The Global Quarantine Diaries – Sean

  • Where in the world are you located?

I’m in Houston, Texas in the United States

  • What are lockdown regulations like there?

Like some of the other bloggers, our restrictions vary wildly by what part of the country you live in. It has been very strange lately. Texas started out kind of okay and that devolved pretty quickly. For example, at the time of writing I think bars and restaurants and that type of thing can choose to open up to maybe 75% capacity. Masks are encouraged by the city and county government, but the state governor struck down ordinances at the city level saying masks were required. At this point it’s really up to the business whether they enforce any rules. The current city and state governments are polar opposites politically, so that’s made for some confusing directions.

It’s a bit unnerving to see tons of people without masks. Our medical center is estimating if the growth rate continues, we’ll be out of bed space in a matter of weeks, which is concerning. But at the same time, I appreciate that businesses are starting to open again so people can work and get paid. Right now, I’m wearing a mask when I go to shop, but not when I’m exercising. My wife and I are both back to work in shifts, and it just feels like many people are leaning towards “oh yeah COVID-19 is over” or thinking that the risk is worth being able to do whatever they’d like. 

  • How are you keeping busy?

So much, honestly! As of a few weeks ago, we’ve started back to work in shifts. I’m going into lab in the mornings for about four hours, then coming home and doing other work from there.

I’ve started up my leadership coaching services on the side, and have been leaning heavily into that, having picked up a few clients in the last two months. I’ve loved working with them so far. (If there’s a time to plug a service, I’ll take the opportunity here. I’m a trained leadership coach working on my next credential, so if you’re reading this and interested in building up your leadership skills, please reach out!) 

I’m also leaning very heavily into exercise; since about mid-March I’ve been working out for at least 30 minutes every single day, and I feel fantastic!

I did take a little break from my blog, and I’ve struggled with some motivation on that front, but I’m getting back into it soon. But I’m well on my way to completing my Duolingo Italian catalog!

Finally, we bought a house! We’ve been getting a lot of the paperwork and utilities and such squared away for that, as well as bingewatching Fixer Upper

  • What do you miss doing most?

Socializing, which sounds a little silly because we’re so busy that we don’t socialize every single opportunity. But my wife and I have largely interacted with just each other save for a few co-workers. It’s been great for our marriage to connect day-to-day, but it’s also nice to spend time with friends. We recently happened to see a couple friends of ours out and decided to grab a couple drinks with them, thinking we’d spend an hour or two maximum. We ended up spending over five hours with them without realizing it. 

  • What is the first thing you’re going to do once lockdown is over?

Plan a trip! My wife and I were each supposed to take trips this summer and another one together in the fall, and those obviously didn’t happen. We’re thinking Japan for the winter, although that although could fall through if we have another big wave. Other than trips, get ready for our new home! We’ll be moving, decorating, and getting furniture and all that fun stuff. 

  • Where can people find you?

Thanks for asking! Here are my socials:

www.Twitter.com/AuthenticAvg

www.Instagram.com/authenticallyaverage

www.Pinterest.com/authenticallyaverage

www.Authenticallyaverage.com 

Exploring Paris, A walking tour of our own – Day 2

Day 2 and we were off again walking everywhere!

Before we headed off on this days exploring we had a little lay in and then headed to the supermarket across the road from our Ibis to get Croissant fillings! We got a packet of Pain Au Chocolat at the same time, as well as some crisps and cheese and had our own continental breakfast in our room. Then it was off to the tube station again for another day exploring!

Our first stop? the Arc De Triomphe! One of the most beautifully detailed pieces of architecture we had seen on the trip. The details in the statues and the sculptures is phenomenal. You have to walk underneath the roundabout to access the building and once we had a full look around we realised they were offering for people to go up to the top. NO BRAINER. Instead of standing in the huge queues in the underground pathway ticket office we bought our tickets online straight away for €13 each, perfectly reasonable! We jumped straight into the queue and headed on up. 300 winding in circles steps later, we made it. And the views were something else. Before we headed up to the terrace we entered the main section of the building where you could learn about the history of the Arc Du Triomphe before taking another 10-15 steps up to the terrace! The views were beautiful. You could see all 12 avenues coming from the roundabout of the building, the Eiffel tower, all the taller monuments and statues and especially the commercial sector. The ONLY Sector with skyscrapers!

After doing the 300+ spiralling and dizzying steps down we headed for a walk down the Avenue Des Champs-Elysees! Loads of shops and shopping malls, we even saw some super cars which you could pay to be driven around Paris in. Plenty of designer shops and non designer shops dotted all the way down the Avenue! The only thing I couldn’t shake was the police presence. They were everywhere. Lined up down every street. On every corner in groups of 5. On patrols walking or on horseback. It wasn’t quite intimidating as they all had huge guns and batons. They all appeared smiley enough though.

We dipped into one of the shopping centres to try some Macaroons! Neither me nor Brad had ever tried them before some bought a pack of 3, Vanilla, Chocolate and Caramel. They were AMAZING. I was actually sad it had taken me this long to try them! We both thoroughly enjoyed them and once we had a taste for food we had to go get something tasty. SO I don’t know about you guys. And don’t judge me here. But I will always go to a McDonald’s in another country. BECAUSE THEY ALWAYS HAVE DIFFERENT THINGS! I could’ve got a dessert BURGER. A DESSERT BURGER. Like how sick but also literally sick is that? haha! So we enjoyed a quick Macca’s for lunch and carried on!

We walked past the beautiful Grand Palais – RMN, again we wished we coddle gone in but this wasn’t the case. We did take some glorious pictures outside the beautiful golden gates of the building though. It was an opportunity not to be missed! Once we were done the space was taken by some top bloggers and photographers so we felt we hit a good one with that! We then walked over the Pont Alexandre III bridge. With 4 beautiful golden sculptures, 2 at each end of the bridge, crossing over the river Seine it was lovely. Another piece of beautiful architecture of the list.

We then took a leisurely stroll down to the Musee De L’armee, the Army museum and also home of Napoleons grave. We again would’ve loved to go inside but it was closed once more due to Covid-19, another smart move. So once we enjoyed the beautiful golden gates and cannons outside we headed on our way back to the hotel early ready for our night out in the Latin Quarter!

We arrived at La Defense tube station and as we left we played around on some Lime scooters for a bit! Personally I wish we could’ve used these every day everywhere but i didn’t have the confidence. These motorised scooters were activated by QR code on your phone on the app and charged €1 a minute. Seems quite expensive? NOPE. NOT with how fast these bad boys went. We did get a few looks as we were fucking about in the area but hey, all fun and games. After getting ready at the hotel we then fucked about AGAIN on the scooters before heading back in for dinner!

When we arrived at the latin Quarter we headed for a drink before dinner! We went to Bulls Brothers Paris for beers, the atmosphere was awesome and the pints were decent! We sat in their indoor/outdoor(?) area. We noticed that a lot of the pubs had half in half out areas where you could sit and drink and smoke but also be off the street and in the restaurant/bar. It was really nice and I like their outdoor culture.

We then headed to Rosies smokehouse for the most BOMB dinner. It was honestly amazing, we both got meat platters with 3 different types of meat, a salad and chips, as well as Meaty beans!!! The two of us were in our element. We said we would get more traditional food the next day on Sunday and try some proper French cuisine. We did think that France had been particularly quiet about their Covid-19 actions. Literally as we sat down for dinner our server informed us that from 12am that night every bar and restaurant will be closed for the foreseeable future.

We didn’t mind too much of course. Covid-19 is incredibly serious and they were taking the right precautions. We enjoyed our meal and our drinks and we also made friends with another Irish couple and we had a merry old time in the outdoor area of Rosie’s Smokehouse drinking away! Come 12am the restaurant owners told us we could drink inside as long as they closed the area. A couple of moments after we sat down they started handing us plastic cups saying that the police were doing rounds. With that it was our time to leave with our drinks in tow. It was still a fantastic night, one I won’t forget!

With that being said when we arrived at the hotel we were made aware there would be no food served at the hotel as well. We were lucky to have picked up our own breakfast the day before because the supermarket was also shut.

This lead to us leaving Paris a day early which you can read about in my final post!