Updated: Oct 5, 2020
Quarantine Day 35:
I often forget how far away from home I was for grad school and how removed Hanover is from everything else. I remember being able to wake up slowly in my apartment every morning and even with the windows cracked, the day would arrive in a peaceful lull. It’s one of the many things I’ve grown to appreciate about moving to rural New England.
That was barely a month ago. Fast forward to today, with a pandemic quickly underway and a one-way plane ticket across the continental U.S. later, I’m back at my childhood home. Like many other universities across the United States, our spring break has taken an unprecedented extension, moving all classes to a remote format.
It’s a cultural norm for Asian Americans to stay with their parents well into their twenties. As a matter of fact, it’s encouraged - speaking to my experience, it’s having an extra set of hands to help around the house, doing the laundry and dishes (by hand, unfortunately, as my parents possess a profound skepticism of dishwashers). My hands are basically chalk at this point. My personal project for this quarantine is to persuade my family on the cost-effectiveness and sheer convenience of using a dishwasher.
There are no locks on the doors in my childhood home, and I’m woken up by my mom waking me for rice porridge or by the dull cacophony of dogs barking and lawn mowers. I’m so accustomed to waking up to my plain ADULT walls of my apartment, but find it surreal to wake up within the same four walls I was surrounded by during my adolescence - the same two layered shades of pink, with the same white molding my dad put in when we first moved in. I’m turning 25 in a week, and here I am, in the same twin bed I slept in when I was 8. Really moving up in the world.
Unfortunately and hilariously enough, my room is the quietest place in our house with the strongest WiFi connection, making it the ideal setting for my Zoom classes and meetings. I will say, I’m not fully comfortable with it as my permanent classroom for the remainder of the academic year. I don’t think I’ve even had boyfriends that have seen this place, let alone everyone else in my cohort.
And before anyone suggests, why haven’t I just used a Zoom background to spare the embarrassment? I could be on a beach, a library, or even in space; and the answer to that is because I kind of wish I could be there. I’m having FOMO using these Zoom background templates. I’m okay, I promise!
As we’re still all navigating this newfangled version of normalcy, it’s worth mentioning that whatever you might be feeling is completely valid. Amidst the confusion, weirdness and abrupt loneliness, you’re doing the best you can. And that’s totally okay.