There was a silence that filled the room and for the longest time, I kept wondering what had changed. Everything looked normal. Slowly it dawned on me that for the first time in the longest of time, I was finally debt free. Four years of scrimping, and saving. Avoiding going out, no holidays, buying second hand clothes, not getting my hair cut, letting my van run permanently on empty. Everything that I could do that would pay my debt off in fours years I did. Finally I could look forward to a year, where I could take my children on holiday. I planned to go to Australia where I had been asked to sing. On my way I was going to go to Singapore and see my first Dutch friend whom I had met in Vietnam many years ago. On the way back from Australia, I was going to pass through Canada, and say hello one last time to Gina & Brian. I was so excited about my future life. Finally I could look to owning a house. Leaving something solid for my children after all the troubles we had been through. For a couple of months I lived the dream.
As Corona slowly went viral around the world, I watched my work dry up. On top of this, due to a simple misunderstanding, my daughter decided that she would be better living with her father. I was devastated. I spent two weeks of floods of tears and hiding in my bed. It felt like grief.
Slowly the tears stopped, and I realised that I was one of the lucky ones. The virus had started to create major changes in our society and the governments were starting to insist on curfews and self isolation. As a self employed person, I was used to working from home and enduring hours if not days of not speaking to anyone, especially if I was in the middle of creating something.
One afternoon, I notice that I was feeling extremely lonely and I needed a hug. Yet with all the rules of social distancing, it was becoming increasingly difficult to actually talk to any one, never mind actually hug someone. With the realisation that in order to get a hug you need to give a hug, I decided to come up with a way of trying to connect to my friends without resorting to wearing full PPT.
While clearing out my dry store, I discovered that I had more tea than I could ever drink in ten life times. I was also an avid collector of postcards that are given away as promotional material. Then I had an idea.
The internet had begun to be flooded with apps such as Zoom, and Microsoft teams to encourage people to connect and to be able to carry on as business as usual. I decided to attach the tea bag to the post card and send them to my friends with an invitation to meet me on line for a cup of tea. I must have sent out about 50 postcards.
To be honest, most of my friends are not computer savvy and most struggle to switch on the computer never mind try and have an online cup of tea. So I was not really expecting there to be much of a response to my request.
I was flabbergasted at the response to my simple gesture. It would seem that I was not the only one feeling lonely. It lead to my friends putting in requests to send cards and teas to their friends.
A chance visit from my friend Marielle, lead to her asking why I did not send my brownies through the post along with coffee as well as tea. Years ago I had seriously thought about doing this, but could not find the right packaging for what I wanted, so had given up. The following day, I went to my wholesalers for supplies, and was delighted to find newly arrived exactly the sort of baking form I had been looking for. It was almost freaky.