Lauren in Padua: catching coronavirus and celebrating Christmas abroad
Lauren, Dialexy Terminologist, decided to pack up her bags and move to Italy earlier in the year to study a master’s degree. We have been following Lauren’s adventures in Padua since then and so far we have heard about how Lauren adapted to studying online and how she found a flat and enrolled at university. This week the journey takes an unexpected turn as Lauren tells us her experience catching coronavirus and not being able to travel back home for Christmas.
Lauren, we are so glad to hear you have recovered from coronavirus! Can you tell us how it happened and what you have gone through?
I was a bit overwhelmed with university work then I started to feel like I had a cold and a bit run down. This wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for me as I tend to do too much and don't take time to relax. My taste then disappeared for a couple of days so I called the local coronavirus helpline and they advised me to call a doctor and get a prescription for a test. In general I had very mild symptoms such as a sore head and feeling a bit tired but this won't stop me from being careful!
How did you find it booking a test?
It was a bit of a nightmare but fortunately speaking Italian made a massive difference. It involved a lot of waiting in phone queues to book a test as well as calling for results. I had to call the out of hours doctor for a prescription and then I had to go to a local stadium where I had to queue for 2 hours to get a rapid test. This then came back positive so I had to get the normal test and wait for the results a few days later. I ended up hanging about for four hours in total, so quite a long time!
Some of my friends had other experiences, I had a friend who got a test without a doctor's prescription and another friend who had a doctor come to their house! I wasn't offered any of these options, the whole procedure was a bit confusing with different advice being given by health professionals.
How did you find the quarantine?
At first I was feeling a bit down to be back in the house but after a couple of days I changed my mindset and took it as a chance to have a bit of a break, reorganise my time and find a new hobby. The weather was really nice so I was able to study on the balcony. I have university and work online so I was kept busy doing that. I was also doing training online to volunteer with the Red Cross here in Italy and brushing up on my first aid vocabulary in Italian!
Your life seems hectic Lauren, did you have any down time at all during your quarantine?
Yes, I was able to have some down time too. It was nice to be with my flatmate and get to know her better. She is very musical so she taught me how to play the keyboard a bit and also have been helping her with her English pronunciation when she records songs. I was also able to join my Irish dance classes in Edinburgh as they are online so it was nice to still be able to do that and keep in touch with friends from afar. I really can't complain at all as it was a very productive quarantine!
Obviously we’re now in the run up to Christmas, are you planning to go home?
When I came here, I knew going home for Christmas might not be a possibility. I have spent a lot of time abroad in the past, including two Christmases so i’m okay with it. If I went home I would have to quarantine for two weeks on arrival and potentially when I came back here, which is a long time especially after having recently spent 3 weeks indoors. I definitely wouldn’t want to put any of my friends or family in danger so I have decided to just stay here. I think it's really important to accept that this Christmas isn't going to be the same this year and if there is a quarantine in place, it is because it’s not safe to travel.
Italy for Christmas! How are you going to spend it?
I am going to be spending Christmas with the family I stayed with when I did my workaway which I'm really happy about! It will be nice to experience a proper Italian Christmas. On Christmas Day we are going to eat lasagna together and play board games. It will be weird to not have any turkey, but when in Italy! I would also like to do some volunteering with the Red Cross and start studying for my exams in January. I’m not sure it will be that relaxing but I like to keep on the go, especially with being away from home. There are many people on my course at university who also cannot go home, so I definitely won’t be alone.
What can we expect from Lauren in Padua in the new year? Do you have any new year's resolutions in mind?
I am currently in the process of applying for temporary residency because of Brexit so I will be able to tell you all about that in the new year! I’ve made it a birthday tradition to go skiing so hopefully I can manage to make the trip to the Dolomites since ski resorts open just in time for my birthday next month. As for resolutions, I’m going to try to manage my university work a bit better so I don’t feel like I’m constantly chasing my tail!
If you have enjoyed following Lauren’s moving abroad journey so far be sure to check back in the new year to hear all about Lauren’s experience with applying for temporary residency and more! Happy Christmas everyone and stay safe!
We may not have Emily in Paris but we do have Lauren in Padua! Buon Natale!