The week that was (11/2020)

This week my mood was ruined by:

Covid19. I know, I seem like a whingy child to be upset about my holiday being cancelled when people are dying, and all of Italy is in lockdown, I know. But I was really looking forward to that trip to India next month. We had been planning this three week trip since January and everything was booked. On Thursday morning we heard that India had stopped issuing visas. And then we found out our tour company had cancelled the tour. I know that if the worst that happens to me in the midst of a pandemic is my holiday trip gets cancelled then that’s a small injury in the overall scheme of things that could happen.

The tour company will offer us either our money back or credit for another trip. Most of the extra hotels we’d booked with free cancellation so we don’t lose there. The bigger potential losses come from the air tickets – London to Mumbai and two internal flights. I guess if India is not issuing visas, our airline may end up cancelling flights. We’ll have to wait and see on that one.

This week I was on tenterhooks because of:

Covid19. We’ve been under instructions all week to carry our laptops home with us every night in case the situation changes and there is a blanket work-from-home instruction. Carrying the laptop is a pain (literally, it’s quite heavy) but again, I can see the positive in this – I have work I can do from home. I’m not a nurse or a teacher or a cleaner; I don’t work in a shop or a theatre or a cafe; if there are wide ranging lockdown instructions issued, I can still work, I can still get paid. What about everyone else who doesn’t get paid if they don’t work?

The instruction finally came late on Thursday that we were going into two weeks of remote working from Monday 16th. Off the hooks for now but I’m not looking forward to being at home. I’m easily distracted, and I will miss chatting to my colleagues, not to mention the cheap healthy food in the cafeteria at lunchtime.

This week I felt positive about:

The Weather. After what feels like months and months of grey grim weather, we’ve finally had some warmer blue-sky weather. And the evenings are suddenly so much lighter – when did that happen? I even went to work with just two layers on instead of my usual three. And I didn’t need my hat or gloves!

My Garden. The tulips are coming into bloom. The wallflowers are starting to flower. The pear trees are swollen and about to burst into spring blossom. It’s spring, it’s spring, it’s finally spring!

This week I was embarrassed about:

My lack of language skills. I got a call from a French speaking colleague who works in a French speaking country. He was speaking to me in English but was in the room with a client who I’ve met before and together they wanted to sort out some reporting issues and wanted some feedback from me. When he told the client I was on the call, the client greeted me with “Eh, Bonjour Michelle, ça va?” Like anyone who has had basic French drilled into them I responded automatically, “Ça va bien merci. Et vous?”

“Oh, you speak French!” says the colleague, to which again, I reply “Un peu” (a little), which leads him to break into very fast, very technical French. I have to interrupt and say, “I’m sorry this is too fast and too technical for me,” forcing him to switch back to English, and sounding a bit grumpy about it.

I realise there is a big difference between people saying they speak “a little”. For me, it really is a little. I can do greetings, directions, understand numbers, order food in a restaurant. I cannot follow a technical banking discussion, especially over the phone. However if you speak to a German person and they say they speak “a little” English, they will then engage you in a discussion of philosophy, psychology and/or politics. Which “little” is right?

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