Life in Quarantine

By Christina Kim - April 15, 2020

Stay Home, stay in and stay put is what everyone is told to do and should be doing at this time during this pandemic which is still affecting lives across the globe and forcing countries around the world to impose home confinement upon their population as a measure of containment against this virus. It is not desirable but the severity of the outbreak has left everyone with no choice but to shut down even an entire country's operations (or most of it at least).

It is as though time has frozen and life has paused, just like the dead of winter.
Sometimes it even feels like the entire planet has stopped rotating or people have stopped breathing.
It is really surreal that in a new era we are still slapped with the same kind of outbreak which hit our helpless ancestors back then and we thought that we only saw this in movies or television series. As lockdowns and home quarantine are imposed everywhere around the world, it is obvious that everyone is spending their time at home unless they are required at work such as those in critical segments or healthcare providers. 
Unsurprisingly, many have found it really hard to be confined to their homes and it is not hard to understand as even animals mope when they are not allowed to go out. 
However, while it is not a desirable situation, it is still extremely crucial that everyone complies with the order to ensure the pandemic comes to a controllable level and hopefully to a rest and by then, with the hope that a vaccine solution has also already been developed can we all return to our normal lives as desired. 
It is disheartening to see so many still going out each day or some, even several times a day going about their routines or just finding excuses to go out. It is also frustrating as this non-compliance would lead to severe consequences that they have not considered (or probably choose to just ignore for their self-interests) and just drag this longer.
Restricted movement has definitely restricted also our freedom and will to do whatever we want and that is something which we obviously need to take time to get (and must) used to this temporary (hopefully) life.

I am not sure about you, but honestly, I did not find it half as bad and I do quite enjoy spending time at home. It did give me time to catch up on things that I needed to do when I was always out and about and never had time to before this. Maybe I am also more inward in nature (I always think of myself as partly introverted as well, as a friend once said to me) and I prefer to be indoors even when I was a little girl. Perhaps that was how I developed my relationship with books? Then again, back then, I don't think most of us go out that much  either as we spend our weekdays in school and weekends are filled with family time, not always spent on going out every weekend as there are days when we just stayed in and enjoyed homecooked food. I am sure it is the same for everyone.
I am not fully introverted either as most of the people around me told me either, for I always seem to be out and well, everywhere, so I guess I am more of an ambivert (yes, that's a thing), where I am a bit of an introvert and an extrovert and I believe there are quite a number who fall into this category as well.

I am also blessed as my current work does allows me to operate remotely even during normal times as I usually do virtual conferences with my counterparts and there is quite a bit of a flexibility. Now with even more time at home, I actually found myself running out of time.
That is indeed paradoxical.

There are just so many things to do, if you really were to put your mind into it. As everyone is also working from home, I am sure the daily routine still goes on like the usual weekdays, only home-based but for many that means calling into virtual meetings and conferences, emails, reports and presentations. In fact, some may even found themselves with an increased workload compared to before and it has become even more hectic than ever. Of course it has, for parents, they would have to tend to their children's needs, home schooling,  making sure their children stay disciplined on their schedules and homework alongside housework and meals. Yes, meal preparation have slipped into the busy schedules making it one more to the to-do list. When on normal days, we could have just walked to a cafe or bought our food then return to the workplace, now, we would need to set aside to prepare food, cook, eat and clean up. Of course, there is also the option of ordering food online and have them delivered to your house (the blessing of modern times), however, to minimise risk of infection, I have chosen not to do so unless absolutely necessary. Yet at the same time, my heart goes out to those struggling to survive in their businesses as well, but as I am also adhering to specific needs for health reasons, I choose to prepare my own meals myself.

Yes, I have learnt a thing or two on cooking and even baking (I will be sharing on these stories very soon) and it is definitely a surprise to most who know me as I have not even stepped into a kitchen before this yet for the last few years, things have changed and I found myself learning more about food and their flavours. For those who remember, I am an extremely picky eater from the start and perhaps it is just apt that I would make things that suit myself best. I will share more on the stories of my journey on that in a separate post.

Besides making my own meals, there are many other things I have been filling my time with which I lacked the time and opportunity to do so and are now making up for it and I find that time goes off extremely fast when these things fill up my daily schedule and on top of that, they seem to be increasing by the day on the things I need to do.

1. Cleaning - I am not surprised that there are so many things to clean each and every day. 
    It is amazing how dust seems to accumulate everywhere and every single second and call me meticulous, but I just cannot stand it when I see even dust around. Perhaps it is also due to my hypersensitive skin and health, I have to be extremely careful about dust as it could aggravate me. Therefore, I find myself finding somewhere to clean each and every day in every corner of my house. Yeah, OCD overload is definitely in place.

2. Clearing old junk - I am not an extreme hoarder but it is amazing the number of things I have found absolutely useless lying around the place (I am pinning these as the culprits for dust accumulation as well). Now, it is time for me to sort through them and just get rid of them and trust me, I have been going through several rounds and I see there are still many to be thrown out. I still have yet to get rid of everything as I only have a small window space of time each day to do this and it is never easy sometimes when it comes to sentimental items, taking the time to reminisce on them while there are some that just perplexes me on what made me own them in the first place. So, between the yoyo-ing moment of decision, it is going to take a bit of time but I am aiming to just clear them as soon as I can as they are just driving me crazy lying around. (*Reminds self of minimalism, minimalism, minimalism*)

3. Rearranging - optimising space and also to create a more desirable/ideal environment which is aesthetically pleasing. It does not require having to add anything new and in a time like this, it is a test of creativity to make do with whatever is already in place (either cast them or change their purpose of us) and put them to good use. It can be fun on certain days and frustrating on others as some pieces just do not seem to fit anywhere. I will treat it as a jigsaw puzzle challenge or something.

4. Kitchen skills - as mentioned, I have gotten into cooking and even baking these years, well, baking more or less started last year and it is quite a delight to experiment with everything that are all familiar staples in the pantry yet have taken on a new unfamiliar and exciting prospect to be explored in different aspects.
I will definitely share these stories (and photos as well), which definitely require its own post to elaborate further. I cannot wait to share my experiences, though recipes, I do not think of myself as even qualified yet as I am still an amateur. (*blushes)

5. Reading - Oh yes, this is something that has taken quite a backseat over the years ever since I started working, and moved from one place to another. I used to read like numerous books in a week, and when I went to university, despite my hectic class schedules and even during examinations, I still squeezed in my time to read (sometimes, staying awake or even not watching dramas like my classmates do in favour of my leisure reads). I still kept it up when I first started working but as my jobs change in nature, and there were more traveling due to remote locations of my bases, I found lesser and lesser time to read though I always made it a point to bring along a book or two on my trips. 
I have been aware of my neglect of my reading and books and have been trying to catch up over the years. I have been reading more and more the last few years, and was just catching up before this whole situation started, and now just gives me even more opportunity to get back into my old reading habits. Oh yes, I have increased my reading activity and my reading list, but then again, my to-read list has always been on the increase and I could never finish getting to everything.
(I will be sharing on some book recommendations and reviews separately soon too, for anyone who may be/is interested)

6. Writing - this is obviously something that goes without saying and comes along when I get back into reading and I do not just mean my blog. My blog is just one of my platforms for writing, for even before this, I have also been writing, while for myself, such as journaling, stories, poems, short commentaries, reviews, etc. Following my postgraduate studies, I have even gotten into more research and trying to do my own papers to study elements of interest. I hope to be able to share more of these soon, but obviously, not my journal entries though this blog already serves quite a bit of a journal style.

7. Blogging - I will now find more time to catch up on my backlogs, since I have been dormant for quite a bit (sheepish and flustered by my own negligence of my blog) and I have some backdated travel stories to share as well, which I hope to work on and share though I hope nobody minds that they are way outdated (okay, just backtrack by a year maybe?)

8. Photography - I used to capture things that fascinate me every day, no, I am not into selfies. I remembered even way before this era of selfies or social media craze, I used to own a little camera (remember when I first started out my blog?) and snapped photos of my everyday life to write and update on my blog. Yes, I am now trying to get back into that habit because they just serve as a form of daily photo journal and there are just so many things to ponder, document and maybe, just maybe, I may even get back into putting them on the blog as long as no one finds them boring. Then again, this is my blog :-)

9. Movies/television shows - I used to be not so much of a person who spends a lot of time on what is going on the screen, though I still do watch a bit of television and go to the cinemas once in a while but over the years, I do watch quite a bit of television series as well and I am sure many still remember that I do have a blog dedicated to writing reviews on them (the blog still exists). I will probably be posting reviews again soon, perhaps on selected and recommended tv series/movies/shows which will share my personal perspectives and opinions. Stay tune (every pun intended).

10. Catching up with friends - during this time where everyone is just confined to being at home, virtual communication is connecting everyone regardless of location. Of course, it is also the main mode of communication even before this, but everyone is always busy with something or somewhere, and now with a little more restriction to one's movement, one end up connecting or just pinging a friend once in a while out of boredom or finding that those group chats have increased in intensity and frequency of updates. I found myself even talking to an old friend whom I have lost contact with for years and that is indeed a wonderful thing.

11. Social media updates - just like my blog, they have been victims of my negligence but I am working on some of the updates to feature in my accounts soon. Take note that I am also quite a private person, maybe some already know or noticed this but I will be keeping my social media a little bit more active from now (I will do my best!)

12. Spending time with self - Yes, Me time, though the above already screams self but spending time with one self does not mean doing things for oneself but also really finding that time to connect with oneself. For instance, probably time for quiet thoughts, meditation, taking time to wash our face or shower, and just really, relax and breathe. I think we all need that since we do not do that enough for we are always, always busy with doing everything that we think we are doing for ourselves, but really, when was the last time we actually just sat down and let out mind empty its thoughts and just enjoy a truly peace of mind?
It is essential for our well-being not to mention mental condition.

13. Learning - Learning new things, picking up a new skill or hobby or taking an online course is something that we can all do given the many avenues which are now open for everyone to try out, thanks to the kindness of the learning institutions with many of them now opening up their courses for the people to sharpen their skills while keeping their sanity in check and utilising their time wisely.

I could continue on with this list for there are just a million things to do if we really put our minds into it and there is no reason to be moping or feeling despair over not being able to step out of the house.
There are just so many things to do and if you are at work or school, there are more to your daily schedule which include the work and assignments to complete. Yes, there are limitations to outdoor activities but there is no end to physical activities. Physical activities are not equal to being outdoors, one can find a space to do yoga, pilates, meditation, exercise right in the house and you do not need a huge bungalow complete with a personal gym to do that. All we need is a will and the right mindset, and a way is already there.

Furthermore we are now living in a modern era where we are all equipped and blessed with modern electrical equipment, Internet, packaged non-perishable food and products and inventions that make our lives comfortable (think TV, laptops, air-conditioning, heater, refrigerator, oven, cooking stove, water supply, electricity, etc) compared to our ancestors. It is an imprisonment with luxury. What else is there to complain about?

Rather than lamenting about the limited freedom and missing traveling or things we used to enjoy, focus on the things that we have now and can enjoy.
We have a roof over our heads, clothes on ourselves, food on the table, a bed to sleep on and means to provide for ourselves, we are already in the fortunate group.
Find this time to connect with loved ones, with anyone you have not or want to reach out to, pick up a hobby and most of all, spend time with your loved ones who are indeed with you, your friends and importantly, yourself. Connecting with ourselves may be harder than most of us think.
Find something to be thankful for each day, start the day with a smile and positive thoughts and you will find that it is not that difficult to go by.
Slowly you may even find yourself enjoying yourselves, I know I am and I am thankful for each day while there are many who are battling to fight this pandemic out there and have yet to even have time to stop and breathe, let alone have a list to do to spend their time each day.

Count our blessings and be thankful for each day, just for even being alive.

Stay safe and happy ~

P.S to all the health workers out there, the people who made it possible for us to even breathe...

 "To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeeded"
 - Ralph Waldo Emerson -


*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
Photos/Videos all belong to me and are copyrighted.
Please kindly ask for permission if you need to use any of my images.

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