As of today, Myanmar has confirmed 8 cases of Covid-19 (coronavirus). I expect those numbers to bloom as time goes on. But this isn’t about ‘Rona…this post is about me. I’m okay (mostly). I know that family and friends were very concerned with me being here in Asia given everything that’s on the news nonstop about this thing.
Work. This past week, my colleagues and I began working from home, still providing classes and counseling support online to students. That was and still is a huge adjustment that we’re getting used to. If we want to get paid, we have to be online “in class” during the same working hours as if we were in school face-to-face. This means that educators and students are sitting at computers or staring at electronic devices for 6 – 8 hours per day! There was a lot of online feedback from back home about teachers giving way too much work and the parents and kids are stressed…yeah, we all stressed buddy! We know, but we still have to do our jobs. I’m not a teacher so my class load is lighter but as a school counselor, my emotional load is heavier, trying to tend to the concerns of both staff and students.
Resources. I’m grateful to have working internet, a comfortable home space, snacks on deck and still being able to work and have income. In Myanmar, it’s very common to have to pay 6-months to a year’s rent upfront, so I’m good until summer. Online ordering is convenient for grocery deliveries, especially the heavier items and cleaning products. I know that a lot of people have it hard or will experience much more severe hardships as a result of this world pandemic.
Social Distancing. While some friends and colleagues have gone back to their home countries while there are still flights, there’s still a good bit of us here that chose to stay. Some folks are still hanging out while others like myself are choosing to only go out for necessities. All the memes and stuff show people losing their minds from being “stuck” at home with their family and not being able to just go out for fun. I laugh, but I’m really okay with it. Another friend of mine joked that having strict guardians and stringent curfews for most of our young lives has prepared us for this moment. Also, being in my late teens early 20’s with no car in Nassau had me “stuck” at home plenty of weekends just talking about any and everything with my aunt.
Most holiday weekends I’m in my apartment from Thursday or Friday when we get off until the following Monday/Tuesday when we return so this is just an extension of that for me. I have weights to do at-home workouts. And scrolling social media, although no productive, makes the time pass for me. This lap though, I’m working to make this time at home more productive. How many new habits can I develop and add into my daily routine?
Grieving. For me, going through this (when it’s still just the beginning) feels like 2020 was a child that disappointed their parent. Like so many others, I looked forward to 2020 – traveling more through Myanmar, job prospects, getting to live with husbae, all the professional learning I was going to do. And although, we know we can’t control or predict the future, right now, we can’t even see a possible future and what it’s going to look like and that sucks. Everything is literally hanging in the air and playing it all by ear or whatever the saying is. A colleague shared this article with me about the discomfort we’re feeling in this moment.
What else? That’s a scary question to ask since this year, each month has brought a much more unpleasant surprise. I feel regret. That somehow I should have been simultaneously saving more, traveling more, doing more. I mean, I can still do more, just from the comfort of my home office.
I guess I should follow the advice I gave to my students this week:
– create a routine and stick to it as much as possible
– take breaks from electronic devices when you can
– spend time with your family having meaningful conversations
– find a hobby.
None of these things will solve the world’s problems but for now, focusing on what you can control is most important, or you will, in fact, drive yourself crazy.