I wake up and scroll through the notifications of my phone. It is flooded with messages from the senior’s group chat of my school. Some are talking about how sad it is that the graduating class of 2020 does not get a graduation, while others are saying that it is selfish to say so when there are people dying out there. I am sad as well, but not as much. Have I not come to terms with the reality I have been placed in, like some child? Suddenly, I realize that I have lived this reality before.
Travelling between different continents with my parents who were humanitarian workers, in middle school I ended up in the only place that shared two continents – Turkey, a country wedged between Europe and Asia. There I homeschooled for four years, taking classes online. They were the same as the Pre-Calculus 12 classes I now have online on Microsoft Teams. Other than online school, the pattern of my life in Turkey consisted of baking, going to the nearby beach with the one Korean friend I had in the neighbourhood, and watching movies extensively.
At this time of quarantine, as I use my spatula to swirl the batter in the glass bowl, participate in online classes, take walks with a friend, or plan virtual movie nights – I notice the same pattern from years ago. I feel the same determination welling up inside of me in order to hold on to the health of my mind, to not let go and sink into the pit of desperation. Yet this time, it is different. When I got tired of the isolation and solitude during my life in Turkey, I came back to Canada in 2017. But in 2020, the whole world froze.
This week, there was an announcement here that some restrictions would be loosened. I meet up with my friends in the neighbourhood, and we go biking or sit on the grass and talk. There is none of the frenzy of going from shop to shop, consuming materials. When it is time to go home for dinner, we walk home in the sunset, marveling at the skies. I notice another similar pattern here, one that consists of reminiscing about our childhood, when we used to go out to play under the sun, and in the cool shade of the trees.
Everybody is forced to stop and think. To rest from the strife of life for success and to learn patience, care for family. To remember God. I listen to others’ troubles over a call, and it heals both of us broken human beings. Still I wonder, if I return to that time when I was living my life, will I have changed? God, how long will this be prolonged? Every day I am struck down by the nothingness of quarantine life, but I must say that I am not truly dejected. There is always hope, as long as there is breath and life in the world and as long as the skies can pour out their sunsets. And so, while the world is whirling like a storm and the news is flooded, and death creeps in the fringes of people’s minds – I live on in the still eye of the hurricane.