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  • Writer's pictureAisling Salisbury

My Trip to Australia - Quarantine Day Five #noRona

Day 5 (technically 4) - Wednesday, June 2nd 2021

Been totally lazy as f*ck and combine it with the food which, to its credit, is amazing it dawns on me that I better start doing some form of physical activity. So I pull out the Yoga mat and set my iPad to a programme for my remaining days in prison.

First Post-Workout Selfies in Quarantine.

As noticed in Sydney airport and reminded occasionally with my food, in the form of, I guess Hotel Quarantine Junk Mail, you can hire Gym equipment for your room. As for me, I can survive with my Yoga mat. With my hour session of Yoga complete and feeling all cool, calm and collected, I turn on the daily Victorian Presser. I know . . . probably not wise when you feel amazing. But perhaps that's a form of Ying and Yang.

Today it was expected that the Victorian lockdown would be extended. Despite preparing for it, the news of the extension doesn't help. I am beyond furious as the data suggested the State had it under control and isolated. But if we have learnt anything from Victoria, it's that they love the power they hold over people. The proof was when in the same sentence Comrade Deputy General Secretary (also known as Acting Premier) Merlino announces that the lockdown will be extended by another week but talks up the easing of the 5km restriction and that it will now be 10kms as if that makes any difference but you should be overjoyed by it.

It seriously was announced as if he was expecting a round of applause because now you could go an extra 5kms from your house. As if that means your daily life was now going to be a little easier and you should be thankful for this privilege. But the real dagger to my heart was when it was announced that Melburnians won't be permitted to travel to Regional Centres over the Queen's Birthday weekend. If they already had that restriction planned then the lockdown/restrictions would not be ending at the end of next week. Therefore, what else do they have planned?

It said to me the game is up, there's no point in going to Melbourne anymore. Won't get to go to a footy game (where I would've seen so many of my friends in one hit), wouldn't be able to see friends in other social circles because the ability for a social circle is likely to be culled. Even right now if I was in Melbourne I would have to choose between my partner or my parents. I couldn't technically see both. As this presser was going on the daily "are you alive call?" comes in.

When the question about my mental health comes up I reply:

"It's taken a massive beating right now."

With Victoria continuing to lockdown it means this return to Australia is in vain. I do lose it with the nurse when she says:

"Oh you were here for a holiday".

I'm sorry but there's nothing "holiday" about this. You want to talk about Mental Health, this was about seeing my loved ones for the first time in a year. A basic Human Right that has been taken from me because of Government bureaucrats who think they are saving lives and don't give a damn about the damage being done. I also add, that if I was going to have a holiday then I would've gone to DisneyWorld instead. That's a holiday! Not, two weeks in Quarantine for only four to five days to see people you haven't seen for a year, some since 2019. Now that appears to be completely off the tables. So to have that snatched away is devastating, period!

I ask if I could get an exemption to leave the quarantine early and just fly back to the United States. She gives me a number to call and says that it should be possible because I'm not leaving to go into the community but to leave the country. It would be a first for the programme apparently but should be doable she adds.

I also figure that the jig is up. I call my boyfriend and talk with him. He obviously was devastated by the extension of the lockdown but a further kick in the guys for him was to discover that I was in Sydney. The closes we had been together, distance-wise, in nearly a year. I had gone to all this trouble to get home to basically have it snatched away. I had gambled and lost. The option of him coming to NSW so we could be together next weekend was also lost. Because NSW demands a 14 day self-isolation period for Victorians. The option for him to drive to regional Victoria was also closed, so I couldn't even fly to Albury and we could've had a long weekend together under some form of normalcy. Believe me, we had a long chat. Afterwards, I called my parents and the conversations were pretty similar. The game was up, if I can leave and go back to the US where I'd be free again and could even do some overtime at work to recoup the losses then that was the most logical step.

I call the Exemptions line and get told that it should be doable and they have accepted the application. Looks like my time on Australian soil is going to be severely cut short. But hey at least I'll be back in freedom and no longer taking up space in the Quarantine programme. But what a shit day! Good on you Victoria.

But a bit of humour was when I was speaking with my mum and she goes "I better start cooking dinner, it's nearly 3:30" to which I reply "ah yeah I know, we're in the same timezone." On that note, here are today's meals.

Later that night I receive a text from my Dad and needless to say it really tugged at the heartstrings.

This is what lockdowns do, it keeps loved ones apart.

Time to pack in case I'm US-bound by Saturday.

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