The COVID Diaries: Katrin and Alyssa

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Katrin
Sydney, Australia
Head of Communications at Google Australia & New Zealand


Where are you at this very moment and how are you feeling?

I’m on a plane heading back to Sydney, as the three weeks of changing my WFH scenery to Port Douglas in tropical Queensland are coming to an end. In terms of how I’m feeling: tired but energised and looking forward to my friends, my yoga studio, and what’s to come in the weeks ahead.

Looking back on the past months, what have you been struggling with the most?

Going with the flow has always been my North Star, less in the sense of „everything is up to fate“ but more like „giving things a chance, being curious where your flow might take you.“ In hindsight, I realise that these first few months of isolation threw me out of my flow – time stood still and my family back home in Germany as well as many of the routines I value (seeing friends, yoga etc) were out of reach. Over time, I found a new flow, but it took a few weeks.

Has Corona taught you anything about yourself that you didn’t know before?

How incredibly grateful I should be for the little things in life every day. The first evening with friends, the first dinner date with my partner, the first time back in a real studio yoga class – it all felt so special after months of deprivation. But shouldn’t it always be that way? And I also learned that I love making elaborate breakies (porridge is a new favourite).

They say every crisis is a chance for growth. Where have you grown over the past months? Have you tried anything that you hadn’t tried before? Started a new project? Stepped out of your comfort zone – and loved it in the end?

About two months ago, I was asked to step in as interim head of communications for Google in Australia/ New Zealand. An incredible opportunity to learn new skills and stretch, so I said yes. Little did I know that Google would face its biggest crisis in Australia just shortly after (government regulations that – intentionally or unintentionally – have huge impacts on the Google services people use in Australia).

Thrown into the thick of it, I’ve since cried in front my team, yelled in frustration over one-sided media coverage we can’t seem to influence, and spent many an hour at night awake with self doubt. 

But I’ve also learned more in two months than in the past six years, developed an immense sense of pride in my team, and found a strength in myself that I didn’t know was there.

Going through this in the midst of a pandemic has its benefits. More time for yourself between meetings, a really safe space – your home-  around you, or the ability to turn off the camera when you’re having a moment ;) Still, I can’t wait to see my team again in person – and give them a big hug for the past few weeks.

With everyone focusing their attention on COVID-19, which other topic doesn’t get enough attention any more in your opinion?

We’re still in a climate crisis, the world is still incredibly unfair to minorities, and there are still wars waged. There’s a real opportunity with all of this to revisit how we’re doing things, to rebuild economies for long term sustainability not short term gain. But I worry that a Maslow’s pyramid of needs type of approach will take place, where things will be fixed the easy (and most likely not sustainable) way, where the climate crisis and other issues will be an afterthought when people are struggling for their livelihood, where countries will focus more on themselves, and where protectionism and nationalism becomes the norm. But as an eternal optimist, I’m hopeful! 

However complicated, confusing, and challenging life may be, there are always so many things we can be thankful for if we take the time to look for them. What are you grateful for today?

The incredible beauty of our planet as I look down on Earth from a plane, the beautiful people I’ve met so far and will meet in the future, and the millions of little things that make life such an incredible journey – if you just give your „flow“ a chance ;)


Alyssa
Düsseldorf, Germany
Part time logistics


Where are you at this very moment and how are you feeling?

On my couch at home, feeling quite tired & hungry.

Looking back on the past months, what have you been struggling with the most?

I guess my greatest challenge was finding a new job, or better: finding a new purpose. I had to come to terms with the reality that my original plan – which was opening a health food cafe together with my sister – just wasn’t going to happen. We had to say good-bye to our dream at a time when the whole world was in turmoil and there was little else positive to turn to which was particularly tough.

Another thing I was (and am still from time to time) struggling with is my body image.

Has Corona taught you anything about yourself that you didn’t know before?

Having a regular call with you best friends should be a weekly appointment ❤️

They say every crisis is a chance for growth. Where have you grown over the past months? Have you tried anything that you hadn’t tried before? Started a new project? Stepped out of your comfort zone – and loved it in the end? 

I tried building and growing my own business, but failed at the end, due to Corona. But as they say: When one door closes, another one opens. Maybe it was not the right time, right place, or whatever it was. I grew with it, accepted it and am open to new things now. 

With everyone focusing their attention on COVID-19, which other topic doesn’t get enough attention any more in your opinion?

*Plastic pollution 

*Climate change

*Beirut 

*Black lives matter  

However complicated, confusing, and challenging life may be, there are always so many things we can be thankful for if we take the time to look for them. What are you grateful for today?

  1. I took a walk and bike ride with my dog. 
  2. I had a coffee with just myself. 
  3. I was able to read 10 pages in a book. 

>>> Read the previous chapters of The COVID Diaries here:
Kat’s and Petrie’s Story

Kim’s and Anne’s Story.
Beate’s and Janine’s Story.
Louise’s and Constanze’s Story.
Mila’s and Tammi’s Story.
Katy’s and Tine’s Story.

>>> Read the introduction to The COVID Diaries here.

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