I was back from Erasmus (You can click here if you are curious about my Erasmus experience) on 23rd of April with a special flight from Vienna to Ankara (Because of the pandemic, there were not many flights.). When I decided to come back, I knew barely what will be waiting for me.
Because of the increasing number of new cases governments took some measurements. In my case, I had to be in quarantine for 14 days in a place (dormitory) where government set up for the ones who came from abroad. However we did not know the dormitory or the city we were going to when we get on the plane. Finally, we learnt it when our plane landed in Sivas! The journey was over but the hard part was now to begin!
Everyone was placed in separate rooms and we were not even allowed to go to the corridor. I met Suna who was placed to my opposite room in Vienna and we talked along the way (which lasted almost 24 hours). We felt even closer than some of our old friends probably because we shared a lot! This journey was not a usual one. We were so emotional for 3 reasons: First, we had to leave Bratislava in such a sad way. Second, we had to be in quarantine alone for 14 days. Last but not least, pandemic has become a disaster all over the world. When we were place in our rooms, we were still connected online, texting each other about the problems in the dormitory.
They gave us 3 meals a day. I must add that it felt weird to take your meal in pockets left in front of the door and we have internet connection, and all we have was that! Let me show you the scene of my room:
So, how did 14 days last in my case?
- I had some online homework and exams to prepare. Keeping myself busy was a coping method for me in almost all of my life. When I go with the flow, I don’t even realize how time goes.
- I had internet so there were a lot of movies, series and videos to watch. I watched a lot of tv series, A LOT.
- I had friends and family even if they were not physically around me. The most important part I wanted to mention is social connections. We, as human beings need others. We cannot live without others. When I was in quarantine my friends and family called me almost every day. I spent a lot of time in video calls more than ever! I must admit that coffee time with my neighbors helped a lot too. We met Cansu in the dormitory whose room was in the same corridor. Cansu, Suna and me was opening our doors and drinking coffee without going to corridor. I realized that how real connection was important for us. Video calls were not enough!
- I worked out! I had time and place, so why not? It helped me feel physically and mentally better.
It has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I have to confess that at first, I was scared to be all alone for 14 days. Luckily, I was not alone at all. Internet makes it easier to cope with loneliness with giving the feeling of socializing. However, I was more satisfied with the coffee time with my neighbors than the video calls with my besties. Here the question comes: “Are there real connections online?”. In my view, real connections (face-to-face connections) are the best version of socialization, but we cannot do it all the time because of distances -especially in the time of pandemic-. When face-to-face connection is not possible video calls substitute this communication. Even that may not be possible in some cases and text messages help. Probably most of us agree that there are not enough emotions and communication in text messages. But the bottom line is that we need to socialize, communicate and connect. We should choose the best available option and keep our mind healthy with being in touch with others. Quarantine may be difficult, but technology makes it easier. We are lucky to not to be in quarantine in a time which technology is not that developed.