By Michelle Vanderbyl
Covid. Coronavirus. Masks. Face shields, Social distancing. Hand sanitizer. Quarantine. Self-isolation. Social bubble. Cohort. The curve. New normal. New traditions. Virtual hugs. Virtual classes. Virtual chats. Zoom meetings. Covid hot spot. Covid fatigue.
Suddenly, at the end of March, all of us had to learn some new words. It did not take long before these words became part of our everyday vocabulary. That was all we heard on the TV and radio. And now most of us are using them just as we do any other words.
It has been quite the experience for all of us. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would live through a period of unknown territory like this. A pandemic.
I found it very stressful the first time I went grocery shopping back in Ontario. Wearing a mask was not a pleasant experience. Follow the arrows! It always seemed that what I was looking for was the wrong way of the arrows, so I had to go around the other aisle and come back to get what I needed. Next aisle … OOPS! Again, wrong way! I will admit, I have been seen walking backwards down the aisle instead of going around again!
Now, I think I have everything on my list. On to the cashier to pay. No cash please! The virus could live on plastic money! Don’t forget to use the hand sanitizer before, during and after!
At the beginning of April, when everyone was doing renovations and/or a major spring cleanup, we could phone the local hardware store, order what we needed and collect it outside. That was handy! What you ordered is what you got, so we saved some money. There was no impulse shopping – walking down the aisle, seeing something you need, putting it in your cart, paying for it. Leaving the store with five things when you only went in there to buy two!
I was always hesitant about shopping online. Entering my credit card number on my computer was a bit out of my comfort zone. When only the essential stores were open, most people started shopping online. And so did I. The delivery person’s white van soon became a regular sight on our country road. Many neighbours ordered online too and kept this person very busy!
Going out for dinner is always a treat. Since March, we have ordered take-out a few times and also enjoyed eating on a patio. But I must say, I have never cooked so many home-made meals as I have in the last few months. The recipe books I have bought over the years have proven very useful!
There were no annual trips or annual visitors this summer. Thank goodness for the phone and Zoom meetings, so we could keep in touch with family members and friends. It’s just not the same, though. Virtual hugs? Can’t wait to give a real one!
During Thanksgiving weekend, we realized how fortunate we are to live in the country where we can walk breathing in fresh air, without a mask! There is lots of room to exercise and do some gardening. We didn’t have a family Thanksgiving dinner this year. To the people in our bubble, I served apple pie, cake and cookies in the middle of the afternoon on the picnic table. My mother-in-law used to call this “tea time.” It’s a lot less work than preparing a whole meal! A new tradition for us?
Now back in Huatulco, we are learning new Spanish words: el cubreboca (face mask), una sana distancia (safe distance), lava tus manos (wash your hands). To protect ourselves, our Mexican friends, and our community, we are practicing social distancing, wearing our masks and hand washing and sanitizing just as we did back home in Canada. Stay safe and stay healthy.