Sitting down and finally writing feels so good and something I truly miss doing it as a hobby. When Olena asked me to write about my experience of a lifetime, I was all in to shed some light. The current state of our world right now is very uncertain, unpredictable, and at times scary – and suffice it to say – interesting. The last thing anyone would ever embark upon doing, at a time like this, I did.
It happened so fast.
I have lived in Rhode Island for three years as an aspiring Waldorf early childhood teacher. I’ve had the occasional holiday break where I would fly back home to California. I set up a great life for myself here in Rhode Island, from the side hustles of house-sitting and dog-sitting to being a hostess at a Mexican restaurant. I was proud of myself for being independent.
News of the outbreak came to light and school was cancelled for a week. Myself, being the calm person that I am, thought little of it. “It will pass… it will pass…” I told myself. “People are exaggerating…. everything will be back to normal soon. My grandparents, who are in their 80s and also live fifteen minutes from me, immediately quarantined themselves.
It did not get “that serious” for me until my grandma, strong-willed as she is, strongly urged me to think about going home. My parents seemed very worried, as any parents would be. Schools were cancelling, events were being postponed, stores and restaurants were closing, and I had nothing here anymore to cling to except my independence… and leaving would completely tear that away. It was only then that I realized COVID-19 was much more serious than I’d initially thought. I went through so many emotions: sadness, happiness, confusion, anxiety, madness, gladness, being worried about our world, and lastly thankfulness all within a course of a few days. I made the tough decision to go back home for the time being on April 3rd and I was on the plane to go home on April 5th.
It happened so fast.
April 5th was my traveling day and I was a prepared nervous wreck. I FaceTimed with my parents the night before to show off my DIY bandana mask for the airplane and to talk through the dos and don’ts of traveling during a pandemic. Normally, the thought of going home would excite me, but this time I was overcome with nervousness about my health.
The airport, normally bustling with people going to and fro, was very quiet and had an eerie atmosphere. Having a positive mindset for pretty much anything, I noticed that the TSA line would be a breeze to get through and for any avid traveler, that is something from a dream. Almost everyone had a mask on and was practicing safe social distancing. There were only nineteen people on my first flight to Chicago and everyone had plenty of room to have a few rows to themselves. Every chance I had, I practiced being kind and showed my appreciation for the crew. When I got on my connecting flight to California I felt a sense of relief.
I landed safely in California and I was in self-quarantine for 14 days. I wore a mask at home in the presence of my family. Now it is April 25th and I am overcome with gratitude. I am exactly where I am supposed to be; I truly believe that. All my feelings in Rhode Island prior to arriving home I do not have anymore. I am calm. Even now, at times I do feel that the world is a scary place and I am unsure about the future of the human race, but I know it will pass. I have accepted our new normal. It takes courage to face our fears and bravery to be successful in our paths. Whatever life throws at us, we become that much stronger. I am changed from my experience and I hope that everyone is taking this time to focus on what is important and to take this time to be present with the people around them and to embrace our new normal.
A quote by Rudolf Steinerthat has been with me for some time. I try to take it with me anywhere I go and I pass it on to you:
“Steadfast I stand in this world-Rudolf Steiner
With certainty I tread the path of life
Love I cherish in the core of my being
Hope I carry out in every deed
Confidence is what I imprint upon my thinking
These five lead me to my goal
These five define my existence”
Thank you Matisse Silva for sharing your experience with The Travel Bug Bite! For more stories related to COVID-19, check out Isaac’s experience getting tested in Rhode Island.