The Suite Life of Katie Askegaard: Sydney Quarantine Edition

G’day, mate!

Greetings from my humble abode at the Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney.  

I’ve been in a hotel room for 10 days with 4 more to go in my two week mandatory quarantine before I fly down to Tasmania to finally reunite with Jeremy #loveisnottourism. 

My life is anything but normal, and trust me, I’m just as mystified as you by my existence. 

Each year seems to be another wild ride, and I’ve given up trying to predict where I’ll be next. Rigorous planning and strict goal setting never seems to pan out, so I have taken a go with the flow approach to life by just sitting back and seeing where the river takes me. 

Sometimes it’s smooth sailing, but sometimes it feels like I’m navigating down white-water rapids infested with both alligators and great white sharks as my boat has a massive whole in the bottom and one of my paddles is gone. It’s just as stressful as it sounds.

After 6 months of one tumultuous journey, the water feels smooth again. Compared to the United States, Australia is more or less normal. The government’s rigorous entry and exit rules have successfully contained the spread; you don’t need to wear a mask, gyms are open, kids are at school, and groups can gather. While I can’t say I love being in quarantine, I know a normal world awaits me on the other end, so I’m more than happy to do my time.  

What does quarantine entail? What do I do all day every day? Has there been drama (skip to the end for this.. trust me it’s entertaining)? Have I completely lost my mind?!

Here’s the rundown of the odd life I’ve been living.

Here’s how I got here….

As soon as my flight landed in Sydney, myself along with 30 other passengers were shuffled through a health screening, immigration, and baggage claim before being put on a bus headed to some mystery hotel that we could call home for two weeks. I was prepared for the worst, but the entire process was shockingly smooth.  Get the full run down of my journey HERE.

Here’s how it works…..

No one is allowed in or out of my room. In fact, I don’t even have a key! This means no fresh air, no walks to the lobby, and absolutely no interaction with any other fellow quarantiners. There are no hotel parties and no game nights, and the only human interaction I’ve had was with the nice nurse who jammed a stick up both nostrils and down my throat for a Covid test on day 2.

I am in a complete bubble of isolation. 

To be released, I need to test negative for two Covid tests administered on day 2 and day 10. A nurse calls me every day to ask if I have any symptoms and to be sure I haven’t gone off the deep end, and if all goes according to plan, I will get a letter from the military confirming that I won’t infect Australia and will be set free on day  14. 

How do I eat?

At 8:30am, 12:30pm, and 6:30pm I hear shuffling in the hallway followed by knock with a mystery voice yelling, “food’s here!” I’ll admit that usually I’m already poised by the door because meal time is the highlight of the day. I look through the peephole waiting for the coast to be cleared, then I retrieve my brown paper bag that holds the goods. Luckily, the food has been great with meals like teriyaki glazed salmon, butter chicken, and barramundi (click HERE for my reviews). When I’m all done I leave my trash right back out in front of my door. 

Yes, I can order in food through food delivery apps and get groceries delivered, but I don’t…. I’m truly a frugal foodie. I brought a bag of protein as well as protein bars and oatmeal packets as extra snacks here and there, and it’s been more than enough sustenance. However,I did order cookies as a half way treat, and boy was that a treat!

And yes, I can also order alcohol. However, it’s limited to one bottle of wine a day, and I’m assuming there is a limit on spirits as well. For me, I know alcohol wouldn’t be great for my mental wellbeing while being stuck in a room by myself, plus, I’m too frugal.

Fun fact

Lunch comes with a question of the day, and it is usually some sort of riddle. You can email off your guess for a chance to win a prize! The hotel has done an amazing job at giving us fun little things to do to break up the monotony. 

What about the room?

After living in a shared dancer cabin on A deck for three contracts on cruise ships, anything is an upgrade. 

I have a big bed that I can easily starfish, a home office space with two fun swivel chairs, there’s a shower as well as a big bath tub, and there’s a mini fridge and a kettle. 

Quarantine Tip:

If you have a severe addiction to caffeine like me, then a French press and coffee are a must!

How do I survive?!?!?!?

Most mornings, I wake up in the 4am-5am range. I’d love to say this is due to jetlag, but truth be told, I am no stranger to being up well before the sun; the stress and anxiety of the past 6 months didn’t bode well for my sleeping patterns. I make my French press coffee and write up a to-do list with what I want to accomplish that day including big things like “complete 30 SEO tasks” as well as little wins I can check off like “shave legs” and “charcoal face mask”.

 I sip my coffee, watching the reflection of the sunrise in an adjacent building, pondering my existence and questioning the meaning of life.

Then I just get right to it. 

My first priority is my online job of making SEO friendly blog topics. I go into my portal and request an assignment, then I run keywords through a software to find ones with high search volume and low competition. Then, I write the keyword into a SEO title and meta description. It sounds much more impressive and complicated than it actually is, so don’t be fooled into thinking I’m a tech whiz. From this job, I’ve learned that mostly everything you read online is information designed purely to rank higher on google. Traffic first, meaningful content second. 

Week one, I managed to passs time by studying for my NASM personal trainer certification. I took the remote exam on August 30th and passed.  I know what you’re thinking… “oh my gosh there have not been enough fitness professionals providing information and classes during Covid-19!” So if  you need a trainer, I’m currently taking new clients 🙂

I pay visit to my home gym two times a day. I usually do one on my Dancer’s Who Lift workouts in the morning, then some sort of youtube follow along in the evening. I’m shocked and appalled by how heinous youtube work out videos with bogus info can get 1.5 million views… but I’ll save that rant for another time.

Throughout the day, I’ll sprinkle in random improv sessions and flurries of jumping jacks to keep myself moving, but the freedom to walk more than 12 steps in one direction is something I miss most. 

To fill up the rest of the time, I write, I do the New York Times crossword puzzle, and I look out the window awkwardly watching the inhabitants of the two apartment buildings across the road. I have created my backstories for them. One woman is a CFO of a major corporation, there’s a power couple that owns an interior design business, and there’s an artistic man who is working on his next installment. Don’t worry, I’m well aware of how weird that sounds. But instead of “creepy” and “stalkerish” I think it’s more so “imaginative” and “creative”. 

All of that takes me to 7pm when I get into bed and put on tv for 2 hours before going to sleep. 

To be honest, each day has been full, and time has been going by surprisingly fast. I don’t seem to have the capabilities to just sit around and watch Netflix, and I’ve managed to make good use of my time. 

The Drama!!!

The hotel has set up a facebook group for everyone in isolation. People will ask about where to order coffee, what’s for lunch, and how many bottles of wine are allowed to be delivered at a time. The hotel staff will also post fun little challenges and general check ins. 

But there has been a fair bit of drama that really spices up my days. I sit back and watch the conversations unfold. Some hot topics include getting cold eggs and broken thermostats, and here are three particularly entertaining kerfuffles I found amusing.

Drama 1: Smokers and How to Use Quarantine to Fight Addiction

Drama 2: Call the Lawyers!!!

The screenshots are a couple highlights from a full on debate. The way I see it is that the quarantine was no surprise, and sacrificing two weeks of personal freedom as oppose to 5 months of an economic shut down seems like a fair trade off.

Drama 3: The Proof that People Need Fresh Air….

Watching this one unfold was was a clear indicator that not all are handling quarantine too well….

Final Thoughts…

There is literally no where I can be, and this has been the stillest I have ever been. In normal life, I put an absurd amount of pressure on myself to always being doing something. I should be going to a dance class, seeing a friend, printing out a resume at Staples, trying out a new restaurant, writing my next blog post, so on and so forth.

 I equate being idle with slacking off and failure, and it’s not a healthy way to live. Forced stillness sounds like a prison sentence, but in fact, it has been good for me. The past 6 months did a number on both my mental and physical health, and this time has jumpstarted the healing process as I am starting to rekindle my zest for life.

With that being said, four more days to go…..

6 Comments Add yours

  1. please explain the SEO stuff to me i genuinely have no idea what to do there!

    by the way – masks are mandatory here in Victoria only a couple of hundred kms away! Enjoy (?) your last few days in iso!

    Like

    1. I only do the topic writing, and I’m not too sure how to actually incorporate it into a blog post! I suppose I should apply it to this bog, but it seems to take away from the fun haha.

      Like

  2. Lindsay says:

    Katie … do you think you will ever do a recap of your last few days in the hotel quarantine? Also, do you think that you could share what life is like in Australia right now? In the USA in some areas it certainly seems as if life has gone back to normal? I personally don’t enjoy wearing masks but I will do it where required!

    Like

    1. I would love to do a post about the end of my quarantine (as well as the self quarantine I had to do in Tasmania!) Thanks for the suggestion!

      Like

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