A year ago today (Friday 27th March 2020) I received an email from my organisation saying that they strongly recommend that those of us in Indonesia leave. And if we do intend to leave, we needed to do it now.

This was coming from the crisis management team, who had been watching the developing covid situation in SEA.

My first response was a desire to just blank it out. I couldn’t go with that option, but I did give myself a moment. Our team had been doing our own risk assessments from mid February, and had all our contingencies mapped out. It did include an ‘if we have to leave’ option, but we hadn’t imagined we would actually need to put it into motion.

Approx 48hrs later, I’d found a creative use for all the lovely fresh juice I had just bought from the local seller on the Thursday, called my brother to say you may have to pick me up at the airport, been to the hospital to get a ‘just in case’ health certificate to say I was approved to travel, been freshly disinfected as I made it through airport security, and was having a coffee moment before boarding my first of two flights. -I invite you to ponder that the spaces breaks in this paragraph represent some things left unsaid.

So much has happened in this last year. Globally, locally, and personally, there has been so much uncertainty, deep pain and loss, and more. Some of which some of us may not fully process till another year’s time. When hopefully, this ever changing and somewhat ever elusive, new normal is actually the norm.

Some of the ways I have navigated this past year has been to try and be present in whatever the current circumstance; finding the joy in the small things; dance/praise breaks; Sunday coffee & croissants with my brother while we attend virtual church; baking scones with my nephew; reading Black Girl power magazines with my niece; doorstep hellos with my Parents; eating out (when allowed) with my tribe; watching series like This is Us, where if I cry I can pretend it is about the show; choosing hope; lockdown exercise that ends at a coffee shop; being thankful for the blessings I have received, as there have been some notable ones, and a few more things.

I also accepted that so many things were outside and beyond my control. As such, there would be points in time, where all I’d be able to do was make the best decision that I could, based on the best information I had to hand at the time, and where I felt the most peace.

Setting certain markers or natural points in time helped with this. E.g. the end of 2020, when I was due to make another rental payment on my home in Indonesia. It was a natural point to review my current and the global situation. See what, if anything, had changed and what, if any, potential there was for a return.

On Tuesday (23rd) a moment of reflection was held in the UK to mark a year since the first lockdown. This post today is a way of me marking and reflecting on my own personal year. It may be something that is useful for you to consider doing too.