It has been a strange 6 weeks. I started hearing about the virus in February on NPR when they were reporting that Wuhan in China, was on lockdown. Travel to and from China was still going on. At that time, I did not realize how contagious the virus was. I just thought that Wuhan was on lockdown to stop the spread – like flu. It turns out this Wuhan virus has upended the whole world!
China did not stop any flights. A number of countries flew their citizens out of Wuhan. I remember a Nigerian student saying Nigeria was not flying him home, saying that Wuhan had better way to deal with and treat the virus than Nigeria. Nigeria was probably a little smart in not getting infected citizens back into their country. But a number of other countries still had people traveling to China and back. The spread was inevitable. How much, was not anticipated.
After China, it was Italy that went in lockdown in March. By that time, the virus was in news a lot in USA, but no measures were being taken. I went out for lunch on 6 March and then 15 March with friends. Both times it felt weird to be eating out, but I was okay since there had been no cases in Florida. I was hearing about cases in Washington State. Spain was hit hard next.
I started calling and emailing my friends in key places to see how they were doing. They were okay, all at home. I knew the virus was coming here but I did not realize how much it would impact our daily life.
Once the teaching/working from home began on the 16th of March, reality sunk in that we would not have a normal life. Florida did not have anything other than social distancing recommendations. Spring breakers were still coming to Florida. But I took that week of 16th March as the last one of freedom and went shopping a bit, and did some major groceries and vitamin shopping. Some essential items were hard to find like toilet paper, bleach and sanitizers…and for some reason, eggs. Luckily I did not really need of those things. I got my alcohol from the lab and was all set.
It has now been 6 weeks of staying home. Teaching has been going on. I commend the students for transitioning into the online system and coming to classes.
I have been trying to discipline myself in more than one way. I started going for morning walks….every morning so I could get some exercise. Our community closed the gym and pool also at this time. So morning walks is the only excercise I count on. I started eating a little more healthy. Instead of snacking on junk food, now I snack on vegetables and fruits. Intermittent fasting is becoming normal for me now. I eat only between 9 and 5. I feel if I don’t do all these things, I will become really unhealthy sitting at home all the time.
I watch little news and all my comedy shows and movies. People are saying they are getting bored and watching a lot of TV, and I wonder how?? I don’t have time to get bored. Between teaching and preparing for summer classes, I don’t have much time during the week. I try to keep weekends free for relaxing.
I am talking a lot more on the phone now to my extended family and a lot of friends. It has been nice. Some days go by with just being silent all days, which are not different than what I used to have before – hehe.
Going out once a week for vegetables and milk is a little strange now. We have to wear masks (as of two weeks ago) and now I always carry hand sanitizer, which I never bothered with before. It is amazing to me that people in Florida do not maintain a good distance and they don’t care about wearing masks also. Some shops have restricted enterance based on wearing masks or how many people are inside, but other than that, things seem to be normal. Yeah, we cannot eat out or go shopping, some parks are closed but its not India where there is a complete lockdown.
I got my driveway painted (well my HOA wanted that…I did not care). I have made my office room a much more inhabitable room. I like all the pictures I put on the walls. Otherwise my home is quite set, I don’t really need much work and may God keep it that way.
Sometimes I feel like going out to eat, or ordering pizza, but I let that thought pass since I have always believed in “better safe than sorry”. I can always eat out next year.
This experience will stay with me for my lifetime. Very unusual.