It’s already tomorrow in Hong Kong, so hello from the future. This is Week 10 of Coronalife. Yes – it’s been so long, we don’t count days anymore, my sweet summer child. But I’m finally on a very anti-climatic Spring Break! I was meant to be in Morocco today starting a two week tour. Instead of camping with Bedouins and wandering through markets in Marrakech, I’m doing my best to hold the couch down and trying to get everyone to watch “Tiger King” because I need to talk about it a LOT.
I’ve been blogging for ten years, but when I started, would never have thought so many people would one day be reading some personal nonsense about living through quarantine in HK (this got like 80k hits, which was a wow).
I would have never thought this for many reasons. One being that I never had any plans to come to Asia. Or to be a teacher. Or to be in a pandemic. Or to be 35, talk this much, look this okay and still be single and have time to fiddle around on the internet. Self-high-five!
In case you’re new to this hot mess of a blog, or high school/church camp/that one hostel in Central America where we met was so long ago you think you can’t just message me out of the blue** (which is NOT true and I love those messages), I’ll quickly reintroduce important facts:
- Note: I use the word “important” loosely.
- I grew up in California, have lived in Seattle, North Carolina, Rio de Janeiro, and now Hong Kong.
- Travel quite a bit. Love to talk about that.
- I don’t have a TV, and this has added years to my life. I highly recommend only reading news and not watching it.
- My fav color is mustard yellow.
- The thing I miss the most about normal life from BC – Before Corona – is hugs.
- Have been teaching for 10 years now, which is a great job for me because I have a childlike enthusiasm for most things, including learning stuff, grammar, highlighters, and jokes (please tell me a joke).
- I am definitely not a medical expert. However, my family has lots of nurses and doctors, so I think I have absorbed some medical sense. Not knowledge, mind you (although I have lately become somewhat of an infectious disease expert groupie). Family dinnertime conversations are mostly about things I don’t understand and I just wait for a mention of the dogs or the weather or something on my level. Personally, I hyperventilate into a faint if told I need to get a shot and have a pain threshold of -1, so.
- My subpoint to this would be that I never learned how to properly blow my nose and am hypersensitive to all things hospitalesque, so the knowledge that the coronavirus test involves an invasive nasal cavity swipe makes my knees weak.
It feels like a lot of life has been canceled (does anyone else think of that Portlandia skit OVER when they say this) due to this horrible virus but actually other inconvenient and bad things can continue to happen as you go through this time! Let’s example:
- My dating life was way behind everyone else because of my lifestyle choices and NOW YOU WANT TO THROW ME THIS!? I will die alone. Time to start gathering cats.
- We still get periods during this?! And grow hair in places I normally pay to not have hair?! OUTRAGEOUS and UNFAIR.
- I thought to take advantage of the “extra” time and went hard at the gym. Fractured my foot. I live on the 6th floor with no elevator. So that’s been fun.
- Flatmate was hospitalized for undiagnosable reasons for nearly a week. I had to accept that whatever she had, if it were contagious, I probably had it as well.
- She tested negative for Covid-19 twice.
- I was still scared out of my mind.
- She had acute tonsillitis, which was super weird because she had had her tonsils removed, but that’s just how crazy life is in 2020 – you can grow your tonsils back.
- I woke up a few days ago with a nasty stye in my eye, which I haven’t had since I was a child. Dr. Google told me it’s usually caused by makeup irritation, which is an insult to injury considering I haven’t worn makeup in nearly two months. But I am super irritated.
- I made a terrible decision in weakness and went to the black market American store, buying like 500 dollars and 5 million calories of things I didn’t need. Now sometimes I just sit on the floor in the kitchen and spoon frosting directly from the Betty Crocker container into my mouth for temporary amnesia from self-induced sugar highs. (Rainbow Chip for life)
- Hong Kong experienced a huge spike in positive cases, mostly because a lot of people traveled back to HK after being abroad in the US and the UK. Because of this, new social distancing measures have us in stricter lockdown, like parks, bars, restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, trails, etc., officially closing. We also aren’t allowed back on the school campus, where I was sneaking to use the fast internet for my online teaching.
- The other teacher in my year group found out her brother had gone missing on a hunting expedition on a remote island in New Zealand. We feared the worst, given the temperatures and the terrain. They did three days of search and rescue before de-escalating to search and recover (a body, if possible).
- Due to my homemade bread habits and other things I won’t take responsibility for (food is good, okay?!) I have gained (conservatively) six pounds.
- In all of this, my flatmate decided to move back to the States permanently. So now I am alone alone.
I love my flattie, and this time has been so stressful that we have become even more important to each other. Her leaving was devastating. For both of us, it was the longest we’d lived with anyone who wasn’t a family member. We are really similar and get along so well that it was like losing a sister.
I’ve never lived alone. I’ve never wanted to (because is the spider going to kill itself?! Lol no). Since I’m moving out in May when the lease ends, it’s not like I can decorate and try to make the space my own or anything like that. There’s nothing to enjoy about it or look forward to.
All of this together added up and I got overwhelmed with a deep sad. The kind that makes your fingers too heavy to text back, where nothing makes sense and nothing matters and I stayed in my room, black-out curtains drawn, AC on high so I could wear a sweatshirt, ignoring everything except pasta. Pasta doesn’t ask questions. Pasta has cheese and I can usually add bonus cheese. Pasta understands.
When things get this bad I try to make myself repeat what I know is true and good. To stop the cycle in the too much that is my mind and my feelings.
And I have a few miracles to report.
- I am healthy. Frustrating foot thing aside, I am healthy.
- I am working, which keeps my mind mostly busy. I am getting paid for this work.
- I have a place to live and it’s comfy.
- The sun still rises every day even if I don’t see it clearly.
- I did fracture my foot. However, putting me securely into my living room to do nothing but get chubb(ier) and write, led me to scribble out a viral blog post and get re-invigorated about my writing dreams.
- This foot injury also kept me from the gym twice a day. Two weeks ago, I received an email that a gym member had tested positive. The times they listed for the visits matched the evening times I usually go. God saved me from that contact.
- My colleague’s brother, lost on that island in New Zealand, against all odds, was found in the bush. He had survived three days on the deer he had shot and some local plants. Absolute miracle.
- When my flatmate was hospitalized, I was politely uninvited from a bachelorette party, which I was initially upset about, but understood. One of the main activities was a karaoke party. Hong Kong just saw an outbreak of cases at karaoke bars. All karaoke bars are now closed. God saved me from that (none of the girls got it, but it still gave me a grateful pause).
I don’t yet know what else God is saving me from or preparing me for amidst all this madness in the world. I can hope that I’m ready. I can hope I approach it with a good attitude (ugh. Working on it) and a sense of humor (intact). While I wait, while you wait, while we do our part and stay inside and support the work being done, here are some new ideas for how to entertain yourself!
Warning – I’m a bit weird.
- Eat everything in your house before you grocery shop again. This will lead to some cool moments where you will try and balance the sodium content of your canned tuna with your Top Ramen until you remember that nothing matters in quarantine, just do it! I’ve also eaten a LOT of popcorn.
- Now that you are home all the time, you might realize how freaking much you shed hair. Collect this hair and donate it to the birds outside your window, that have now become your dearest friends.
- Pick a word that defines your mood and search your music library for how many songs exist with that in the title. I had a go:
- “California” – 10 songs
- “Home” – 56 songs
- “Lonely” – 20 songs
- “Naptime” – none? What the heck. I need to write a song.
- Place a bet each morning on how many dishes you will use in a day. Who knew so many?
- Figure out how much toilet paper you have like this hilarious dad. (mild language) Realize we can all calm down about toilet paper.
I wonder when I can ever get home, and what it will be like, and when we might ever feel normal again, and how many things will have changed. It’s been ten weeks with no end in sight over here, so thank you to those who have been checking in. My extrovert is showing in this, and I really appreciate feeling not so alone in all the madness.
Until next time – take care of yourself and each other.