were to disappear from the face of the earth tomorrow, the only person that would miss you is your Porsche dealer!”



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