It’s been … I don’t know … a long time now. Officially over a month but the days just seem to rumble along like sleepers on a railroad track. One after another. In school we are on an 8 day cycle but a cartoon I saw somewhere online sums it up best as:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Just another “day” but much has changed since I last wrote. For starters the Malaysian government extended the MCO (Movement Control Order) scheduled to expire on April 28th until May 12th. However, the situation is “fluid” meaning I guess it could be extended further still. The news is consistently depressing and projections of the future look bleak and uncertain at best. But … if I dig a little deeper there is a lot that I know I should be thankful for.
For starters we have settled into a consistent routine. During the weekday we wake up around a lazy 7:00am (compared to the 5:00am wake ups before lockdown). That leaves just enough time to have a nice breakfast and coffee before starting a screen staring contest and “virtual teaching.” Coupled with going to bed between 9:00-10:00 that still leaves 8+ hours of sleep each day. Easy. So I am thankful for getting enough sleep. But more importantly, I am thankful that I have a safe and comfortable home. Yes, I would love a private pool and a two trees in a yard to string a hammock … but when I am reminded of the reality of millions, nay billions, around the world for whom running water and a safe place called home is but a dream I have no right to even think of complaining.
Speaking of virtual teaching, our grade 2 team now has a bit of system in place sharing the workload and responsibilities so, while it is still tiring on account of the excessive screen-time and sitting, there is rhythm to the day. From 8-10:30 work on the next day’s Activities and try to get ahead on some curriculum work for “next year” then 10:30-11:00 Zoom with class. 11:00-12:30 start to approve some Seesaw posts and give feedback. 12:30-14:00 make lunch, eat lunch when the rest of the family is done with their classes at 13:15, then clean up. 14:00 some days meetings, other days time time to keep approving and giving feedback setting the stage for the next day. 16:00 finish making slides, posting Activities, etc. for the next day. 16:30-17:30 workout. Then shower, get dinner ready, do dishes, maybe read/play the uke/a board game. In bed by 9:00ish and repeat. So I am thankful that I have developed a routine that keeps the weekdays passing surprisingly fast. I don’t really have the time to be bored or engage in soul searching. But perhaps more importantly, I am thankful that I even have a job and get paid. I don’t have to figure out how to make ends meet living pay check to pay check. That was my reality the last time things got this bad in 2008 where our family lost everything and I don’t want to relive those times ever. The hard choices. The tears. And unfortunately I know that is a reality many families are facing or will face soon.
The weekends are a little different with more time for lazy breakfasts, but we have settled on Saturday being the do work, chores, etc. day and then Sunday is the “off day” with a chance to just be and not have to worry about accomplishing anything for the day. So I am thankful that because there is so much time available we are able to explore in the kitchen. From baking bread to making lasagna and cheese. All great learning experiences and something that I think we will carry on doing more regularly when “normal” resumes. But perhaps more importantly, I am thankful for all those little things I usually take for granted: water, power, internet, groceries … this and more we have and have not needed anything really.
So perhaps what I am really reflecting on is a sense of perspective. Yes this lockdown situation sucks. Yes life is not normal. Yes I could complain – but I choose not to because in the grand scheme of things my family and I, so far at least, can count ourselves as lucky. We are healthy, happy, and safe – and all the loved ones we know so far (fingers crossed) continue to be so too. And so the countdown continues … May 12 can’t wait to meet you!