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Watchet, Somerset, UK, 2nd May 2020 9:25

After 41 days, we can truly say that we have been quarantined. I have been away from the blog for 8 days. This was in part due to work and family commitments but I think that there is something else going on too. I have noticed a strange mood in me, slowly but relentlessly creeping in.

I have become habituated to this new and strange way of living. It’s been 41 days but it feels a lot longer than that. The memory of life is slowly drifting away from me. There is a word in German, the first language I spoke as a child, which somewhat describes this sensation: Rückkehrunruhe, translated as the feeling of returning home from an immersive trip only to find it fading away from awareness. We have definitely come home, away from our everyday immersive experience.

Then there is the state of the world. So much death, so much pain, so much angst, so many losses. Germans have a word to describe this feeling: Weltschmerz or “world sickness”.

I sit here, longing to go away to faraway places, to visit old friends and meet new ones. In German, this emotion is called Fernweh, a longing for travel. This feeling is stronger than Wanderlust which just describes the lust for travel rather than the longing. I think there is a difference between desiring something and missing it; the latter feels more intense to me.

I know that one day it will be ok to drive the van all the way down to Spain. In the meantime, I experience what people of Galicia, where I grew up, call morriña, a longing for the old country.

I sit here, in the Gemütlichkeit of my own home. This word refers to a feeling of cosiness, contentedness, comfort and relaxation. I don’t think it translates very well into English as none of those words truly encompass the feeling of being just Gemütlich, like a cat in front of the fire. I am very grateful that I am lucky enough to live in the first world, where I can ponder on the meaning of my own comfort. The majority of people on this planet don’t have that luxury.

I think this stillness and monotony is starting to get to me a little bit. I am noticing that I am experiencing another German emotion: Sehnsucht, which psychologists describe as: thoughts and feelings about all facets of life that are unfinished or imperfect, paired with a yearning for ideal alternative experiences. I notice as craving for excitement and adventure, for new emotions and experiences. I really could do with a walk down a windswept beach and allow the breeze to blow away the cobwebs in my soul.

But in the meantime, I have to make do with my immediate world. There are enough exciting things around me. It feels important to remind myself that there is a whole lot of hitherto undiscovered interesting stuff in my vicinity. The German word Sonder describes the profound feeling of realising that everyone, including strangers passed in the street, has a life as complex as one’s own, which they are constantly living despite one’s personal lack of awareness of it. I think I will be make a conscious effort to allow Sonder into my life. It might just cure me of my longing.

Good day all

OneLove OneHeart

This morning’s choice of music is by the mighty Nine Inch Nails: Every Day Is Exactly The Same

World-wide confirmed cases: 3,346,297

World-wide deaths: 238,826

World-wide recovered: 1,056,326

UK confirmed cases: 178,685

UK deaths: 27,583

UK recovered: 892


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