The hardest part of the last two years has been the feeling of isolation and lack of regular routine. I’d love to be able to tell you that I have some groundbreaking way to find solace in these troubled times. The truth of the matter is that I’ve taken solace, like everyone else, in my friends and family. The times I get to spend with my husband and four-year-old son and with others whom I love and enjoy (even if remotely) has given me tremendous peace and an ability to soldier on. As incredible as it seems, I think we’ve also begun to normalize circumstances so they no longer feel as scary and overwhelming. Human beings are incredibly resilient and for that I am thankful.




As the enemy tide swept inexorably towards us, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole I found myself entering a strange and absurd universe. Nothing was as it seemed anymore.


In our darkest hour, two women stood steadfast, beacons of light.


One, an accomplished politician. The other, a career civil servant; slightly dishevelled, a deer caught in the headlights.


Each day a city stopped to hear their pronouncements; the tactical battles won and lost, the body count.


Resilient in the face of a press pack baying for blood, they would not be swayed from the science. Utterly authentic, their wise words a salve across political and generational divides in these troubled times.  




As 2020 came to an end, I understood that I would most likely be stuck indoors for another year, my camera and creativity collecting dust. I turned to two of my passions and combined them into one: food and photography.



My partner is an amazing cook and loves to decorate. So we started our own Instagram page — @flavorsunleashed — and slowly created a small following. We set up a makeshift studio in our living room and spent hours perfecting the lighting and angles. This little project has been a blessing during all the lockdowns by fueling our creativity and keeping us entertained.





The turning point in the pandemic was the vaccine—and once there was a vaccine, there was hope. Professor Uğur Şahin and Dr. Özlem Türeci are among the scientists instrumental in the development of mRNA vaccines. Both were the children of Turkish immigrants to Germany. I am proud of, and grateful for, our scientific community. I believe with every fiber of my being that immigration is good for society. Thinking more widely, I find it easier now to identify what is the right thing to do and to speak out over critical issues. This is also something that has given me solace in troubled times.




Podcasts are where I found my solaceall those conversations with all sorts of people, on demand (like everything these days). There was one for every mood: those times when I missed my friends and was in need of a girly chat; or I felt alone and wanted to know how to cope with that; or I just wanted to tap into some motivational interviews that would give me the impetus to get myself up and off the sofa! 




Nous avons cru à un répit pour notre planète, au retour de la nature dans nos villes, à la technologie comme palliatif à la déshumanisation, à la prise de conscience de l’aberration du monde tel que nous l’avons construit, à la solidarité. Mais le monde a repris son cours, sans trop se soucier de nos espérances et, comme un pied de nez à notre naïveté, l’augmentation des émissions des gaz à effet de serre a repris son cours mortifère, les inégalités sociales semblent s’être encore creusées et l’Occident continue d’ignorer la situation sanitaire des pays les plus pauvres, avec comme juste retour des choses un virus en perpétuelle mutation, dont les dommages à l’humanité sont à ce jour incalculables. Je ne sais pas si nous avons sérieusement cru que les choses allaient vraiment changer, mais nous l’avons au moins espéré.


En revanche, je sais que je n’ai pas eu personnellement à souffrir d’être contraint et confiné, bien au contraire: j’ai perçu le fait d’être entouré en permanence de mes proches comme un cadeau inestimable, un mirage, la création d’un mythe éminemment personnel dont j’espérais l’émergence depuis toujours et auquel je n’avais jamais cessé de croire. Je sais que cela n’a pas été le cas pour tout le monde évidemment, loin de là, beaucoup d’entre nous ayant eu à souffrir de l’isolement et de la solitude. Toutefois, si chacun a eu l’opportunité d’appréhender ce qui lui était le plus cher—que ce soit par sa jouissance ou sa privation—et de mieux se connaître, je veux croire que cela pourrait finalement déboucher sur la possibilité d’être individuellement plus heureux. Cet espoir mince et naïf, malgré la culpabilité et l’anxiété générées par notre monde actuel, me réconforte.




Over the weekend I ran across a poem that might give some solace or at least another perspective. It relates to the US experience during the Great Depression. The poet, an African-American, notices how now, after the stock market crash, many people are having hard times, and he reminds us that some people had plenty of hard times before.  




Some folks hollered hard times

in nineteen-twenty-nine.

In nineteen-twenty-eight

say I was way behind.


Some folks hollered hard times

because hard times were new.

Hard times is all I ever had,

why should I lie to you?


Some folks hollered hard times.

What is it all about?

Things were bad for me when

those hard times started out.



William Waring Cuney

‘Nineteen-twenty-nine’, Storefront Church, 1973, pub. Paul Breman Limited.