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How to enjoy your time at home (aka have a pleasant time in quarantine)

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

I know it’s been a while since my last post, but I’ve been busy staying home. 😊 Joking, I know that I should be more active, so I'll try to write more.

Speaking of staying home, this is the topic for this post - things I’ve done during this period of quarantine/ social distancing and well, that I continue to do.

I know it may seem like I haven't even tried, but…

1. watching movies. It’s actually an activity that can pleasantly fill your time and can relax you. So, here is a selection of movies that I watched/ rewatched.

o The Report - directed and written by Scott Z. Burns this political drama shines a light on the brutality of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” (torture) following the events of 9/11 and really opened my eyes to how cruel and immoral their actions were. Although I am not a fan of this kind of movies and at first, I was skeptical about it, the plot is well structured, keeping you on the edge of your seat the entire time. I would strongly recommend this movie to anyone - if not for the quality of the film, then to understand what actually happened. Too many people dismiss the CIA’s actions by saying that "at least it worked" and this is the very reason Burns decided to take up the project. Adam Driver takes the scene as Daniel Jones, the lead investigator on the case of the CIA, delivering one of his best performances yet. The rest of the cast, which features several big-name actors such as John Hamm, remains pretty consistent and I can’t recall a moment where the acting felt sloppy. (IMDB Rating: 7.2/10; streaming on Amazon Prime)

o Lady Bird – this film that marks the solo directorial debut of Greta Gerwig was nominated in a few categories at the Academy Awards (Oscars), Golden Globes, BAFTAs (but not only) and was the winner at the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy and the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy (Saoirse Ronan). This comedy-drama marvelously puts together feelings and emotions about growing up, mother-daughter relationships and the anxiety of separation. (IMDB Rating: 7.4/10; streaming on Netflix)

o Green Book – Oscar, Golden Globes and BAFTA winner in several categories; this beautiful story presenting the bond between Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) is incredible, emotional, connecting, yet immensely funny. I can definitely say without thinking twice that this is one of the smoothest, charming movie I have ever watched in a long time. Throughout the movie, I felt like I was part of that journey, I can assure you that the subtle development of the bond between the protagonists will bring tears to your eyes more than once. This movie shows different dilemmas faced by both the characters. Some of the dialogues will directly strike through your heart and soul. In whole it is a lovely movie to watch and definitely worth your time. (IMDB Rating: 8.2/10; streaming on HBO GO)

o James Bond – (all David Craig series) – I looove movie marathons (IMDB Ratings: ‘Casino Royale’ (2006) - 8.0/ 10, ‘Quantum of Solace’ (2008) - 6.6/ 10, ‘Skyfall’ (2012) - 7.7/ 10, ‘Spectre’ (2015) - 6.8/ 10; on no streaming platform)

2. And of course, watching series:

o Dark - currently my favorite series; has a quite complicated plot set in Winden. It is all about time travel and its paradoxes like predestination paradox, bootstrap paradox, loopholes, quantum entanglement and many more. It is a very intriguing and mind-bending sci-fi mystery spanned across decades, centuries and even worlds. Season 3 just dropped on July 27thand I binge-watched it. (IMDB Rating: 8.8/10; Streaming on Netflix)

o Barry - the Emmy-winning crime - comedy Barry (starring Saturday Night Live long-runnig member Bill Hader) revolves around its character, Barry. He’s a hitman, but he wishes to start a new life and become an actor, wanting to leave his criminal life behind. Season 3 was set to be launched in March this year, but due to the current states of Coronavirus, the expected date for the third season may be in March 2021 (IMDB Rating: 8.3/10; Streaming on HBO GO)

o Devs - the writer-director of ‘Ex Machina’ and ‘Annihilation’ (Alex Garland) heads to the small screen to blow you mind with this tech thriller. Devs focuses on a fictional tech giant called Amaya, run by enigmatic CEO, Forrest (Nick Offerman – you definitely know him from Parks and Recreation). Without giving any spoilers, the question is: Is the Universe deterministic, a multi-verse, or something else? (IMDB Rating: 7.8/10; Streaming on HBO GO)

o Upload – fresh from the oven, you’ll definitely fall in love with this sci-fi romantic comedy from Greg Daniels (best known as one of the creators of The Office and Parks & Recreation). Without giving any spoilers, this first season has them all: futuristic technology, mystery, romance and more, so get carried away in the Lakeview by Horizon universe. (IMDB Rating: 8.0/10; Streaming on Amazon Prime)

3. Same same, but different… I tried/ discovered some games that totally got my interest:

o Animal Crossing: New Horizons - this game is a fantastic time killer. If you want a little getaway from reality and to feel like you're in control of your own world then this game is definitely for you and a must-have. It’s a simple game, but at the same time a complicated one. There is a lot to say about NH, but in short - you can customize your character and your island (the goal is to have a 5 stars island), you can craft things (furniture, tools), you should complete the fossils, fish, bugs and art collections at the museum, you can host events on your island and trade things, you take care of your community of residents, you visit friends islands or invite them to yours, and finally – you buy and selling turnips at a higher price. I’m totally obsessed with this game right now, cuz you always have something to do and you always discover something new. (IGN Rating: 9/10; Platform: Nintendo Switch)

o Night in the Woods – I can say that this is one of the best games I’ve played, with heavy focus on story, character and place. Night in the Woods is a mix of some point-and-click adventure game elements (exploration with some light puzzle-solving) with a side-scrolling platformer. You’ll explore the town of Possum Springs from the perspective of Mae, a 20-year-old college sophomore, who returns to her hometown for the first time in almost two years, after deciding to drop out of school. This game is reminding you that the transition into adulthood, into being responsible, isn’t the same for everyone (it isn’t about growing up, but becoming an adult) and it requires a certain amount of encouragement and understanding from adults. (IGN Rating: 8.7/10; Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Mac OS, Linux, Microsoft Windows)

o Concrete Genie - is about bringing light and color back to an abandoned (because of severe pollution) industrial fishing village (Denska) by covering the walls with magical graffiti. The combination of pseudo-stop motion animation and sketchbook street-art aesthetic gives Concrete Genie a truly unique and utterly gorgeous look. Concrete Genie is a game with something to say - it’s an exploration of bullying - it also looks at how bullies are made, but also how it impacts its victims and how cycles of bullying perpetuate themselves. This game approaches this topic with care and consideration, regardless “bullying is bad” isn’t exactly a new or profound idea, but it’s still such an important topic to discuss. (IGN Rating: 8/10; Platform: PlayStation 4)

o Unravel and Unravel 2 -both are puzzle platform games. Unravel introduces Yarny, a character made from a single thread of yarn. Unravel 2 is a new adventure based on little Yarny, the character of the first game, but it also introduces a new character. You can play co-op with a friend or control both characters in solo mode. These games are about love, hope and the journey of life. I found them very touching and heartwarming.(IGN Rating: Unravel - 8.3/10 and Unravel 2 - Rating: 8.5/10; Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch)

o Horizon Zero Dawn – I know the initial release for this game was in February 2017 (pretty old), but there will be a sequel announced for 2021 – ‘The Horizon Forbidden West’, PS5 exclusivity and it looks phenomenal. So, you have to play the first one; and from the perspective of the girlfriend who looks at her boyfriend playing 😊) this game got me completely glued to the couch until the end, beginning with the scenery and the thanks to the graphics, gameplay and the suspenseful story. I assume, thus, that if you play this game by yourself you have no choice but to like it even more. (IGN Rating: 9.3/10; Platforms: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows)

4. Reading/ painting – well, I was reading even before quarantine, but I hadn't been painting in a very long time, maybe since high school, and it brought me back memories (like when we had to make themed drawings for arts and crafts classes). No, I don't have a drawing worthy of being shown. :)

5. You can also cook together – cooking can be a very relaxing activity; well, not for me 😊) not a very big fan of cooking, but my boyfriend tried it and apparently, he’s doing a pretty great job.

6. Decorate your home spending more time at home, means that you have more time to connect with your house and implicitly to find possibilities for improvement, or simply ideas to beautify or decorate it.

What activities did you do during this period and how did you fill your time?

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