To begin with, my son was hospitalized at the beginning of the pandemic and we couldn’t get inside to see him or know what was happening with him. While that was happening I was trying to teach English as a second language to my 61 intensive students who normally are with me five days a week from 9 to 3 in person. I spent at least 10 hours a day working and trying to manage, making YouTube videos and discovering Zoom. Complete insanity.
In the meantime, I was cut off from my family in the United States. I have never spent so long away from them in my entire life.
And then I got breast cancer! Having breast cancer during a pandemic is completely crazy. You’re not allowed to have people come in with you for treatments, you have to wear a mask throughout treatments, you are constantly stressed out about catching Covid or something else because your immune system is low, there is constant fear of delays in treatment because of hospitals being overwhelmed … the fact that I was sick during Covid meant that I could not go home to visit even with special permission because I would not be allowed into the hospital for treatments if I travelled outside of the country (not enough time to quarantine between treatments).
My aunt passed away and I could not go home to grieve with family.
All of that said, I think the most amazing thing is that I realized how lucky and easy it was for me compared to others. One thing about this pandemic is that the impact on people is universal and we can all empathize with each other. I realize the safety nets I put in place for myself and the relationships I have maintained are what saved my butt. Some choices I made paid off, some massive privilege came into play, patience, dumb luck, hope … oh, and always looking up at the sky and turning to nature and art for comfort!