How quietly and strangely the changes that forever shape us creep into our lives…
As I am writing this, here in Virginia, USA, we have been in quarantine/self-isolation since Friday, the 13th of March. Two months to the day.
As you are reading this, I am very much aware that each and every one of us has a situation that is different and feels the weight of it differently.
If you are a parent, working at home with children around, I commend you! teaching and educating is hard enough, let alone juggling work, household chores, child rearing and teaching. I am in awe of you!
If you are alone and isolated, away from your loved one, your solitude can become stifling and at times, maddening. You are not alone.
If you are challenged by sickness or the virus, or if you know of someone personally affected by it, then you are fighting a battle. I find that it is at times harder to witness our loved ones suffer than for us to suffer ourselves. Keep fighting.
And if you are a healthcare worker or in any capacity directly supporting the livelihood of all of us, putting your life at risk every day, then no amount of “thank you’s” or other material rewards will ever be sufficient to compensate the stress and the sacrifice that you are doing to safeguard strangers. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
If you have worked hard, planned and waited for the celebration of all you have achieved to be postponed indefinitely, I feel your sadness and disappointment. Your accomplishments and success still stand.
If you have been laid off or furloughed, the anxiety of not knowing when things can and would go back to a normal, predictable routine, can be crippling. You are doing the best that you can!
There are myriad of ways in which all of us have been affected by this global situation. Even when we are well, still have a job, safety and financial security is at hand, the prevalent heaviness can be overwhelming.
And even though I am, by nature, a positive and optimistic creature, I feel ill at ease telling you that “things will be ok”, or, “this too shall pass”, or “to be productive and use this time wisely” because I think it is really hard to believe in those things when you are feeling very anxious or scared.
What I would like to offer, instead, is a place of respite and ease; an oasis of ideas and resources that have helped me during this time and allowed me a moment or two to just “be”, without the added pressure of figuring things that I have no control over. Here they are!
Kylie Flavell’s cinematic videos
You probably know this by now, or you might have guessed, but I really, REALLY love traveling! it helps me expand my heart and mind and allows me to live in the present moment like nothing else! and since I obviously cannot travel at the moment, nor will I be able to in the foreseeable future, Kylie’s cinematic, classic, absolutely delightful videos transport me instantly to a place of warmth, joy and abundance.
Her energy, her love and caring, is simply infectious! I also absolutely LOVE her cooking videos, her conversations with friends and strangers, her thoughts on growth, relationships, love and motivation. She recently put together a pretty amazing list of books to read if you want to travel/move to Italy! Kylie, I love you! you are an absolute gem and I am beyond grateful to have found you.
The Ikonns Podcast
I have always enjoyed taking long walks, but I have really appreciated them to a whole other level now. How many things have we taken for granted, dismissing them, not fully appreciating the wonder they bring into our lives? our self-isolation/lock down was nowhere near as stringent as that of other countries like Italy, France, Spain or Romania, and still, being able to leave the house for a long walk in nature has truly helped me feel a sense of normalcy and calmness.
On most of my walks I was accompanied by Alex and Mimi Ikonn, my favorite entrepreneurs/creators/humans. I am so inspired by their voices, their shared vision, their stories, and I highly recommend you listening to them on their podcast. They have interviewed inspirational authors and successful business owners, they talk a lot about adopting a positive mindset, about living a conscious, sustainable lifestyle, and overall, are just some pretty amazing people to follow.
I hope you like them as much as I do.
I have to admit, I am not a big moviegoer and I only watch movies and shows sporadically, usually around Christmas time or some other break.
Since the self-isolation began, I have indulged in some really delicious period dramas/historical shows and movies. Aside from reading, they have offered me the perfect escapism. I do need to mention that my favorite resource for all things period drama is Willow and Thatch – a website dedicated to period/historical shows and movies with plenty of reviews and news thrown in the mix. If you are a fan of the genre, subscribe to their newsletter which arrives in your inbox every Sunday and is chock full of updated watchable lists for Netflix, Prime, Acorn, BritBox and other streaming services. They also do some pretty fun giveaways on their Facebook page.
Here are some that stood out to me:
The Bletchley Circle (two seasons) on Amazon Prime. Intelligent and resourceful heroines use their unique set of skills, acquired by working on code breaking during WWII, to solve some murder mysteries and chase a criminal. In swoon worthy 50’s dresses and skirts and just the right amount of daring nail polish/rouge.
Belgravia. On Epix/Amazon Prime. Julian Fellowes has done it again. The TV adaptation follows the book to a T (I have read it last year and can safely vouch for this) and is such a delight for all the fans that have missed Downton Abbey. A new episode is being released each Sunday (on Epix/Prime). All the drama, the scandals, the lovers kept apart due to secrets and social hierarchy; then, the costumes, the sets, and all the tea drinking and scones that you can have per episode . It really is more interesting than I make it out to be!
World on fire on PBS Masterpiece (each new episode streams for free on PBS for a limited time each Sunday; for US viewers only). You can watch the whole series with a PBS Passport on PBS or with a PBS Masterpiece subscription on Amazon Prime. Just be mindful that they release a new episode each Sunday so you won’t be able to watch the whole season at once.
This show took a while to grow on me, I have to admit. But, I do like how it portrays the impact of WWII on various individuals across the world (Belgium, France, UK, Poland, Germany) and how their lives intertwine. The cast is multinational as well. So far, it follows accurately the major events and the development of the war. Some of the characters’ journeys are modernized to appeal to the contemporary viewer, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I was skeptical too in some instances. That being said, overall, I am enjoying it. I’ve also enjoyed the special features that supplement the episodes with real footage and recordings from the wartime.
Jessica Yellin’s reporting
It is so easy to feel overwhelmed by the news, especially right now.
Therefore, I have been really enjoying Jessica‘s style of reporting. She focuses on the facts, in a clear, concise and non-biased way. Her posts (on Instagram stories) are short, comprehensive and to the point. Amid the noise, the constant vitriol on the political and social arena (not just in US, but around the world as well) she is a breath of fresh air. You can also follow her on Twitter.
Fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s market
Project GROWS is a local, non-profit, educational organization whose aim is to facilitate de access to locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables. They hold garden-education-based camps for kids, they farm and distribute fresh produce to schools, AND, they have created a platform for our local farms to sell their produce online and organize a drive-through pick up.
It has been so nice to have access, again, to locally grown fruits and vegetables! Our farmer’s market season is between May – October and I was worried and sad that due to the global situation, it will be shut down for the year. However, a successful solution has been found and I am very grateful for it.
Shopping locally grown produce not only helps the local businesses and farms stay afloat, but it is also so much better for your health and immunity! not to mention the Planet. Win-win all around.
Okay, tell me how are you doing? where are you at and what is the current situation there? how have you coped, so far, with the quarantine and self-isolation?
Comment down below and let me know.
p.s: photo taken by me during one my walks, early April, 2020