Welcome to another Seasonal Digest! Reflection is an important part of life and in my effort to be self-aware and grateful, I will go through a summary of what’s been going on in my world season by season. This Seasonal Digest covers Summer 2020 from June to August. If you want to read more Digests, click here.
Flights: 2 (yes, more than 0!)
If my last seasonal digest (Spring 2020) was the Covid-19 edition, then I’m not sure what this seasonal digest is supposed to be because we are certainly still in Covid-19 times! Summer is normally a busy season, full of travel and exploration. I know everyone feels the same way, so I’ll try not to get hampered down by the obviously suckiness of today’s situation. In fact, on a positive note, I am so incredibly grateful that I was able to go on one trip abroad (more on that later), and also do so much more exploring in my own beloved city of London.
On June 6th, thousands of people participated in the Black Lives Matter protest against racism and police violence in the UK. Beyond the reality of the pandemic, the news coverage of police brutality in the United States has of course affected the UK as well, forcing us to look at our own history and practices today. Personally, I tried to look at my own patterns (am I supporting black businesses?), biases (do I make judgment based on race without thinking?), and privilege (how much more do I have?). I continue to try and look at myself and actions each and everyday.
With the opening of non-essential shops this month, I felt a bit more comfortable going out in public. My partner and I really had taken a very cautious approach, so had not even visited a high street until now. It was such a great feeling to go further than a couple blocks from home. We celebrated by obtaining some interesting takeaway options like Caribbean and My Neighbors the Dumplings, a Chinese dumpling house.
We increasingly started venturing out further to other green spaces beyond our own parks, though still traveling by foot. One lovely, sunny weekend we explored Hackney Wick and the forests and fields surrounding the area.
Of course, we can only go so far by foot. We were feeling a bit stir crazy because we were so limited by distance so we decided to try out Zipcar, a car rental service. We drove to Wanstead Park and Wanstead Flats, and it honestly was such an amazing feeling getting out of the city and doing something a bit different.
Other momentous occasions included seeing our first friend since February on June 28th! We picked up some delicious breakfast buns from Brunswick East Bakehouse and enjoyed a picnic in Victoria Park. In a classic British summer sort of way, the weather could not make up its mind about whether it should be a sunny or rainy day. But nonetheless, it was so great to see our friend.
July was a major month for the UK as on the 4th pubs, bars and restaurants were finally able to open. We were not intending to visit pubs anytime soon, but we “accidentally” visited our first beer-serving establishment after a day trip to Tottenham Marshes by going to a brewery, Wild Card! This brewery is part of the Walthamstow Beer Mile, of which I will writing a blog post on very soon.
Our most significant event during the summer was getting on a plane! Yes, we decided to take advantage of the low case numbers in Barcelona to visit Victor’s parents for two weeks. We flew out on July 11th. Unfortunately, as soon as we landed in Spain the Spanish government announced mandatory face masks outside and also more restrictions. Nonetheless, we were so happy to visit family and we had a lovely time in any case. We spent the first week at the beach, and the second week hanging out in Barcelona. It was incredibly relaxing and, even though I had to work a couple days, it was a wonderful break. And, yep, you guessed it. A blog post will be up about our trip in due course.
On July 27th, Victor and I celebrated our six-year anniversary by ordering in a tasting menu from Pidgin. We had wanted to try out this place (albeit in person) for such a long time, and thought, why not treat ourselves to an at-home tasting session? It was such a treat and obviously everything was delicious. We even threw in a nice bottle of wine.
Throughout the summer London experienced several heat waves, so we mostly spent our time trying to keep cool. This time included iced tea, ice cream and ice buckets in front of fans! We ventured to even more green spaces, even making the time to go blackberry-picking.
I took public transportation for the first time on August 6th for a meeting with my work colleagues, which sort of made me slightly more comfortable (that sounds super confident, doesn’t it?) going out more from then on.
We decided to do some day trips via Zipcar again. On a Saturday we ventured to Kent Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in southeast England. We even went to our first pub in England since February!
On the Monday we headed north instead to Dedham Vale, another AONB in England. We were so lucky with the weather — perfect, summer days.
Something I haven’t yet mentioned is that I’ve been trying to be really fit and healthy. When lockdown happened, I was so worried that by not being able to do my commute and other activities I would surely sacrifice my health. Well, as a result, I achieved so many of my health and fitness goals! After months of no pastries or other treats, I finally was able to slowly ease them back in. One treat a week — I really do look forward to it as there are so many amazing bakeries near me. Blog post coming soon!
At the end of August, we headed out to our second pub to celebrate me finishing my first year of my professional course in law (the final education stage for qualifying as a lawyer in England). By the end of the summer, things seemed to be looking up. However, I’m writing this now in late September and the Covid-19 situation is taking a turn for the worse in the UK. But nonetheless, I managed to have a lovely Spring despite lockdown, so I’m determined to have a lovely Autumn as well.
How was your summer? Did you manage to do some sort of summer-y activity?