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It's hard making friends in a new place when socializing isn't quite an option.
I go out, I walk around my new neighborhood daily just to get out (besides going to the grocery store or running other errands). The main people I interact with are my roommates, and I'm fortunate that we all get along. I take a lot of joy in small interactions, talking to the cashier at the grocery store however briefly, nodding at a woman and her child on the street (it's taken me a while to remember that no one can see you smile with a mask on).
Making new friends has been a slow process, but I'm working on it. Trying to talk to new people, keeping in touch with old friends.
It's a difficulty I think a lot of people share: people entering schools, new jobs, new living arrangements in new cities.
Well, for one, we're all far more accustomed to being on Zoom. In some ways, this has been great--I have been able to attend conferences around the world, and groups everywhere are putting on webinars that they would not have otherwise. So the pandemic has brought us much greater access to each other, even though it's through a screen.
Obviously, there is the down side to this--much less human contact all around with our friends.
I know it's stressful for parents, and it's been hard for parents to get their work done, some of my friends with little kids say their children have never been happier--they get to stay home with their parents all day! No day care. No having to get up early and leave the house. So maybe for the little kids some of this will turn out to be okay. They'll remember it as a special time where Mom and Dad or Mom and Mom were home ALL THE TIME!
For some unfathomable reason, I am feeling optimistic this week. I think it's because the 2020 election is FINALLY in sight, and I think Trump is going to lose. I have faith that if Biden wins that he will immediately put in place a plan to deal with COVID, and try and bring people back together. I am actually feeling in my bones that this national nightmare will soon be over. I truly hope I am right.
I had a great experience on Sunday. A neighborhood clinic in conjunction with the Giant Supermarket was offering free flu shots and free Covid testing. My spouse and son and I all went and got flu shots. When we got there, the woman checking us in asked if we had insurance, even though it was free. She explained that everyone who had insurance was helping the effort, because the more the clinic got reimbursed by private insurance, the more shots and tests they could offer. We were happy to contribute. Happy that in some small way, in our progressive community, clinics and businesses are pitching in to protect everyone's health. Pitching in where the federal government has failed miserably.
Although this effort was private, this is what public health would look like, if we had it. I'm pretty sure that if most Americans understood what public health care truly was--i.e. you walk up to your local clinic and get all your vaccines for free, they would support it. Our lack of any kind of public health care is truly a fault of politics, greed, and imagination--people unable to imagine the positive impact on society if we were ALL cared for by a public system.
The biggest way the pandemic has affected my life this week is again, my university. Last Thursday they announced that most students (other than first years, and I am a sophomore) would once again be fully online and unable to live on campus during the spring semester (Jan-May). I am deeply devastated by this news, especially because my school is split into two campuses and next semester would have been my last at the first campus. Additionally, I have only seen one friend from school since the pandemic began, and I miss the rest of my friends greatly. It has been so strange to adjust to life as a college student without a social life, club activities, office hours, hanging out on the quad, and eating in the dining hall. I am mourning the loss of that once again, just like I did in March and August. So this week I have been scrambling a bit to figure out where I'll be living next semester, if there is any way to make this feel more normal while still being safe, and yearning to see the friends I haven't seen in 8 months.
I have just been so cooped up. I’m so isolated. I interact with one person, and I love them, but I need more social interaction than that. It’s hard not to have tension.
I also broke my fingers this week, and since everything is virtual, it’s difficult to type all the time. And of course, I’m wearing a mask everywhere I go, and don’t go out much. Just to the store. An outing to Walgreens to get finger splints was a highlight of the week.
A quote from my girlfriend: “when the grocery store is the only place you dress up for all week”, after standing in the closet deciding what to wear for 10 minutes.
I took this photo on a walk I took this past week to de-stress. It wasn't just school and work stressing me; my closest relationships have been strained by the pandemic. My partner and I live with two pets in a small one-bedroom apartment. Although we get along super well, being in the same space for months on end has caused more bickering and general annoyance than usual. Incorporating alone time, like these walks, has been great for my psyche.
My whole holiday season feels like it got basically ruined. It makes me sad.
because school is online i don't have people to immediately help me with a problem i may have and because of my abnormal sleep schedule i have to wait longer for a reply and sometimes that's not enough. it's hard for me to understand what i'm reading sometimes like the words just don't make sense or the sentence itself is confusing so it's always better for me to hear the instructions but because that's not possible anymore i stay in a panic even longer and it's really stressful.
I think most of the world is either amused or worried. We have lost the respect of much of western Europe, our time-honored allies. I pray for a Biden win on Nov. 3!!
I think overall, I have really lost faith in my government. I never think that I fully had faith in my government, but I think it's safe to say I have completely no trust in our system or any part of our system. I always thought I had some idea that the government would have the best interest of the lives of the people of this country over politics, but that just clearly isn't true. It makes me so incredibly sad that we live in a world that science is politicized and people are dying because of it. The especially sad part about this is that politics shouldn't result in the death of thousands of people, but here it is, happening in real time. I don't know that my political opinions have changed, but that my beliefs in universal health care and the identifying of the deep systematic inequality in our society has only fortified.
This past Sunday, I biked to a nearby town to my college ... and visited a small vinyl store in a man’s garage. The bike ride was long and tiring, but I did not know what to expect when I reached this man’s house on a suburban street. Once I arrived, I was instantly surprised by this man’s collection of vinyl, turntables, and jukeboxes that reminded me of the music I grew up listening to. It was a welcome sight to see a place not seriously affected by the Coronavirus. I asked him how he manages to have a small business like this during COVID; he said sales of turntables rose as people stayed inside more and saw an influx of people asking him to fix their machines. He seemed in excellent spirit, singing along to the music and showing off individual records.
I thought about this experience and the joy it brought him to discuss music and show me his turntables and it reminded me of the power of these compositions. The music itself has become increasingly important to sustain my mental health and let me for a second forget what we are going through and be submerged by the music. And as I reflected on my music dependence, I realized how important it has become in a Pandemic. We listen to music to remember the past and the times that things were normal; we listen to music to daydream, remind us of people, and marvel at the artist’s talent. Once an artist releases a song, it becomes a constant, does not waver or die, and is cemented in history. We should recognize this with all the uncertainty in the time of COVID; we are provided with a haven that can take us out of the current crisis.
During the pandemic my eyes were opened to the immediate need for universal free health care and how in countries with government focusing on the citizens health over everything, they are doing much better. I also now see the significance of local governments more than ever before, but also see that the people have the most powerful voice.
This week I voted! I got my absentee ballot in the mail at college, I filled it out, and mailed it back. It was very exciting not only because this is my first time voting in general, but also voting during a pandemic is exciting. I'm disappointed that I didn't get to vote in person for the first time, but, I'm excited that I still had the opportunity to vote.
A lot of people in the media have been talking about how mail in voting is a huge source of fraud in the US, which I think is just another way that the pandemic is effecting our lives. Those who are at higher risk for the virus would have to go to the polls and risk their lives in order to vote. However, I think that most people recognize that voting by mail is really not that fraudulent, but I think it's interesting that the media (and the president) portrays it so badly.
With social interactions like classes and meetings online, something doesn't feel right. The obvious reason is that talking and seeing each other on zoom is something fairly new. We're not used to seeing a tiny picture of everyone in the same direction. But another thing I've noticed is that the human energy is gone. I've talked to my friends about this and they agree. But what even is this "human energy?" On zoom we can see and hear the other people and them with us. Is it that the picture quality and the sound quality is not the same as reality so everything feels "fake" to us? Maybe its just that online interaction like this is so different that the strangeness is turning us off. Whatever the reason is, this lack of human energy is one of the reasons I find it hard to concentrate in classes and am not satisfied with socializing online.
Traveling and Keeping Fit During a Time of Social Distancing
The heightened consciousness the world has towards what we now call “social distancing” (people keeping physically 6+ feet away from each other) did not exist prior to the coronavirus pandemic but is a global concept that is here to stay. This awareness is especially true in relation to people’s willingness to be in large crowds among strangers. Travel and fitness have been two areas largely affected by this concept.
Prior to March 2020, the world bustled with domestic and international travel. We all had business meetings to conquer, people to see and places to experience. I had at least two trips already planned that I had been looking forward to taking. One trip was to Maine for my daughter’s college graduation and the other was to Seattle where my extended family planned to embark on a cruise to Alaska for my dad’s 80th birthday celebration. Both got cancelled, along with the collapse of the entire cruise industry. Likely, I would have taken additional trips in 2020 to places like Santa Fe (for my 26th wedding anniversary) and to Providence, RI where my son attends college.
While inconvenient, I once thought nothing about spending considerable time waiting in crowded airports, standing in line at security or sitting at a busy bar close to my gate while sipping wine. Restrooms were always full of people from everywhere touching the same surfaces. Drinking fountains in airports were commonly used by everyone. As pictured, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder next to someone you did not know was an inevitable spacing reality on airplanes.
All of this was just part of air travel. I believe that most of us lived with a certain level of acceptance that a few additional germs would always be present while traveling. While we used hygiene measures like washing hands after visiting the restroom, US Americans did not worry much about contracting any diseases while flying. Most of the time, travel was for good reasons and involved having quite a bit of fun.
Now, many are hesitant to be in airports or to board airplanes at all where the same oxygen gets circulated repeatedly through a small, enclosed space. While I know people have flown and have remained safe, I am personally reluctant to fly again any time soon.
Running races and other multi sport events used to be something that I and so many others within fitness communities were busy doing. In-person races are now nonexistent. Participating might include flying to destinations. Races always involved standing in corals at the starting line with up to 50,000 other people.
Most of us felt only excitement and anticipation as we waited for the start gun to go off. A lot of us had trained for months beforehand to see this day come true, so this was our time to shine. We had few thoughts about keeping physically distant from other runners, which was impossible to do anyway. Instead, we would sometimes chat with each other, laugh to control our nerves and take a few last-minute pictures within this joyful, crammed area.
“Body slide” with another person occasionally occurred while racing in hot, humid weather, especially during the first few miles of a longer distance. Your sweaty arm might slide across another person’s slippery skin while running in a crowd.
“Excuse me,” we would say to one other and continue running with no further thoughts about the encounter. No one had any concept of keeping 6 feet apart back then.
Crossing the finish line among crowds of cheering spectators was part of the “high” we got from races. Again, being packed together with other sweaty finishers at the bottleneck medal and swag collecting spots was just part of any race.
Now, my runs begin at 4:30 am so I can avoid all other people and minimize physical spacing issues as much as possible. I have created new, zig zag running paths in the park in order to be able to swing wide of other runners and walkers that I do encounter. Keeping safe physical spacing while running has involved me having to jump low stone walls, run in ditches and stop entirely to wait for someone to finish crossing a narrow bridge.
While new virtual races have cropped up during this peculiar time, all in-person large-scale races have been cancelled for 2020. That included the first marathon 26.2-mile race I had training for which was supposed to occur on May 17, 2020. Able to defer my entry to either May 2021 or May 2022, I remain unsure what to do. I simply do not know when racing will make sense again. 2021 may be too soon for me to feel safe being in a large crowd of people breathing hard and sweating on each other.
Now, there are days during which I literally do not leave the house, let alone my city, state or country. Months later, I have not ventured more than one mile from home. Likely, many more will pass in the same manner. The few times where I have been out in public to a retail store, for example, I have worn a face mask to cover my nose and mouth. Everyone else was doing the same. Only one person from each party was allowed inside the store for safer physical spacing. That is certainly different from our pre-pandemic reality.
The gym of which I am a member reopened this past week. People are required to use an app on their own phone to avoid the touch check-ins we used to do at the front desk. Gym users are required to make reservations in advance for a limited time slot. I have not yet returned to the gym, a place I used to frequent 6-days a week. I am in no rush to be sharing the same enclosed space with strangers, something I never thought about before. The indoor pool part is still closed anyway.
France has started a 9pm-6am curfew. I don't feel as if it will affect me at all since I'm never out and about then, but in a few weeks when I start teaching my evening class I suppose it could be an issue.
I wonder how much of an effect it will have. I still feel pessimistic about what's happening on the university campus but there is absolutely no discussion about moving to online. I don't know how much students will be controlled in their apartments as far as social gatherings go, especially since we're outside of Paris proper...so I'm skeptical that we'll see numbers going down drastically as a result of these new measures.
Every week I feel like I go into a battle zone to get my teaching over and done with. Thank goodness there's a week of break after this one.
This week I read an article, “The Racial Time Bomb In The Covid-19.” by Charles. M Blow. In the New York Times. The article pointed out the “Power health” in the South. Most black people live in the South. Researchers worry about African Americans. Some get advantages in African countries and some don’t get an advantage in America. “More than 75 percent had high blood pressure, about 35 percent had diabetes and a third suffered from heart disease.” Black people have more death rates from heart disease and diabeties. “African-Americans with diabetes were 1.5 times more likely to be hospitalized and 2.3 times more likely to die from diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.” In southern states declined to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care act. However, Covid-19 not distinction racial or ethnic lines. But black people facing different racial problems by the disease.
The first thing that happened was family gatherings for Easter were cancelled. Then the family reunion on the Fourth of July was cancelled. Physical presence is different than connecting digitally. Small group meetings were held online, with glitches in technology.
I am an introvert, yet the pandemic has increased my level of stress due to the avoidance of normal social intercourse. It makes building rapport with clients more problematic.
I have been negatively impacted by the rhetoric and activities of the anti-maskers. The insanity of putting oneself and others at risk of disease and death is stressful. Blaming victims for their prepandemic health issues that complicate their Covid response is stressful. I have had to fast from media to prevent the build up of rage that follows news coverage. At least, late night hosts keep me laughing.
This past week, I have been doing a lot of contemplation about the future. In particular, I have been thinking about how things are going to work out next semester. I am scared of the possibility that we will not come back for the spring term. We have been doing so well thus far, but that can change at any moment. What this means for me is that if we do go remote, then I will struggle with fulfilling the requirements for my studio art major. I mentioned a couple weeks ago how much I dislike my virtual art class because I am not taking it in the studio. Early in the week, I was talking with one of my art professors about the requirements for fulfilling my major. She showed me the list of courses I need to complete for the major and as I looked through it, I noticed some courses that I can take and have the same experience both in-person and virtual. It gave me hope because I would have the amazing studio experience and complete the requirements simultaneously. I now know that this is completely doable. Another aspect I have been struggling with is work study. Given the limited job options due to COVID-19, I have not been able to find any jobs on campus. This worried me because I have to do so for financial aid, in addition to making my own money. I am even more concerned because this problem may occur next semester regardless whether we are in-person or remote. However, now that I am aware of the issue, I am better prepared to take action moving forward. I realize that this pandemic has caused so much trouble for everyone. Now that I see it has affected my academics, I am frightened by what will happen next. Nevertheless, seeing that the crisis is still going on allows me to "wake up" and make a plan that will handle my success in the future.
There once was a dope in D.C.
Well known for his obstinacy
‘Cause even when asked
He’d talk down the mask
And make clear his idiocy.
Hoy murió una chica joven luego de estar enferma por mucho tiempo. No será posible acompañar a su familia por las restricciones del COVID 19. La pandemia ha permeado todo, incluso los ritos de despedida de los seres queridos.
En noviembre tenemos una festividad importante relacionada con nuestros muertos. Por el COVID 19, será imposible visitar los cementerios. Me enoja porque el gobierno ha abierto los centros comerciales, pero se niega a abrir los cementerios. De esa festividad dependen muchos vendedores informales de flores, de comida, bueno... hasta de mariachis. De nuevo, privilegia a los dueños de grandes tiendas, pero deja en la peor situación a los vendedores informales.
Y sí, ya sé que media humanidad puede contagiarse al ir a los cementerios, pero de la misma forma, cada quien está tomando decisiones sobre esa posibilidad cuando visita los centros comerciales con sus plazas de comida y sus tiendas. Todo se reduce a esa decisión individual sobre arriesgarse al contagio o no al levantar el confinamiento y los toques de queda.
El COVID 19 arrasa con nuestras costumbres y ritos. Costumbres y ritos que nos hacen colectividad y nos hacen sentir que pertenecemos a un grupo más amplio y más grande que nosotros mismos. Costumbres y ritos que, a veces, menospreciamos o vemos con condescendencia cuando somos jóvenes, rebeldes y críticos, pero que con el avance de los años, comprendemos que dan una cohesión y proporcionan unos lazos con la comunidad a la que pertenecemos, aunque a veces nos den ganas de dinamitarla desde las raíces.
El COVID 19 vino a quedarse. Veo la lucha de las personas por seguir conectadas entre sí, por reunirse, por compartir como lo hacíamos antes. Les valen poco las restricciones. Porque no hacerlo nos lleva a la locura, a la depresión, a la deshumanización. El COVID 19 vino a quedarse, pero la gente seguirá desafiándolo en nombre del encuentro, de los lazos, del toque humano, de la colectividad, de la presencialidad.
I haven't seen any racist memes, but racism is everywhere.
Our president is stoking the fires of racism, which is never acceptable, but in a time of Covid it is even worse.
Black and brown people are dying from this and I believe that is one of the reasons he isn't taking it as seriously as he should. Many of his supporters just don't know anyone who had it, or is in a high risk category.
I am so worried about our lives here in America.
I can't even write anymore.....I have a wrist issue and having some pain. Will have to leave it at this.
Well, I don't think that I will be around at age 103, but who knows? Changes in education, I think, would be big. I am trying to imagine how virtual school will affect all ages, but especially elementary school children. Changes on the Supreme Court and their rulings. I am dreading what will happen (Roe v. Wade, the environment, LGBTQ issues, etc. etc.etc.) Changes in all kinds of business: retail, restaurants,etc. etc. etc.
A good change might be attitudes toward computers and people of all ages becoming much more adept at computers.Maybe in 30 years something will have been discovered that is better than computers, Who knows?
Maybe the Supreme Court will have 20 Justices!! Who knows.
Maybe snow will be gone forever.
Well, students, I would say: Voting is a BIG deal. Reading and knowing about what is happening in the world is a BIG deal. The Supreme Court is a BIG deal. Old people didn't pay enough attention to these things years ago.
I hope that my bleak view is totally wrong and everything is WONDERFUL in 2050.
Sending love to you all.
I would tell a young person today what it was like to live with fear as an older person. My mother, not a complainer, never told me about what it was like to be older, alone and in ill health. Likewise, I don’t really tell my adult children. I guess that mothers, among other things, don’t want their children to worry about them. Here is my chance to complain. I am afraid of COVID-19. I have end stage emphasema and would not survive a case of the virus. I am careful in my fear, but it is not fun.
I would also tell them about loss of trust. In these times one is never sure about who to believe. It used to be that one could trust the words of the president and reliable news sources. Today there are so many conflicting points of view being aired on some formerly trusted institutions. This spans everything from the postal stem, to scientists and the medical and pharmaceutical communities. The topics vary from he election procedures to the state of our government and concerns like global warming and the use of immunizations for Covid. Who can you believe today or, at least feel can make decisions based on sound ethical and moral principles? Who is really doing their best for us, the citizens of the USA?
It gets worse every day. A second lockdown in Israel - no comparison to the first one. exhausted, empty, mad. Angry about the political situation. I am fighting with everyone around me. a few days ago we finally arranged a "corona summer-school" for a group of kids in the neighborhood. now at least I have a few hours break each day from my 24/7 position as home-schooling teacher for 2 little girls. but even now I am not entirely alone. my husband is here, in our small apartment, depressed as well. i think that living with a depressed person is even more depressing than being depressed yourself. I am exploding and everything outside of me is so still. my birthday wish: to sit in a cafe, when they will reopen, all by myself. just this. to sit still and stare at the city moving.