Category Archives: pandemic 2020

2020 is reminding me to take pleasure in the simple things

It’s summer break for me now and it was a long time in coming. The usual month of summer break was whittled down to two weeks. This was so we could make up time at school, for all the online classes we had at the start of the school year because other schools who were less organised, didn’t have classes for two months. Suffice it to say I was ready.

As the responsible homebody that I am, who is a big fan of self isolating, my plan is to spend many hours stretched out on my couch reading. My little heart is oh so excited. I have no less than 8 books lined up from our library at school and my kindle at the ready, if I needed, to up that number. I just love escaping into the world of a book and learning all kinds of things. The time flies with a page turner I tell you, though the emotional roller coaster some of these books take you on is no joke.

Today a read the book Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It’s a rich text that sheds light on a perspective of slavery that is often not addressed. This is the fact that Africans were sold into slavery after being taken as captives by warring tribes. Her style is flawless and she grips your attention and makes you feel the characters, the setting and takes you from time period to time period through generations. It was really lovely, to delve into this masterful piece for a few hours and pass day one of summer break, self isolating all by myself, in my own space. It was truly therapeutic.

I am also loving being able to make all my meals at home. I enjoy cooking, sometimes twice a day, to get in some nice whole foods. Today I made a lovely veggie stew with boiled potatoes on the side. Adding balsamic vinegar to stews just takes them up a notch. Try it if you haven’t done so yet. It’s quite easy to eat and eat all day at home so, I bought healthy snacks to keep myself in check: watermelon, apples, kiwi and bananas. YUM!

It’s also nice to have time on a weekday to catch up with friends and family in different times zones. I mean everything from texting to having epic calls for hours. I love it. There is no time to feel lonely, though I live alone.

I see my apartment as my safe space that helps me to keep mentally well in these uncertain times. Like I do for weekends, I went shopping to get a range of things I wanted to have, so I wouldn’t be tempted to run to the supermarket nearby at the drop of a hat. This is actually a habit I have mastered over several years now. I like doing one big grocery shop on a Thursday of Friday for the week. I plan out my menu for the week so I know what to buy.

I also enjoy doing some dancing here and there throughout the day to get some exercise. I squat, do lounges, standing abs and random stuff to move throughout the day when I go to the bathroom. I don’t want to just be a couch potato.

So yeah, for a normal summer break I would be off somewhere exploring our beautiful world but this year I have to be still. I am not miserable and I am being intentional about enjoy this time. I am relaxing, resting and keeping my mind fresh and active. This is self-care and I am here for this. Thanks 2020 for forcing me to remember to enjoy the some of the simple things in life.

Are you keeping your hopes and dreams alive?

Hold fast to your dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to your dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow. (Dreams by Langston Hughes)

Are you still dreaming, making plans and keeping hope alive as this pandemic carries on?

It all feels surreal but I am still dreaming about things I want to accomplish internally and externally. In Jamaica is often said that where there is life there is hope.

As for me, I am still budgeting and making plans for different savings goals and such. I am thinking about the travelling I want to do in the future and I am also thinking about a number of other short term and long term goals. Most importantly, I keep reminding myself to keep hope alive and continue to dream new dreams.

That’s it, I was just inspired to remind someone to keep dreaming and keep hope alive in the midst of this pandemic. Stay on budget and save for your goals…

Pivoting Mentally with These Unprecedented Times

This is a very humbling year. In these first six months of 2020 I am learning to step back, go with the flow and take each day as it comes.

I am someone who plans way ahead and thrive on structure in my life. This isn’t something that 2020 is entertaining, so for my peace of mind and mental health, I am learning to pivot, relax and take things as they come.

I was going to Jamaica to see family in two weeks. Well, it ain’t happening because if I leave Japan there is no getting back in as a foreigner. My tickets were booked months ago because I am a planner and it is usually more affordable months in advance. The optimist in me waited months and months in the hope that I would still be ale to pull this off but alas this is not happening. Let’s not talk about how some airlines are still inflexible in these times.

I let go of that which I can’t control. Am I losing some money? Am I missing out on seeing family and loved ones? Yes, but is it for the greater good of staying healthy and not bringing this virus home to them? Absolutely yes! This is me talking to myself and making peace with what my reality is now.

I am learning to plan long term but adjust my expectations with the reality of each day. We live in hope that this virus will be under control in a few months or less but we really don’t know. I still have long term plans and goals. I am still budgeting and saving, now more than ever, because I see tough economic times ahead. I am also in the mental zone where I know I will not travel in the way I did before for quite some time. I also know that I will not be as comfortable going out and about for leisure for quite some time.

I am actively keeping paranoia at bay. Do you know when you are out around others and someone gets into a coughing fit? Thankfully, here we all wear masks but, you know how you just instinctively want to escape from this person. I really don’t want to be unkind to others while trying to be safe. I don’t want to be the one with a coughing fit either. The times can keep us on tenterhooks so we have no peace. This is something to be on guard about.

I am prioritising periods of rest and relaxation. I have always been a homebody, so there is no place like my own space. On Fridays I ensure that I get all the items I need to make my meals on the weekend. I have taken to coming home on Fridays and not stepping outside again until Monday when I go to work. This is like a mini staycation for me since I do my chores but make time to chill on my couch and read for hours. I also do some stretches and movements inside to work out some. This is my escape and since I live alone its just perfection. It is hard wearing a mask for hours on end in this humidity, so on Saturdays and Sundays and enjoy this freedom. I focus on slowing down, relaxing and just being. This is an act of self-care and helps me to pivot as needed in these times.

I keep hope alive. I do believe these times will pass and it is important to know this, so I remind myself of this when I start feeling a drag on my spirit. I listen to my gospel playlists, read my Bible, pray, worship, cook stuff I love, talk with my people, take time to be thankful…

In these months, I have seen nature doing all it does without interruption and I am reminded that good things are happening, even in the midst of these trying times. I am experiencing many of these good things and by focusing on these I am walking through the new normal with joy.

Life is truly a gift and it is worth living well even/especially in these unprecedented times.

Wear Mask, Wash Hands, Social Distance…Is this the New Normal?

What can I say, these are uncertain times that all of us are learning to navigate one day at a time. It is sometimes surreal to think how much has changed and continues to change since the dawn of the new year.

We are back at school now, our health and safety demands that we wear masks all day, open all the windows and doors, remind students to wash their hands, sanitise desks, chairs and other things we touch in the classroom, as well as, social distance. It’s a lot and we are trying our best to have classes and educate our charges in the midst of all this.

I wonder how schools with classrooms at capacity will manage all of this when they reopen? It is hard to relax and have conversations with students and other members of staff like before. Social distancing is at the forefront of our minds. This is the new normal and it is exhausting to remember this day after day after day. It is quite easy to become paranoid at this time because it just feels like this invisible parasite is just lurking around at every turn.

We all know that the emphasis is on physical distancing but the term social distancing has taken root to describe this. It amazing how this term has become a part of the daily lingo and shows how a living language grows and stretches to accommodate words and expressions. We are reflecting on this in my classes and analysing how different posters are made using paralanguage and such. I like that we can discuss these kinds of things in my classes as we bring in current issues into our analysis of texts.

Wearing a mask in these hot humid climes is not fun at all. There is a lot of walking to be done to get from point A to B in this city. I often end up breathing hard through my mouth after a few minutes with beads of sweat bursting every which where. It is rough! I, however, try to pace myself literally and figuratively. I drink lots of water before leaving home each morning and throughout the day. It is important to replenish all the liquid that the mask helps me to sweat out. Phew!

Here we are almost halfway through 2020 and it seems like an unending rollercoaster. I am reminded daily to be thankful and treasure each moment of each day. There are many annoyances, tests and trials of course but there is much to be thankful for.

Each one of us need to think well about how to manage ourselves at this time and focus on this too. There are lots of heavy things happening. With this in mind, I carve out time on the weekend to stay in, relax, read a book and enjoy not having to wear a mask. This really helps me to go out and be my best on week days.

I pray we all keep well, in all aspects of our lives. Wear your mask, wash your hands well, social distance and feed your mind what keeps it healthy. For now, this is the new normal…