8 Ways Students Can Do During Study-from-Home Lunch BreakSeptember 28, 2020

Ask what not your beach can do for you, your neighbour told you the other day. The coastline is tens of kilometers away, making you wonder if he had lunch. And then you recalled your mother's repeated calls. You skipped lunch! It shouldn't happen again, as a hearty lunch can re-energize you (for the rest of the day).

You've been chatting about travel with your mates, which is a good substitute for a conversation about home. (And no one wants to talk about household chores.) You can tell plenty about someone from the places he (or she) visited and which place is his (or her) favorite. Your flatmate's taciturn nature could be due to his memorable winter in Kenya while your coursemate has an unfulfilled yearning to set foot in Bhutan. (A quietly good-natured mate that he is.) And your other coursemate can't stop talking about the northern part of India, which is laidback in some ways and hard-edged to him. It reminded you of your cousin's enthusiastic outbursts, which he attributed to his week-long stay in Ko Sanh Road, the halfway house between the East and the West. You haven't travelled to Bangkok, as your affection for Bali was equally telling: Sea, sand, and green. It's a place where you felt instantly at home, but your mates are surprised that you don't have the pictures to show it. How you wished there was a camera that captured smell, as smells are more vivid than images. (You were walking last week, caught the smell of something spicy and tasty, and you were suddenly transported to an Ubud side street.) As for food, you learned that bold ingredients would be the key to better cooking. Your mother looked at you in a different way, though. (You wished for a Balsamic tarragon chicken.) The pandemic certainly changed the university life, as you recalled how you (and your course mates) travelled in packs. There are no weekend parties, so Zoom parties would do in the meantime. On the other hand, you don't miss those grab-and-go lunches (or dinners). As a matter of fact, you always look forward to a lunch break. It's important to claim it, as it should get you a head start on the next day - and the next week.

Golden Hour: Do Something Different and Change Your Life

Make a new friend. Your old mate suggests the classic British opening gambit of discussing the weather, but Australia is not renowned for gray weather. You're reluctant to talk about the (social media) spat between Boris Becker and Nick Kurgios. (Is this a prelude to Becker coaching Kyrgios?) You like to describe the Mary River turtle, which sports a Mohawk, but not many people have been to Queensland. (This small-necked turtle is endemic in this state.) And you're hoping that an (online) acquaintance won't talk about Australian soldiers in Burma during the Second World War. Stick to spring (season).

Move. You were enthused about the one-minute video by STA Travel Australia, where an Aussie backpacker visited 60 countries in 60 seconds. (Great editing!) Quarantine seems to come and go (and come again), depending on which state you come from. You only need a few minutes, which is long enough to do what most do during springtime. Relish the sunlight (and probably hug a tree). Take a look at the trees and plants and flowers. And take a walk. (It can be several steps.) You must make it a daily practice during lunch hour, but wear a mask.

There's less joy in chores, but it frees up your after-study time. Lunch hour is the best time to check your junk drawer and do some de-cluttering (if there's a need to). You'll likely forget it after your studies.

Learn to speak Italian (or any foreign language). You don't want to read the original version of "If on a winter's night a traveler" (after reading the English translation), but it must be something you haven't done before. Don't look for coconut and ferment its juice, though.

Listen to a different tune. Your father is a huge INXS fan, a popular 80s band. You don't fancy 80s music, yet you have listened to Depeche Mode's "Violator" countless times. And you enjoyed watching the music video of "Our House" by Madness. British rock music might be your thing (if you don't like Bee Gees). It should be a good substitute for the piano, which you don't have one at the moment.

How about prepping food? You spent hours on YouTube, as you try to know everything about "Cucina Povera" (or peasant cooking). Your parents might not be impressed at your first attempt, but it's the thought that would count.

Take a nap. Nappers lead longer, healthier lives, your professor once told you (during a lecture). Make it a daily habit, as you need your razor-sharp thinking on paper writing. You can't write a compelling essay on Naguib Mahfouz's novella on the pitiful lives of a family of five in Cairo, where the author compared it to the dull color of the Nile River. It can be a Bush ballad as well.

Eat lunch (and be creative). You can eat your salad (or any food) in silence or imagine several pirates, black-haired people from the jungle, an unhappy-looking volcano god, a large bowl filled with piranhas and some wumpires (or vampires with long fingernails) in front of you. You won't look at your salad (or any food) the same way again. Ever.

List 3 Things You Are Grateful For

You must write it down during lunch break, which will make you less stressed and more motivated for the second half of your day. You don't have to eat jellyfish raw, like sushi. (You don't want a few days of stomach cramps of vomiting.) You have been to Borobudur, Angkor Wat and the rice terraces in Bali, and you don't see it as less banal than witnessing extreme poverty (in Siem Reap). And collecting experiences doesn't have to be the same thing as a stamp collector goes about collecting stamps.

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