March 2020, Swansea Wales
In March 2020 I was living in Swansea, Wales finishing the last year of my Master’s degree when the pandemic really hit the world.
It’s been a year since I left Swansea.
I remember sitting in my room in Wales, on the floor with the crazy red carpet hearing the Danish Prime minister announcing a lockdown at a press conference. It was the 11th of March, and I was going back and forth between talking to Peter and my parents on the phone. Texting my friends in Denmark. What did this mean? None of us really knew.. and it felt more surreal than anything I have ever experienced before.
The day after I was kind of in a trance. In our house we had four different nationalities between us: two from Germany, one from the Netherlands, one from Mexico, and me from Denmark. At this point the other countries had not put any restrictions out, so I don’t think we really understood what was coming.. And then slowly but surely in the following days the other countries started to go into lockdown. Then Denmark closed it’s borders, so did other European countries. Within that following week two of our housemates went home, one back to Germany, and one to the Netherlands. We jokingly talked about that we would all see each other again after Easter. And I think a part of us kind of believed it.
I still had to make up my mind, but at some point that week I booked a flight just to be sure that I could go home if I wanted to. The UK started to announce certain restrictions, but everything seemed to remain open and normal. I didnt sleep much that week, going back and forth. I was in the midst of writing my dissertation, something that felt like the most important thing of my entire life. My supervisor and the University library with all of the litterature I needed were in Swansea. Furthermore, if I left I had no idea when I would be able to see my friends again, and when or if I would come back.
If I stayed I had no idea if I would be able to go home, or if I would get stuck in the UK, I was risking getting seperated from my family, my friends in Denmark, Peter. In what felt like extreme and dangerous times. And most of all completely unknown.
I decided to go home. On what felt like the last airplane to Denmark, the 22nd of March 2020.
It was the right decision. But I haven’t seen my friends or been back since.
These two decided to stay, but were luckily able to go home to their home countries over the summer.