A lot has changed over the past few weeks.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic has deeply affected all of us around the world.
With the closure of restaurants, bars and other venues where large numbers of people usually congregate and have a good time, this has affected hospitality workers particularly hard, myself included.
Many of us are now unemployed, with no way to predict when we will be able to get back to work.
Fortunately, many governments around the world have stepped up and promised support for those who have lost their livelihoods.
But even so, we now all face the prospect of self-isolation. According to some sources, this could be for up to 6 to 12 months.
Some of us might be able to find alternative employment.
More enterprising types might start a business – even during a global pandemic people still have needs, and those willing to satisfy them for a price.
For myself, I haven’t really decided on a solid path.
I’m not ashamed to concede that I’ll probably be one of those asking the government for help.
As grateful as I am for the assistance, hospitality workers are some of the most cynical people when it comes to the inefficiencies of government.
Especially in these unprecedented circumstances, who knows how much time will pass before they can help you?
So in the meantime, I have set out the current tasks for myself to keep my mind and body occupied.
Making YouTube Videos
This is something I have been thinking of for a very long while, but I never seemed to have the time.
It was always busy where I worked, and any time left over was reserved for study and rest.
I didn’t even have time to write regular posts on this website, which you can see from the relatively long stretches of silence.
At last I have time.
And fortunately I have the resources to do what I want.
I had invested in a new laptop at the end of last year.
I have a pretty decent digital camera I bought two years ago.
I have time to clean my home.
I have time to research and write scripts.
I have time to edit videos (probably the most time consuming part).
I have time to think.
In the month before the COVID-19 shutdowns, I also had the responsibility of training my colleagues at one of the venues I worked at.
I have built up some teaching material already, and through experience I have developed a sense of what is important and what isn’t when sharing information with people who are new to wine.
Now I also have time to write.
What I will write about I don’t really know yet, as I’m a working sommelier right now.
Quite the conundrum: as a working sommelier I had no time to write.
Now I’m not working I don’t know what to write about.
But this isn’t really the case if I think about it.
I have kept a journal since the beginning of last year.
I’m sure I’ll come across something when flipping through the pages that will trigger an interesting memory, which I can then share here with you.
Just as important as keeping the mind active, so it is to keep the body active.
With gyms being closed as part of the general nation-wide shutdown, how does one stay fit?
Fortunately I have never joined a gym.
I have a series of kettlebells at home.
I have a chin-up bar station in the lounge area (to the annoyance of my girlfriend).
I have books on calisthenics, describing exercises that specifically do not use weights and machines.
The only ingredient I have to provide is discipline.
I am still scheduled to sit the Advanced Sommelier Exam (for the third time) in August 2020.
However, with every new headline I read, it almost seems like a foregone conclusion that this will either be extended or cancelled.
That does not matter to me one bit.
A certificate and a pin are very nice things to have, but ultimately not vital.
I know my worth as a sommelier and a wine professional, and I don’t need any more credentials to do a great job (when I have one).
I am committed to expanding my knowledge and experience in all things related to wine and service anyway, and I will continue to do so for as long as circumstances permit.
Life can’t all be about work and study.
I now have time to spend with my girlfriend.
We can eat, cook, shop for groceries, watch movies online, etc…
I will be catching up with my family soon.
As the self-isolation requirements pass, hopefully I will be able to get in touch with friends and former colleagues.
Restaurants and bars may be closed, but I’ve always said that it was more affordable to cook at home and have wine and beer delivered to your door.
Our lives have been heavily disrupted, but we can still find ways to enjoy it.
Otherwise, what would be the point of living at all?
Read more: Year One – Reflections On Life As A Sommelier