COVID-19 has changed my life in many ways. Six months passed, I managed to make through in the time of COVID-19. This is my version of “Eat pray Love” story – started from March 2020…
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I love food. I especially love Italian food. When I lived in the west side of LA, I used to go to an Italian restaurant, called “Louis’s ” every weekend. I loved the atmosphere there. The paintings on the wall brought me a sense of gracefulness and joy.
Above all, I liked the garlic bread there. It was hand-made, I could see the marks of finger pressure on the bread. The bread was served with the black sesame oil and olive oil. I always had 3-4 pieces as appetizer, probably another 1-2 as dessert.
I also liked their seafood cioppino. It was combination of shrimp, mussel, fish, cooked with tomatoes. When I ordered, I asked them to take out the noodles, so that I had room for bread.
Since COVID-19, many restaurants were forced to close. Even they were allowed to open, people could not have meal inside. The only place to get the food is grocery store. After a month of quarantine at home, I had this craving for garlic bread. And it didn’t go away for days. I didn’t know how to cook. I had to come with some “creative” solution…
Before the grocery shopping, I normally write down the shopping list. I added the “garlic bread” in my shopping list. When I was in the store, I stopped at frozen section. I scanned rows by rows to look for the bread. I discovered they did have garlic bread. I picked one box.
When I got home, I put couple of pieces in the microwave. Minutes later, the wonderful smell filled the kitchen. When I took a big bit, the familiar garlic taste kicked in. It was not exact the same as what I had in “Louis’s”, but I felt content and happy. The craving was cured.
The grocery store has become happy place for me, and probably the only place I go now. I discover many other things that I didn’t “see” before. I have found my favorite french rolls, cake, and spicy source… I think I will be fine even the restaurants are not allowed for dine-in for another 6 months.
I always had the terrifying thoughts, what could I do if the gym is closed. Gym is one of the things that I cannot live without. In the gym, I jog on treadmill, take cycling class, play racquet ball, and swim.
At march, I received an email from gym saying that they were closed due to COVID-19. I had been expecting this to happen, but was still shocked that it actually happened.
The first thing I did was to order a bike. I searched online for a bike with reasonable price. I found a perfect an Exercise Bike with reasonable price online. The pedals are under the seat so that I can stand on the peddles, just as the ones in gym. I made the order on Sunday. They delivered on Friday. I remembered it was a rainy day. The delivery lady rang the bell and left. I opened the door, and saw the package of the bike on my front porch. A big “Thank you!” to the lady from the bottom of my heart!
I setup the bike to face the TV, so I can watch TV while riding the bike. In this way the time would pass quickly.
I watched a lot documentaries from Netflix in this way. One of them was “Dirty money”. During the whole time, my heart was sinking. I could not believe the bankers, the businessmen, the law makers would go extra miles and shamelessly steal old people’s hard-earned money.
One of episode is called “Guardians, Inc.” Near the end, the old man, whose properties were taken by the evil-minded lawyers and law enforcement officers, said sadly “This is America … I cannot believe how America became like this…” Tears rolled out of my eyes immediately.
I believe he spoked for a lot of people, who came to this country with great expectation. Things had became ugly in recently years …
Let me talk about some shows that are uplifting! I always like to watch travel program, especially there is food involved. I used to watch Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts unknown”. The shows opened my eyes to the places that I knew a little about. Recently I watched “Street Food: Latin American”, in which I got to know women I regarded as my heroines.
Those women grew and lived in a very cruel environment. The living conditions were brutal, the work was arduous. But they uphold to the land and survived. No everybody was born equal, and not everybody was treated fairly. I used to say to myself “you are not the lucky one”. After watching that, I say to myself “looking at them, you are the lucky one ”.
Before the gym was closed, I used to take spinning class twice a week. Now I exercise on bike five times a week, thanks to those TV shows!
When we were busy, we always said we wish to have time to take a break, sleep or go somewhere far away. COVID-19 gives us free time generously. I believe this is a gift, I can use the time to pick up my French again.
Three years ago, I started to study Spanish, because I wanted to live in Spain for a while. There were many greatest artist coming from Spain, such as Picado, Dali and Miro. Miro is my favorite. His painting has no logical and playful. They speak to me somehow. I thought Spain must be a special place, and maybe I could get some inspirations if I live there.
Finally two years ago in 2018, I got the opportunity to visit Spain. I did a web APIs project for a tech startup there. Most time I explored the places. I visited many art museums and tried different food. I enjoyed walking in their narrow, stone paved streets. The shadow from the houses keep me cool in the hot summer, the tower with clock appeared then disappeared while I was walking from block to block.
Gradually I discovered the dark side. I didn’t feel I was welcomed in the restaurants, in Barcelona, in Malaga. The waiters passed by in front of me, I was transparent to them. They were nice to other English-specking customers, but not me. After this happened a few times, I realized my face didn’t look like an American to them. I left Spain after two months’ stay.
After I came back to LA, I started to study French. However I was too busy to keep it up last year. This year COVID-19 came to mess up everything, it is perfect time to pick up again.
When I get up in the morning, I spend an hour to study French. Spanish and French share similarities. But French pronunciation is more difficult because of the liaison sound. Two words put together sound very different from saying individual word separately.
Speaking in “French way” seems crucial for other people to understand. So I look up every word and sentence in the translate app and repeat after their sounds. The approach prolongs the learning time, but I think it’s worth it.
So far, I have finished the grammar book, I move on to the dialog Learn French the Fast and Fun Way with Online Audio. I plan to visit France next year when COVID-19 is not longer with us and travel ban is lifted. I know racism exists in every corner of the world, but this will not stop me from seeing the world.
4. One more thing
COVID-19 has been with us for 6 months. The United States of America is seeing one of its darkest time, pandemic, riots in the street, bad justice, bad leadership in the White House. And here, California is experiencing the worst wildfire in the history. I haven’t seen blue sky for a week. And it seems the wildfires are not going to stop anytime soon.
I remember the quotes from the movie “Stripes” – “We’re all very different people… we’re Americans. With a capital “A”, huh? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We’re the underdog. We’re mutts!”. USA is the only place we can stay, and we have to make it better.
Update in 12/2020: For the first time in my life, I voted.