It seems too easy/expected to lament on how COVID-19 has taught me a lesson or two in gratitude, compassion and perspective. But, I think in this case, the end justifies the gush. Plus, a lack of social interaction has most certainly led to an increased affinity towards cliche sentiments. So, if you care to indulge me, here’s what I have discovered, or rather rediscovered, during this pandemic.
Granny was a champ
Yorkshire-born Gran was a tough, turquoise cardigan-clad woman. Having spent her childhood in one of the most heavily bombed parts of England during World War II, resilience and practicality formed the epicenter of her DNA. Food was rationed, garments were hand-sewn and repaired, wrapping paper was ironed and reused. Likewise, I imagine her immense passion for gardening (my grandparents owned and lived on a plant nursery) was born out of need.
By no means am I suggesting I understand what granny must have gone through, nor what it was like for Czechs and Slovaks during communist times when perennial shortages were the norm. My cupboards are well stocked, along with the local grocery stores, with just a few exceptions. I imagine granny would have had a chuckle over the worldwide hysteria over toilet paper and flour shortages. What a remarkable woman she was.
Mum and Dad are superstars
For many of us, home office has become the new norm. I feel very fortunate to have a job that can easily be done from home. On top of that, COVID-19 coverage keeps our paper afloat while other companies and employees are feeling the economic impact of the virus.
My mum, an executive administrator, and my dad, a police chief and vice principal, are working beyond their normal hours at the moment to ensure the safety and well-being of others in my hometown in New Hampshire. Like granny, I am inspired by their example. Stay healthy, Mum and Dad!
Exercise is vital to my happiness
I’ve been a keen runner for most of my life, but some days I’m less eager to run than others. However, since I have been spending most of the day at home while Bratislava shines with the splendors of spring, I really treasure my daily runs in the park. Breathing in the fresh air (through a mask) and feeling my skin warm under the renewing sunlight is truly blissful. Endorphins are invaluable in times like these.
I LOVE to bake
Yesterday, I made bagels. A few days before that, a decadent carrot cake and loaves of homemade bread. My love for baking has reached obsessive levels, further encouraged by watching many, too many to count, YouTube videos of the Great British Baking Show, Mary Berry’s classics and Nadiya Hussein’s insanely scrumptious concoctions. Like running, baking feeds my mood and the investment I made in dried yeast two weeks ago has certainly paid off.
It looks like we are in it for the long haul when it comes to COVID-19. Like so many, I worry about my family and the vulnerable among us. The mass loss of life in countries I have had the privilege of visiting in the past is deeply saddening.
So, let’s look out for one another, check in with our family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues, and follow the advice of the medical professionals working tirelessly on our behalf. Stay home, stay informed and hold fast and true to the lessons learned from this pandemic.
PS: Last Friday, people clapped from their balconies across Slovakia to express their gratitude for all those working on the front line of the fight against COVID-19. Check it out!