Wednesday, 9 September 2020

What I did during the Coronavirus Pandemic

The move to New Zealand

On March 23rd I decided that there was too much uncertainty around how long London would be in lockdown, so I booked myself a flight to New Zealand to stay with family.

A few days later I was in Balclutha in time to hear the town's civil defence siren sound half an hour before the start of New Zealand's level four lockdown.

Due to the remote possibility of being a carrier of the virus, I had to self-isolate for two weeks from the day that I arrived.  This meant that I could not go to the supermarket (the only retail business still open).  I was still permitted to go outside and walk around, keeping my distance from anyone else who happened to be out and about at the same time.

Work

At the time that I left London my team had already started to work remotely, so I was able to continue to contribute to the software development effort from my laptop - just in a different timezone.

Online only job interviews

Participating in the job interview process is strange enough when meeting face to face in a meeting room in the office, but we had to adapt to try to achieve the same level of confidence with a candidate being met exclusively online.  The challenge that we didn't really solve was finding a suitable mechanism for having the applicant draw an architecture diagram for a hypothetical new system.

Staying connected

For my circle of friends back in London I found myself making new connections on Facebook with people who I would semi-regularly meet up with in the local pub.

My pub quiz team WhatsApp group also kept me informed of changes in my London neighbourhood, though I eventually found myself sending them pics and videos that I had received - such as how a local pub was temporarily converting itself into a delicatessen.

Post lockdown socialising

By the 21st of May New Zealand had gradually moved to a lower level of Covid-19 restrictions.  More shops could open, and caf├ęs, restaurants and bars could operate with social distancing restrictions for customers, known as the three S's: seated, separated, and with a single server.

I didn't expect many businesses would open under the restrictions, as their overheads could be higher than before and the likely turnover could be expected to be much lower.

On one of my daily walks I came to realise that the pub closest to my side of the town was opening, so I decided to try it out for some food, beverages, and people watching - I hadn't really spoken to anyone beyond my immediate family for well over a month by that stage.



 

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