Saturday, 9 May 2020

An Unforeseen Blogging Comeback

You might have read my "final post" back in February, you know, the one where I said that I wouldn't post anything here again because I'd outgrown this blog... Well, I'm back! It's a bit like texting an ex-boyfriend in a moment of weakness, it feels somehow wrong and awkward but you do it anyway. One morning, I'm not quite sure why I changed my social media handles back to 'French Foodie in Dublin' and thought of writing here again. Mr FFID encouraged me to do so, so here I am.

Truth is, like most people in the hospitality industry, I've been out of work for almost two months. On Friday the 13th of March, I ran my last food tour. It felt unsafe to go around the city with tourists from all over the world, including from areas heavily affected by COVID-19, I knew I had to call it a day. This was just a few days before everything started to shut down. I had to self-isolate straight away after developing symptoms, mostly a persistent cough and some breathing difficulties. After being referred for a test, the criteria changed on my 11th day of symptoms so I never found out if I actually had the virus or not. I didn't leave my house for 16 days and was like a hamster in a cage trying to get a few steps done in my backyard (I'm very lucky to have one!). Whatever I had was mild and cleared up relatively quickly, being able to get out of the house to exercise has felt like a privilege ever since.

For the first few weeks, I cried a fair bit and woke up at night a few times filled with worries. My food tour business depends on restaurants being open and tourists coming to the country so as you can imagine I'm not in the best position right now to reopen anytime soon and I'm facing a lot of uncertainty. You can't exactly work from home when your occupation consists of being in close contact with tourists and bringing them to food businesses. The only "work from home" I do is processing cancellations and it isn't fun. I have a knot in my stomach each time I cancel a booking, especially when these bookings are for July or even September.

I try to keep my mind busy as much as I can, not letting anxiety creep in. My main ways of coping are cooking, baking, exercising, writing a journal, reading, listening to podcasts and music. There are lots of eating and drinking too but that's also the case in "normal times" anyway. Thankfully, Mr FFID is still working full-time and using my home office. I can hear him saying "Can you hear me?" about ten times a day when he's on a conference call. I bring him freshly baked goods to his desk multiple times a week, he's getting dangerously used to it. We both had our birthdays during the quarantine and while we weren't able to eat out we celebrated in style with some good food and drinks to make up for it, we'll remember those more than any other birthdays.

I haven't been to a supermarket in two months because I've been buying pretty much all our food and drinks online from small independent Irish companies. I've been living through my online orders and very often the deliveries have been the highlight of my days. Does it make me sound like a sad person? Each time Martin from DPD brings something I just want to hug him, he's my hero these days. The only shop I physically go to is Lilliput Stores to pick up essential bits and other delicious things; it involves walking only for ten minutes through the empty Stoneybatter streets. It saddens me so much to see so many closed businesses in the village, it feels surreal. I have to go to Centra from time to time, mainly for bin bags, toilet paper and cleaning products: not my favourite kind of shopping but I'm so grateful to the staff that keep smiling during these challenging times. 

Many small Irish companies had to adapt very quickly and find ways to keep their businesses going and the level of innovation from some of them has been truly amazing. The big supermarket chains will get through this but many small businesses won't survive and this is why it's essential to support them if we are fortunate enough to be in a position to do so. You can now order some of the best artisan products from the comfort of your home wherever you are in Ireland, which is definitely a positive thing that has come from this terrible situation.

I've had a few people telling me that they ordered food after seeing me posting about it on Instagram story which motivated me, even more, to make a blogging comeback. From now on, I'll be mainly writing about online orders the same way I used to share my café and restaurant recommendations. I just want to be helpful somehow and give shout outs to small food businesses, while also having a creative outlet that keeps me occupied. These articles aren't sponsored or remunerated in any way. I'll see how I get on and might post some other kind of content, you never know.

The blog has always been about eating out, but now it's gonna be about eating in. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for reading!

Stay home, stay safe x