Ten things to do for ten days of isolation.

Greetings lovelies,

My name is Shahira, from the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a second-year Literature student, and I’ll be spending one semester in Surrey!

I’m not sure where and how to start, but I’m finally in the UK!! Upon arrival, all international travelers need to complete ten days of self-isolation, and I already survived that! Hence, in my first post on this blog, I would LOVE to share my tips and tricks on how to survive ten days of seclusion because was that really something, huh.

This is the second day after your arrival, and indeed, many things need to be settled. Clothes you brought from home need to be unpacked from the luggage, empty racks and cabinets need to be filled with books and many more kinds of stuff as you make yourself feel at home in your new place. This is what I’d suggest you do on the first day, settle in, and make yourself comfortable, and, if you can, make your new room as the one back home so you won’t feel homesick as much. Put up the pictures of your loved ones on the empty, giant board so you’ll be reminded of them and not feel alone in a new place.

Now your room is comfortable enough; we still have eight days to go. Now, this is the time for you to clear your ‘My List’ section on Netflix! Or, you can choose a new TV series to binge-watch, and the more episodes they have, the better! I decided to start watching Modern Family and currently already on my fourth season! Also, don’t forget to take your first Covid swab test!

Apart from binge-watching, living abroad alone means you need to take care of yourself, including cooking for your own meals. Honestly, I’m not a great cook, and the only meals I know how to make are scrambled eggs, pasta, and rice. But fret not! This is the moment where we all can learn how to cook! Open youtube and search for easy recipes such as fried rice or bolognese spaghetti! Here are some photos of my first attempt to cook egg-fried rice and carbonara spaghetti:

Let me just say, practice makes perfect; as long as it’s edible, it’s good to go 😉

Because I’m a Literature student, I have A LOT of reading to do. But, I’d suggest you pick one book, it can be any fiction or if you prefer non-fiction, choose one title and make it your goal to finish it during isolation. If you don’t bring any, worry not, there are A LOT of websites that sell books, new and used ones. Here’s a picture of my shelf, and I bought most of them here, after arriving in the UK.

A reminder: You cannot pick your parcel on your own as you’re in isolation, so please ask someone to come to collect them for you. Suppose you don’t know anyone (like me). In that case, Surrey offers support known as isolation buddy, where they’ll help you during your isolation period! They will check in with you to make sure you’re doing fine and help collect your parcel, medicine, groceries, and anything you need. All you have to do is fill in the form on the university’s support webpage, and they will ink you with one! I’m so thankful for my buddy, as she was really helpful! Shout out to Paris!

Now you’re five days in and halfway to go! Why not open a new book, or if you prefer to do it on your laptop, a blank word document and note your feelings and thoughts. It can be in any form, poetry, short stories, or even bullet-pointed notes. I usually typed them in my Notes app, and I find them very therapeutic, especially when I’m not ready to share them with anyone.

Yes, you read that right, cry. This is as; the sixth day was the day I felt homesick the most, for some reason. I would like to remind you that it’s okay to cry and let it all out as it’ll help. It can be lonely, living thousands of kilometers away from home, in a new place, where you’re not familiar with. However, your family and your friends are still with you someway! Lucky us, that technology has evolved, and we can call them and talk to them as usual. So, check in with your family and friends! Tell them everything about what’s happening. Even though it’s not the same physically, it does help with the homesickness to see familiar faces and listen to their voice.

I also did to fill my time when I start to plan the places that I want to visit. This is, of course, in line with the government’s plan and dates when the lockdown is lifted.

Yeap, one more swab- test. Fingers crossed it’ll turn out negative as the first one!

Sitting in your room can be tiring, even though there is nothing else to do. This is a reminder to do some stretch or yoga and let the blood flow through your body! There are a lot of youtube videos that demonstrate easy yoga steps to follow.

Today’s your last day! What are you waiting for?? GO CELEBRATE. jk. The day you’re free is the next day hence, you still can’t go out. But don’t worry; you can still celebrate it by pampering yourself! Go and take a really long shower with a body scrub and all. Don’t forget your facial mask to hydrate your skin and get enough sleep, so you glow the next day for your freedom!

I guess that’s all! I really hope this guide will help. If you need other help or inquiries, do contact the Surrey wellbeing team, and they will help you ASAP! And if you’re feeling sick during your isolation period, please inform the rapid response team for them to take further action. I guess that’s all from me; I will update more in the future, so I’ll see you in my next post!