Silver linings

Thing 1 in a black face mask is on the left. I am on teh right with a white and peach flowery face mask and a bright orange top. Thing 2 is between us with her arms over our shoulders. She is also wearing a bright orange top and has a pink face mask on. Our hair is blowing in the wind and the sky is bright blue

This photo wasn’t this from this weekend. 

It wasn’t even from last weekend! 

But it was the last time we really got out and did anything adventurous due to the restrictions here. Those restrictions are now being progressively limited but I keep forgetting we can get out and do stuff!

Throughout most of COVID, although we have relative freedom on the island we have been marooned, unable to leave. Living here through the pandemic has forced us to look for our own adventures and to seek experiences in on our (rather unfamiliar) doorstep. With my family and on my own I’ve done things here in Singapore I’d never have done in “normal times”, because we’d have been off travelling at every given opportunity!

It’s not the discovery of places that has changed, it’s the discovery of people. I’ve had to look outside my own little sphere to find people I didn’t even realise I needed. I’ve networked with fellow travellers, made amazing friends who I’ve never met in real life, found a freelance job, written my heart out, made connections with other writers, taken classes, attended conferences and presentations… the list goes on! 

It is easy, to feel pretty bitter about how things have turned out for the past year and a half. And don’t get me wrong, I will be forever sad to have missed out on the first year of my nephews life and I’m sad to have missed our other nephew and niece growing bigger. I’m sad to have missed out on the last 1.5 years of everyone’s lives… in person. I’m sad to have missed other milestones and to have missed hugging the most important people in my life.

I miss travel more than I can ever put into words. 


COVID has forced everyone’s hands and there are so many silver linings for me.

Before COVID I’d never have made those classes, conferences and workshops I joined because they wouldn’t have been online. It’s hard to imagine that I just wouldn’t know all these amazing people going about their daily lives.They’d be someone else’s friends but, because of the pandemic, they’re also mine. Exploring the furthest corners of Singapore with my family and my new friends would have been sacrificed for more exciting travels abroad (or home). I’ve been travelling more slowly and more deeply. I’ve got to know the 50km wide island that we live on in ways I wouldn’t have bothered to before.

Regular catch ups with our nephew probably wouldn’t have happened before COVID. Seeing my uni besties for everyone’s birthdays wouldn’t have been a thing. Keeping up to date with other friends would probably have been limited to WhatsApp messages and one dinner a year. They say the sign of good friendships and relationships is that it doesn’t matter how long it has been but that’s a sorry excuse for neglecting to stay in touch which we were all guilty of before.

We might have been stranded and miles apart for the last 18 months, but there have been times when I have never felt more connected.

Above all else, my family and friends here and there are healthy and safe. And there is (finally) so much to be hopeful for. 

There’s lots to be sorry for over the past year and a half but today I’m remembering how lucky I am. 

Emma Morrell
Emma Morrell

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