Why an isolated Christmas in Canberra because of COVID was the best for me | Canberra Times

coronavirus, christmas, isolated, covid, omicron

I was temporarily confused by the alarm at. It was not a work day and I could not remember having any weekend plans. But there was something urgent I had to do. In my disoriented state, I could not grasp it until it hurriedly hit me. I should have a COVID test. It was Christmas day. I was alone. I was one of the unfortunate Canberrans declared a close contact on Christmas Eve. Like many others who live here, I am not originally from the capital, and I was going on a plane at. 19.00 to Melbourne after work. The afternoon had gone from a casual one writing Christmas stories to chaotic phone calls informing family I had not seen since April that I would not be home for Christmas. After all the chaos and tears, and the fear that this would not only be my first Christmas without family, but my first alone, I woke up to a morning of calm silence. It was cloudy but already warm when I stepped out of my empty sharing house. The early rising birds were the only sound that accompanied my footsteps to the car. When I drove out to Garran’s test clinic, I was overwhelmed by Canberra’s beauty. How fast can it go from rugged bureaucratic buildings to the unpredictable mess of bushland. I’m one of those who came to ACT as a student when I had barely traveled beyond the inner north, so my drive into Garran surprised me with how green and beautiful the area around the test clinic was. The time was around 6.45. A proper queue had formed, it was already hot when the sky began to brighten, and the clinic did not open until 6 p.m. 7.30. I mingled to the end of the line, book in hand and music to escape from the reality that this was my Christmas day. A call from the family broke the spell. They wished me with tears a Merry Christmas and expressed how much they hated COVID. I will admit, until this time of the morning I had felt nothing. I have been branded as a Grinch on a few occasions in my years as a young adult. Get me started on a quarrel over the market capitalist roots of this day’s significance, and I’ll have a lot to say. I have always appreciated the time it gives me with the family, but it has never been a day of emotional significance for me. READ MORE: After the short call with my parents, I felt a lump in my throat, and for the first time looked up from my book and threw my eyes around those standing in line with me. We were the unfortunate herd that had been captured. It was us who had to isolate at Christmas. But the more I looked into my silent contemplation, the more humanity I saw. I saw an extremely muscular and heavily tattooed man insist that an elderly woman in a pink cardigan come to the front of the queue and guide her through the crowd. I saw parents with young children play games that kept their Christmas mood up. I saw people staring out into the room with tears in their eyes. I saw groups of friends with party shirts laughing and teasing each other. I saw tantrums, I saw hugs, I saw exhaustion, I saw compassion. What is Christmas all about? For someone who has had 90 of them, and for someone who gets their first bundle in their parents’ arms? I reached my second hour and the health professionals with their constant grace and dignity floated like clockwork in dealing with the needs of young and old. As I sat waiting for my name to be called inside the test clinic, I looked around at laminated prints of Christmas pictures and messages. Someone who was also tasked with being a front-line employee had still found the time to decorate the room with festivities. When I went back to my car at. 9.00, I realized that I had thought more about what this day meant in the two hours and 15 minutes than ever before. The giving and care and tenderness I witnessed during this pandemic had given me perspective and a genuine sense that it feels like Christmas. The rest of my day was full of reading, FaceTime calls, friends reaching out and avoiding social media. It was a time for reflection and grounding on a day when I was usually carried away by the hype, stress and pressure. When I sat down to write, a friend called me. They asked me to go to my doorstep. I was greeted by their socially distant smiles and a classic Australian Christmas dinner with shrimp, ham, vegetables and pavlova. All in all, a not too shabby Christmas for 2021. Our journalists are working hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the local community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:



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