It’s been one year. Never has a sentence resonated so deeply for me. This past week, I’ve been remembering and perhaps even reliving the events of a year ago. One year ago we stood on the precipice of a deadly virus. Oftentimes days and weeks are blurs for me. But not here. What a long strange trip it’s been.
In February, Dave and I spent almost one week in Barcelona. We were upgraded to a marvelous suite at the Sofia Hotel.
I owe the upgrade to the city’s cancellation of a large tech convention, due to Covid-19. Many of the scheduled attendees were from Asia. At that point, we were still all tiptoeing around the virus, but there was still that feeling that it was in Asia. Barcelona was empty perhaps compared to normal days, but still, there were plenty of tourists around. Covid-19 street art started appearing – and we thought it was so novel at the time. Little did we know.
I think the outbreak in Italy happened during the tail end of my trip. I didn’t know quite how to process this, but I was scared.
In the weeks after our return, Dave and I started taking the threat seriously. We both still went to work, but we were cautious to keep our distance from others, avoiding crowds and primarily staying home at night. Dave and I went to stores like Costco and filled the refrigerator and freezer with plenty of food. You might say that we started practicing or rehearsing for a lockdown. I still don’t think we ever fully comprehended what was to come. How could we?
I was looking forward to my trip to London on March 12th. That obviously didn’t happen because on March 11, 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. I had many friends who were already in Europe traveling, and most scurried to get home like Cinderella after the ball before the travel ban began.
The weekend came, and I had a certificate for a free night at a Hyatt hotel that was expiring soon (I had intended to use it at a hotel in London). Dave and I decided to use that certificate by staying at the Park Hyatt New York that Saturday evening, March 14, 2020 (see, Our Last Pre-Covid Hurrah in NYC – a Night at the Park Hyatt New York). We were careful, but again, it retrospect, it probably wasn’t a wise move.
Monday, I still had to go to work. I was scared to take the subway. Thankfully, Dave drove me. The court shut down the next day, and so began the voyage down the lane of remote and virtual work.
The following months were fraught with fear and sadness as we all lost people near and dear. New York City was in a bad way for quite a while – the constant sound of ambulance sirens was deafening. We stayed home, cooked meals, had groceries delivered, wiped everything down, exercised on the roof (and made happy hour up there too) and rang bells and clanked pots and pans from our windows each night at 7 pm.
I took daily walks in nearby parks.
Basically, we did whatever we had to do to keep our sanity.
We got Zoomified: we attended Zoom Seders, Zoom funerals, Zoom birthdays, Zoom religious ceremonies, Zoom meetings, Zoom educational seminars, Zoom get-togethers. Enough with the Zoom already!
Towards the summer, we went to a few hotels for weekend stays. A few went well, but we were mainly disappointed because there were so many limitations and so many people were not honoring the mask and social distancing mandates. It hardly seemed worthwhile. I think I’ll write another post with a quick rundown on that. This was the scene at the pool at one of the hotels we visited in the summer of 2020.
On a positive note, we discovered we liked nature trails, and looked for them wherever we traveled. This is something we’ll continue to do, even when the pandemic is over. We also got to know how to travel around on the NYC Ferry.
A lot of other things went down during this year that was fragile yet charged with emotions of all sorts. Horrific racial injustice. Violence. Politics (don’t get me started on that). Impeachments. Elections. Even an Insurrection. There were also unifying calls to action and protests.
Speaking of virtual, I did a virtual 130 mile walk around the Hawaiian island of O’ahu.
I also completed the (virtual) New York City Marathon.
The travel industry suffered. Most of them have extended benefits and status, but all I could do was hold onto the benefits hoping I could make use of them someday. My fingers are crossed.
And now, thanks to science and the scientists, we have a vaccine. Well, many vaccines, but all with the same goal: to eradicate this deadly virus. We don’t yet know the extent of protection it brings, but I’m optimistic. Thankfully, I am fully vaccinated (see, I Got the Covid Vaccine at the Javits Center in NYC!)
So is my 94 year old father, who I can now visit again.
Work is as frenetic as ever, but remote practice has taken shape. Sometimes I get tired of answering emails with emails, so I just pick up the phone and call. Curiously, people are so surprised by that.
We’re not really going out to restaurants – unless we are away from home, and even then, we often just bring in food. I’ve learned that the meals I prepare taste better than takeaway food, and I don’t have a strong desire to dine indoors or outdoors at New York City restaurants yet. On another note, I’ve learned how to mix some of my favorite drinks (which is both a blessing and a curse!).
I’ve seen the seasons change, from winter to spring to summer and fall, and back to winter and spring again. I miss people and I’m tired of rescheduling everything from doctors appointments to celebrations to travel. I am ready to travel again – but I need to wait until the restrictions are lifted and the travel experience doesn’t feel so limited. I’m ready to move or perhaps temporarily reside somewhere else. Cohabitating in an 800 square foot residence can be trying.
Only time will tell if we’ve gone full circle or not. But a year has passed and so begins the next chapter. Both locally and globally, I hope that regions with higher infection numbers get safer and that more people get the vaccine and are spared from this and other viruses.
To say it’s been quite a year is a tremendous understatement. Stay safe and healthy.