Post-lockdown activities I’ve been enjoying
by Sara Visan
Much of the experience of being a student is, in fact, not about studying at all. The clichés of “these are the best years of your life” and “the friendships you forge now will last forever” are clichés for a reason: they’re mostly true. Now that the world has opened up and things are finally calming down, more places can be explored, and more activities can be scheduled.
Spending time outdoors
The good weather also helps: now that the temperature has risen, the Williamson Park transforms into a great spot for outdoor picnics. It’s a great way to spend time in nature, while also surrounded with your course mates or housemates, snacking and chatting. Because I was away from home during the Orthodox Easter that my family celebrates, I instead got my friend to accompany me for a picnic during that Sunday, and together we drew on boiled eggs, to improvise the usual traditional painting of my home country. We ended up using markers instead of paint, but the overall result was surprisingly better than I expected (though my skills remain limited).
When it comes to places to eat out, my favourite remains The Herbarium. I am vegetarian, and by far the best selection for vegetarians and vegans alike is this restaurant. Their vegan pancakes are to die for, and if you want to focus on your studies in a great space, then this is the choice for you: their décor is especially calming. And if you are in the city centre anyway – then I might as well recommend going second-hand shopping. I am a book fanatic, so my main interest is in finding cheap copies of some books I want, and actually I’ve been quite successful so far. I’ve gotten six books this way, and I will pop in at least one charity shop every single time I am in the area. There’s nothing like being surrounded by books, and it’s a feeling I deeply missed during the lockdown hours. I am lucky enough that friends are patient with me, and that they meet my new acquisitions with just a resigned sigh.
Growing my plant collection
But buying things second-hand – or swapping them around with house mates and friends is actually really beneficial for the environment, and a practice I’ve been really strongly into for years (it’s also useful for students in general if you’re looking to save up!) Actually, I got my new plant pot like this, and one sunny day, I spent a couple of hours repotting my one surviving plant. I’ve allowed three basil plants to die so far. I’m an overbearing plant mom, and I need a lot more practice, but one flower has managed to survive. I also added a new cactus to my very small, tentative collection. I love greenery and I’d love to become someone who knows how to treat my plants properly, as they make great living companions during lonely lockdown hours.
May stands out in my memory ever since I was a child for one particular reason: Eurovision. I love this song contest, I love the conversation that goes on around it, especially the Twitter discourse, and this year, as usual, I attempted to get all my friends into it. My favourite entry has been Ukraine, but the heartthrob rock band that represented Italy (and, spoiler alert, eventually won!) has been one of my favourites as well. When I’m on call with a couple of my friends, we all listen to their songs, singing along to the English lyrics – because suddenly the entire continent became a fan after their performance.
Visiting the coast
Back in Romania, I live very far away from the sea, so Lancaster is exciting to me in that regard. The sea at Morecambe is just a bus ride away. Or, if you are like me and love walking and don’t mind the hours or the ensuing leg pain, you can walk all the way there (the scenery is very Ghibli movie-esque). It’s worth it in the end, I’d say: the trip is short, but the scenery is great. I feel like here I became more nature-prone: the city is not that big, but the parks are large, so my life schedule has changed to fit around nature more than around city life. Of course, things depend on everyone’s level of comfort and interests as well, but hopefully at least some of you got a new idea for your weekend activities!
Sara is studying MA Gender and Women's Studies at Lancaster University.
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