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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Dione

Goodbye Serotonin

Updated: Mar 10, 2022


This morning I awoke a lot later. The curtains were closed the room was dark and when Ben opened the curtains he felt a sense of achievement akin to magical power. Yesterday, on our walk he had said that the far side of the carpark had smelt like rain. This made for a rewarding sight in front of him upon opening the curtains; rain and a puddle covered carpark. Impressive if you ask me. I didn’t roll out of bed until 07:20 today, ‘roll’ being the operative word due to the muscle soreness kicking in.

The lower light and dreary day has my mood a little lower than usual. The mountains are barley visible and the everyday routine is now well practiced with little excitement or anticipation left. We know the food is good, we know when we will be swabbed, we have looked at every square inch of the view and the four walls in which we are confined.

My mood wasn’t lifted by the need to do admin work when we first woke. The freight boxes with the rest of our belongings are being shipped in 12 hours and we need to make a itemised list with worth, quantity, material (and get this)... gender? What gender is a mug? I understand for clothing, like a woman’s coat or mens trousers, but I am pretty confident that Tupperware doesn’t have a gender. After an hour of listing items, breakfast arrived. Not my favourite, but good quality all the same. The distraction of the food made me 20 minutes late to a family zoom call but once I joined I really enjoyed seeing everyone and catching up.

Yesterday I neglected to tell you something as I thought it was unimportant and mundane. As you know, we have been waiting on a food order for 3 days now. However, after the excitement of the four bags (two meals and two snack bags), there was a second knock at the door and an order of food for "Caitlin". We said they had the wrong room and went back to eating our lunch. Five minutes later and the phone rings. They have an order for us and it definitely for room 411. We once again turned the order down as the contents was not ours and neither was the name. As much as we wanted to accept, (there was lemonade in the bag), it did not belong to us.

Just now, Mark (Bens boss) called to check in. His first question? Have you received a delivery? IT WAS FOR US! ARGH!! The frustration is real! It turns out they had got all of the info correct but the hotel was reading out the name of the orderer wrong. Now, I am awaiting a customer care team rep to chat to me online in the hopes we can get the package back. I just can’t stop thinking about how close we were to lemonade being ours. Quarantine does funny things to your priorities.

Two Mums, a Tree and a Puddle

People watching is a great time killer for isolation. It’s interesting to see how different people make the most of a space. Right now I am looking out at two mums and their baby, the cutest little ball of chilled-out-dude ever. They were on both of our flights and that baby just hung out on his baby carrier watchin’ the world go by. I saw him laugh, giggle, chill out and be mesmerised throughout the journey but didn’t once hear him cry. I’m sure he did but they were sat in either business or 1st class so out of ear shot for me. Now, I am watching the family of three under a no-idea-what-it’s-called tree. One mum is bouncing the little dude up and down, shifting her hips left to right in a rhythmic and fun bounce. The other mummy, is making the most of the entertainment facilities available to her. I can’t see his little face from this distance but I’m sure his gums are giggling away as his mummy stomps in the puddles and the water flys high. I can’t imagine doing this quarantine with a six month old, although it’s probably easier than doing it with a four year old.

One of the things I did see on my walk yesterday evening is that some people came prepared, and thus, here is my…

First quarantine tip:

Pack string. Drying our washing on a towel on the bed is taking for-ev-er! Some people have obviously done this before or seen some online hack. They have packed washing line or strong string which they have tied from one end of the curtain rail to the other. Here, there washing can hang in the sunshine and have the benefit of gravity and the small amount of airflow available in the room. My pjs have been wet for over 24 hours now and the shorts aren’t even half way there. So I suppose that’s my…

Second quarantine tip:

Pack lots of light lounge and active wear. Who knows when you’ll get them back in use after you wash them?


Frustrating doesn’t even cut it. So, I spoke to a rep online and got cut off basically immediately. I then rejoined the queue and waited another 15 minutes to talk to someone named Claudia. The long and short of it was that the supermarket are requesting CCTV of the order being given back to the driver, and the hotel are trying to track down if and when that happened. We have had to call Mark twice, nagging him on his journey home after a family holiday for order numbers, receipts and proof of purchase which has now all rounded out to them having to speak directly to Countdown (the shop) themselves. What the fuck? This was a lovely thing for them to do for us as it is, and now they are spending their valuable family car time tracking down shopping. I would say just leave it, but the problem is that unless we find the shopping and figure out what happened, a refund won’t be an option. I never thought I could feel so stressed out in a hotel with no responsibilities and nothing but time.


Today was a lot. I honestly feel as tired as I did at this time two days ago. My eyes are bloodshot, my head hurts and all I want is my bed. It’s 20:15 here in NZ and Ben is currently having his outdoor time, running around in circles thinking: ‘Man this feels good’. We woke up this morning and immediately went on a call with my mother to sort freighting lists. This was followed up by a family call which was lovely but still involved discussing things for my Grandads funeral, who was my hero and passed passed 48 hours before we flew to Singapore. My grandad was someone I do not have a bad word to say about, and that’s the honest truth. He was always kind, always there for me and never let go of my hand or released from a hug first.

Afterwards, I spent a good 60 minutes wandering the room with little motivation or drive, feeling lethargic and staring into space. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this particularly, even if I had had a chance to grieve my Grandad, (which I don’t think I have but that bus will hit me when it’s good and ready), sitting and processing or just ‘being’ is perfectly human in my book. Just as a glint of productivity caused me to ponder moving from the chair in which I was slung, with bad posture and lethargic bones, the phone was ringing for a call with Bens boss.

You'e probably wondering what happened to the mysterious shopping? Or maybe these matters are mundane and only entertaining to the mind of someone in isolation. Basically the goods had been thrown out and it led to a formal complaint being made. To brighten the situation, our trainers have arrived! What a lovely positive twist on the morning, but alas before we even opened the boxes Ben announced that once again our three day late food order would not be arriving today. Within this order is also; my toothbrush, some tampons, a razor (its summer here remember) and wine. (Sounds like a shopping list out of cosmo). I then spent 45 minutes on the phone chasing that solution. I hate being on hold.

Finally, I passed the end of the call off on Ben for some outdoor time and no more hold music. Serotonin coursed through my veins as I stepped out into the 87% humidity and very close outside world. I walked with purpose and even did a minimal amount of jogging. My playlist was hitting all of my dopamine receptors and tightness in my muscles and lower back was loosening from yesterdays workout and the funky travel positions that come with 40+ hours of travel. I had a lovely walk and I felt really good.

The walk drew to a close and I came back up to the room a new person. Ben was gaming away happily and I checked in with him about the end of the conversation with the representative on the phone; 'all good'. Then I asked if he had re ordered the stuff; 'nope, I was waiting for you'. Fine. I told him to crack on with the order and I was going to jump in the shower and do some laundry, (a common combo now that hand washing is the way of life). I hopped into the shower with a bounce in my step listening to the perfect blend of Natasha Bedingfield and Gorillaz, (like chocolate and wine for the ears). When I left the shower rapping ‘Clint Eastwood’ at Ben’s enjoyment and confusion, I asked him:

“How did the ordering go?”

“All good, should be delivered Wednesday and I’m just on hold with them now about the compensation”.

“Perfect… You did put the room number in the delivery notes and not in the address line like I said right?”


“The room number, that’s the reason the shopping wasn’t delivered, their system recognised it as out of area. It’s a fault they are trying to fix. I said all this to you before I went out”.

*Cue anger, under breath swearing and a very real want to throw the phone across the room*.

Goodbye Serotonin

A lot had happened in the last five hours and all of it had been spent dealing with complaints, being on hold, stressful paperwork, emails and all in a foreign country. I didn’t blame Ben for not taking in this one piece of information. Let’s move on.

Within 15 minutes we had cancelled the order, reordered to the correct address and claimed the compensation. Solved. However, we were absolutely frazzled. After two more phone calls; one to chase the teabags that never arrived at lunch, the second to book outdoor time for tomorrow, we were done-in. That phone went down and it has not and will not be picked up again until tomorrow.

The rest of the day was spent watching Rick and Morty, spooning and a couple of gins. The second of which I couldn’t even finish. Ben is back from his run now with the same optimism that I had after my walk. Hair sodden from the humidity and rain, but happy all the same. Tomorrow’s another day.

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