31814: Lockdown for newcomers to Oxford
My husband and I have recently moved from Australia to the UK and are both working at the University from home. When social isolation began, we set up a small workstation at home when he could no longer go to his lab. Since then I have begun working as well... and squeezed my workstation into the space too.
Our mornings have mainly stayed the same. Instead of brewing supermarket coffee, we pay to have our friends deliver their roasted beans directly to our flat. While it's nice to have beautiful coffee at home for a change, we spend a lot of time worrying about loved ones back home who run small businesses in hospitality and events.
During the weekdays, since it's just us, we listen to music while working unless one of us is in a meeting. That's pretty standard since we've worked remotely before, and have been living and socialised online since a young age. But it's really odd to be both working remotely the University at the same time, since it's only 10 minutes away.
While the majority of my colleagues live quite locally, a portion of my husband's young team left Oxford to be with their families overseas or in London. They also cannot run most of their usual experiments at the moment. We both notice it's harder than it would have been to gauge how people at work are coping with social isolation, and lots of conscious effort goes into checking in and asking how people are.
In the evenings and on the weekend we usually would have met with our new friends at a restaurant or pub. Instead, we've been playing online games with everyone. Having older family members join Zoom meetings at the same time from across the world is new... we don't think they would have coordinated digitally like that before unless it was a special occasion.
As newcomers to the UK, it was a historical highlight to get a letter from the Prime Minister Borris Johnson telling us to stay home.
Luckily for us, we're situated very near woodland trails and parks and can walk there for exercise. It's been magical to witness our first English spring as it happens.