Coronavirus Diaries: Irene Si

With+all+this+extra+time+on+my+hands+during+quarantine%2C+I%E2%80%99ve+been+able+to+pick+up+a+lot+of+new+hobbies+as+well+as+rediscover+my+passion+for+old+ones%2C+like+reading+manga.+Right+now%2C+I%E2%80%99m+catching+up+on+the+Detective+Conan+series.%0A

With all this extra time on my hands during quarantine, I’ve been able to pick up a lot of new hobbies as well as rediscover my passion for old ones, like reading manga. Right now, I’m catching up on the Detective Conan series.

Irene Si, Copy Editor

Coronavirus Diaries is a series of diary-type entries written by students and staff documenting the day to day activities and experiences in quarantine. If you are interested in submitting an entry, contact us at chspurpletide@gmail.com 

At first, I was excited. I couldn’t help but feel a wave of joy wash over me when I heard school that Friday was canceled, and I still didn’t feel bothered when it was later confirmed that school would be canceled for the rest of the year. While seniors would be missing their graduation and last year of high school and juniors were left to navigate exams and testing on their own, I was relieved. I was relieved that I didn’t have to run on five hours of sleep, that P.E was no longer an every-other-day struggle and that I finally had the time to do what I wanted without constantly worrying about my grades. At that time, the list of pros seemed to go on and on.

It was soon enough when the cons of quarantine came to the surface. It was boring at first, to say the least. When school was still in session, I’d have very little time to explore my passions or hobbies. Every waking hour was spent eating, studying or doing work for an extracurricular, and I was fine with it, because it kept me busy. However, everything felt off the first couple of weeks because I wasn’t busy. It totally threw me off balance and instead of being able to relax, I spent the majority of my day sitting at my desk, worried that I forgot about an assignment or feeling that I was wasting my time and that I needed to be doing some kind of work. I went to bed unsatisfied, determined to get at least one “productive” thing done the next day, but it never happened. I had lost all structure to my day, and I was confused. 

I love my family and I’m extremely grateful that we’re all healthy and safe. Being at home 24/7 is an amazing opportunity to spend more quality time and bond with your family, but I’ve honestly never felt more separated from all of them. I can’t help but feel as if there’s a growing divide between my parents and me, especially my dad, who always puts up an aloof and uninterested front. There are days when I won’t say a single word out loud, when I’m too exhausted or irritated to try to initiate a conversation with them. There are also days when my door stays shut and my earbuds stay in, feeling like the only comfortable space I have at home is when I’m alone. Then, there are those special days when we’re all sitting close together in the living room, a bowl of snacks on the table in front of us and talking about all kinds of things during commercial breaks while we watch “MasterChef,” choosing to ignore the fights and arguments we had just days before. Even so, it’d be wrong of me to solely put the blame on my family for the awkward nature of our relationship. If anything, quarantine has also given me the chance to reflect on my own shortcomings and the time to mend issues with myself and my family. 

Speaking of being alone, quarantine has made me realize how important my friends are to me and how much I depend on them for a good laugh or a shoulder to cry on. It would be an understatement to say I miss them a lot, and I try to video call them as much as possible. One thing we do that really brightens up my day is getting on Zoom or Houseparty and having a study session together, where we simply focus on completing our work and keep each other in check if either of us has the urge to go on our phones. Sometimes we’ll skip work and just chat about everything that goes through our heads, staying up until one of us sees that it’s already two in the morning or until we get too sleepy. Even though we haven’t seen each other face-to-face in so long, it’s a relief to know that we’re still each other’s rocks and anchors during this tumultuous time. 

The only word I could use to describe my experience in quarantine so far is “rollercoaster.” I have so many ups and downs, so many good days, and so many bad ones. I’ll cry after overthinking too much and then try a new recipe I saw from a Buzzfeed Tasty video with my sister, crying again from laughter after miserably failing. Besides my friends and family, nothing feels consistent in my life anymore, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Sometimes I think the routine I was forced into when I had school and when the times were “normal” was the thing holding me back from fully enjoying my life as a teenager. Even though there are more rules and limitations on life than ever, I haven’t had so much freedom since I was a little kid. By pushing my comfort zone and the things I’m used to doing, I’m learning a lot of new things about myself. For one, having the chance to stay up until three or four in the morning with no consequences made me rediscover myself as a night owl, even after believing I was a morning person for the longest time. I’ve gotten to know what foods I truly like and dislike. My weekends are finally empty and I can spend hours narrowing down my tastes in music and binge-watching various genres of movies and TV shows. I’ve finally been able to find a balance in my life with work and fun. 

Of course, I’m fully aware of the blessings in my life and I’m very thankful for my situation, especially when there are billions of people who are suffering much worse due to the pandemic. My heart goes out to families who are separated, to those who are struggling to earn money and put food on the table, to essential workers and healthcare workers who put their lives at risk in order to help keep society running, to those part of the unemployed labor force and especially to those battling against the coronavirus. It is critical that we all play our part in helping alleviate the impacts of COVID-19 and flatten the curve by following the stay-at-home order and practicing social distancing. I know it’s difficult to stay inside all day, especially when the environment at home can get suffocating, but let’s treat this time as a period of self-growth and reflection while also valuing the health and safety of others.