Features: A United Kingdom Quarantine Experience

To say that my family loves to travel would be an understatement. I’m lucky to have parents from two different continents and trial citizenship, so it’s been easy and familiar to see many different parts of the world. When I was four years old, my family moved to the United Kingdom for two years. We came back when I went to first grade and stayed in Massachusetts for about five years. In 2015, my parents spontaneously decided that they wanted to go to France. We stayed in Nice for a year, taking advantage of European travel by visiting 16 different other countries. 

My dad was born and raised in England. Throughout my life, I have traveled there many times — both by myself and with my whole family — to visit my grandparents. However, it’s safe to say that I had never gone during the middle of a school year and a global pandemic; it was certainly different this time. In the midst of the pandemic, most airlines are very strict about maintaining six feet of social distance for travelers; there is at least one seat between travelers. Masks are also required for the entire trip. Since my whole journey took a little under 24 hours in total, with trains, cars, buses, and planes, I had to wear a mask for a pretty long time with few breaks. When I arrived in Cardiff, Wales — my final destination — my family had to quarantine for two weeks. 

For the first three weeks that I was in Cardiff, it wasn’t required to wear a mask in stores and most people weren’t very careful about social distancing — a stark contrast to the situation here in Massachusetts. Students had also never stopped going to school even in the spring, and many young adults attended parties frequently. However, cases were quickly rising after students came back home from vacation, and the city went into lockdown. 

Fortunately, I was able to attend school virtually from Cardiff. I started school at 1:30 in the afternoon, leaving my mornings free to do what I wanted. Most of the time, I just did homework and my cross country workout, but sometimes I was able to walk around the city and visit my little cousins. One is two years old and the other is only six months, so they’re still very cute. Because Montrose uses Canvas this year, attending school virtually from abroad was pretty much the same as attending school virtually at home. My schedule was a little backwards — I did homework and sports in the morning and school in the afternoon. I then worked virtually through Zoom some days from 9 to 11:30 PM. Although my days were pretty full, I still got to spend a lot of time with my family. We were able to go to Plymouth in South England for a couple days where my dad grew up and visit my great-grandmother as well as my dad’s cousins. 

My favorite thing by far in Cardiff is the food. About once a week, I would go to the grocery store and buy a Cadbury Milk Chocolate Bar. I’d try to save one row for each day, but I normally ended up eating the whole thing in a couple days. My little brother, on the other hand, would somehow manage to save his chocolate bar for two weeks. The fries — called chips in the UK– were also delicious. 

Although those six weeks were definitely chaotic and challenging, I was able to be with my family and visit the relatives I don’t get to see very often. Online Zoom can be frustrating, but if you stick with it and look for help when you need to, it’s possible to accomplish the same things you would be doing in-person.


Erica Brown ‘22, Co-Assistant Editor in Chief and Politics Editor