Efe and Ege: What social isolation has taught us

We, Efe (on the left) and Ege (on the right), enjoyed playing with online reality. Photo from a personal archive

Fellow readers of the UT Blog, 

Before we begin, let us ask about you: How is everything going? Hope you’re all doing great! If you’d ask about us, then we’re really good – probably due to enjoying the beautiful weather of spring again! 🙂 It’s already been more than a week since the “emergency situation” has been eased, starting from 18 May, and one can easily spot the differences between these two weeks, right?

It is marvelous to see people back in the streets, and life becoming more normal, day by day. For us, one big indicator was to see people parking their cars (and some getting fined) in the huge parking lot that we see from our window – it had been nearly empty for 2 months! We are sure that you also got to experience many changes, on a larger or smaller scale, but something like this in your lives too! 

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” This quote was made by the famous Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, known as the first existentialist philosopher in history. We’re sure that everyone who’s reading us from anywhere in the world has learned something new from this hard time. Yes, was it the best way to learn to properly maintain hand hygiene, or to keep ourselves isolated if we ever felt a little sick? Absolutely not. Hundred thousands of lives were lost, leaving three to four times more people in grief and billions of them worried. 

First of all, during this time, we had all the foundations to start a journey “inside.” How so? We had enough time to enjoy our favourite things: like watching the films that we always wanted to but couldn’t spare time for (such as watching the mother of musicals – “Grease”!), returning to books we’ve read (Agatha Christie’s novels, which are usually shorter than a few breaths), and we tried cooking the dishes we always liked but never cooked (Efe learned how to bake a pie, and now it’s in our weekly routine!). 

In our previous life-rush, we underestimated how important our favourite things were to our well-being and didn’t spend time on them at all. Now, with this period, this internal journey allowed us to experience what we really like and dislike – in general, about life.

For example, we really like to be surrounded by our friends and family, and dislike being not able to visit them or spending too much time on unnecessary annoyances. Those days made us question the position we’re holding in our lives, our expectations of our future steps, our values that shape us to become a better person… and many more to count. 

So, did we manage to stay fit? Well, this question has multiple answers: physically, maybe, but mentally – definitely. We did our very best not to lose the endurance and strength we’d built before with home workouts, jogging, and beach volleyball; but it’s not certain if we really managed to do so.

However, speaking of mental fitness, we really learned what is challenging to us, and now know how to cope with the challenges even when we’re at home. We once again saw how important the support of our family and friends is when we’re in our lowest spirits.

On the other hand, we enjoyed portraying ourselves literally anywhere we could by changing the background of video chats! It wouldn’t be that easy to teleport within a second from a peaceful beach on the Mediterranean to Michael Scott’s office in Scranton in real life without all this technology! Thank you Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and all the other programs that kept us connected to the real world, and at the same time dissociating from it! 

Considering our future plans, now we’ll let nature take its course, like it did when this virus spread all over the world. Of course, we have wishes and goals to conquer this year, but we’re not sure if they’ll be applicable in these circumstances. No matter whether everything is resolved soon or a second wave hits, we will never stop dreaming and walking towards what we aim for in life. In the short-term, these plans include a mind-clearing vacation after completing all our e-responsibilities, no matter where or how it is! 

However, this end of the “emergency situation” shouldn’t mean that everything’s resolved and the COVID pandemic is over – the days with no restrictions and travel bans are sadly not that near! So, enjoy the beautiful upcoming Estonian summer, comply with the restrictions such as keeping the distance (2+2) and proper hygiene measures, but, most importantly: Festina lente (Make haste slowly!). 

Take great care, all! 

Efe and Ege Ergür are second-year medical students at the University of Tartu. They are twins, and they come from Turkey. At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, Ege and Efe wrote two posts on our blog: Student diary: Deciding about “going back” and getting reliable information on COVID-19 and Student diary: Planning for school and food preparation.

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