Silver Lining

I want to be original. That’s what I want to think. I don’t want to repeat the words already said, the advice that has been repeatedly spoken, and the multiple reminders to keep myself healthy.

I want to travel and this is the Summer I will not be going anywhere. I’ve already accepted this fate. I know I can go somewhere but the borders are still tentative, the air still risky, and the world is just re-opening it’s doors. Instead of dwelling on things I cannot do, I have decided to make this a relaxing Summer by engaging in mundane things -but find joy in them.

I’ve already started doing some of these things since the stay at home order. I’ve been experimenting with baking and cooking more. If you want to check out my Instagram culinary experiments, head over to my account and travel the world with me:

Here’s a sample of my cooking:

I’ve also been happily doing chores and while the last 2 months should have been a time of reflection or silence, I have kept myself somewhat busy everyday. Each day, I assign myself a chore whether it is sweeping the basement or dusting. Some days when I feel caught up, I read more chapters in a book before taking a break to bake or cook. Last Summer, I spent time de-cluttering and worked in earnest practicing the Marie Kondo method. I was able to rid of clothes I no longer wear and sold quite a bit at garage sales. But I still have more to rid and that could be a project this Summer.

Another area that I’ve improved is making use of what I have as I’m sure we have all experienced. I have maintained grocery shopping to every 2 weeks and have recently stretched it to 3 weeks. I may not have fresh produce on my 3rd week (even 4th if I stretch it), but it’s okay. I enjoy planning meals now for 3 weeks (soon to be 4 weeks) so I don’t spend an extended time in the market. I think this has also saved me some money believe it or not.

For work, I’ve learned a few techy skills like having meetings via Zoom or Google Meets. I have learned to annotate pdf documents using the tool on Zoom (Google didn’t offer this feature) and created more Google slides as part of an activity related to my work. I’ve had many oops moments such as not being to see others during a call or audio issues. Given all that, I realize I can do this remote work but I’m not choosing it full time if I had a choice. Just not my cup of tea.

I’ve listened to more podcasts than I can remember in the past, mostly from NPR. I love Hidden Brain, a few free things on Blinkist, How I Built This, and recently rediscovered Work Life by Adam Grant. On Work Life, I heard the song by Alex Cornell titled “I’m On Hold”. I thought this song was funny, gives you a sense of perspective while holding, or even waiting in line. Here’s the link: I’m on Hold

I’ve heard a lot of dissent from people about wearing masks. I recently heard this podcast about our own (American) culture and how much we value individualism versus collectivism. For example, in China, because it’s a communist country, the people easily oblige when told to do something. In America, we have protests and what not even if it collectively helps the worlds health. I’ve also heard how we need to look at ourselves as citizens of the world and not just our nation. We are, after all, here to use the world individually or collectively.

Anyway, some things I want to TRY to accomplish this Summer while continuing my stay at home might include reading, planning my dream destination for later this year or next year (watch out Seoul, I’m coming for you!), taking long walks, hiking/walking the trail, limiting my travel outside the house, planting, making things like this DIY bird feeder, and engaging in nostalgic dreams. I’m not saying I’m doing all of the above, just some ideas to keep my wandering brain from spilling negativity about how I can’t travel this Summer.

This gazebo was recently put up after being in a box for 15 years. Yes, that used to be the culprit of buying and not enjoying things. So now it’s up. If we get 60 mph winds, I wouldn’t care much where it goes as long as it doesn’t cause damage to others. I can pretend this is my oasis while enjoying a cup of coffee or iced tea. Life can be simple and unpretentious. I’d like that very much this Summer.

If you’re a Summer traveler like me, what are some things you’ll be doing if staying at home? Share your ideas in the comment section. Who knows, we might find a thing or two in common, or find your ideas interesting. After all, we are playing the collective card to help the world heal.

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