It has been a long week. A hard week. An exhausting week.
It’s hard to believe that just seven days ago we woke up thinking we were almost a week into three weeks of a few tightened measures. Yes, we could meet up with less people and yes, gyms (a mental health saviour for many of us) were closed. But in the general scheme of things and although it felt like a step backwards, things were still pretty good.
Within the space of 48 hours, restaurants were closed, group sizes were reduced to 2 and home schooling for kids over the age of seven had been announced.
Our slow but consistent progress over the past 12 months was erased in what seemed like minutes.
I don’t know about anyone else but I, for one, went into shock. I’m pretty sure I’m still in denial even though I’ve hardly seen anyone for days and I’ve got one Thing doing hime based learning and a husband who was starting to go back to the office now holed up in our bedroom again.
Since last weekend, rumours have abounded all over what really is a very small island adding to anxiety and uncertainty. WhatsApp groups and social media feeds have buzzed with the latest news bulletins, the staccatto of daily case rates and thinly veiled hostility during debates about whether or not families should risk sending to school the few children who are allowed to go.
Last year we were all in it together, or so it felt. This year we’re doing all this while the rest of the world – at least the one I’m looking at – seems to be opening up.
I’m trying to keep perspective. The case rate might be higher but still, the risk of catching COVID is tiny here. We live in a place that is incredibly safe and has taken swift measures to shut things down. We have so much to be thankful for including a house, food, a healthy family, all the privileges we enjoy as a white middle class family with a *good* passport.
We live on a great island that has masses to do despite its small size. I love living here. I love the lifestyle, the people, the food, the climate (ok, my hair doesn’t love the climate), the culture, that so many cultures live here for us to experience in one place. I love that I can drive five miles from my house and really feel like I am travelling.
I got to make my vaccine appointment this week, Thing 1 has (notwithstanding a few choice words and actions) taken home based learning in his stride and I’ve appreciated the enforced slowing down. I’ve worked out every day this week, I’ve made time for meditation and I’ve started a new writing workshop online – something that wouldn’t have even been offered a year ago. Best of all, you my gorgeous, lovely, wonderful Wanderlusters have checked in on us sending virtual hugs, virtual wine and all sorts of other virtual support.
And yet the overriding feeling this week was defeat.
It isn’t just that despite how hard we have all worked to stay safe that there has been a spike that came hard enough and fast enough to spook the government although there was that too.
The worst part of it all that is that we were making slow but sure improvements towards getting home to see everyone and this week we have seen that hope evaporate before our eyes.
I know we will all be fine. I’m determined not to let this get me down and I will work hard every day to walk on the side of perspective and gratitude rather than toxic positivity.
It doesn’t mean it’s not hard, it just means I’m going to get stronger.
Honestly, I don’t think the governments worldwide know quite how to handle this whole situation. In late December I bought a place ticket to visit my family in Mexico after 2+ of not seeing them. That trip took place in January. To me the final deciding factor was that no one can guarantee how many days we will live, and I felt if I were to die after seeing them, then I’d very happy. Went there. Spent the first week pushing everyone away and then when I was tested negative, I began to enjoy the trip. Came back to the US. Someone in my household was careless and got infected and then she spread it to all of us. I will be forever thankful to God that none of us died, and the disease for us was not really worse than a really really bad cold. The truth is we cannot calculate. We’ve got to trust God and our hearts and go for it. I imagine in your case, traveling home may very well imply the risk of losing your housing, belongings, source of income. Just know that you are not alone. By writing and sharing you are a tremendous source of encouragement to everyone. I, for one, would much rather stay in Singapore than here. Best wishes, and as Rick Steves says, “Keep on travelin'”
I’m so happy that you were able to safely seee your family1 And also that you have all recovered well after catching the virus. Take care and stay safe xx