The Year Before Quarantine

I’ve been thinking a lot about the year before we all got locked inside our homes. I knew it then, and looking back, I really am glad I had 2019 and all the good things that came with it. To think that was the year that couldn’t have started any worse—my dad died in January that year.

I remember how excited I was when our US Visas got renewed in February. Our 2-week trip in March was truly a highlight and I keep going back to it whenever I need some good vibes.

There was that perfect day we spent strolling around the Venice Canals and Abbot Kinney after my cousin’s wedding. I still think about the Leith Clark frames I fit but didn’t get from Warby Parker. The doughnuts we sampled after I finished a scoop of vegan ice cream bought from a truck. How I shamelessly walked back and forth in an alley, swinging my pleated bucket, so my brother could take nice photos of me. We went inside all the stores, not really planning to buy anything. I came home with skin care from Aesop and a pretty gilded deck from a random lifestyle shop that sold the coolest things.

We also moved that year. Our first time to live in a condo after living in two-storey houses all our lives. It has been two years since and I’ve come to love this space we call home. It’s not huge but it’s just right for us. I still dream of building a home one day. All my ideas will just have to go on Pinterest for now.

That was also the year I got to go back to one of my fave cities to watch one of my fave artists with one of my fave people. It was a quick trip but even if I’ve been to Singapore so many times, I still find new places to discover when I’m there. It’s also probably the one place I wouldn’t be scared to get lost in, because it’s so safe!

In 2019, I also got lucky with a freelance gig which included a trip Japan for the first time for work. It was just right before summer, so the weather was perfect for walking around. I remember cramming in as many spots and bowls of ramen (Fukuoka is the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen) as I could in 4 days. I already knew I wanted to plan another trip with friends even before I got back.

Got assigned to go on a cruise that year, too. I remember being anxious at the thought of spending a night out at sea. Met some fun people on the trip. Plus, I got to meet friends for a quick chat at Jewel before boarding my flight home.

Spent my birthday by the sea with my best friend. My Signorina signet rings came out in 2019, too. And I tried my hand at retail through Make Space Today. I finally started selling my ceramic ware. I tried managing socials for skin care and watches and decided and it was not for me.

I was really looking forward to 2020 and it was off to a great start. But once March hit, everything was suddenly on pause. I lost all my usual writing rackets and had to negotiate for the only contract I still had. Luckily, a new job opportunity opened up for me and I’m now into my 6th month with them. It’s been a slow and steady year, pandemic and all. I know I’m luckier than most, so I try not to complain.

A friend asked me how I was dealing coming into this second year in quarantine. I told her that I go from kebs to incensed at any given day and it’s getting tiring! There are rumors* that we’re going to be put on stricter lockdown again, and a year later, I can’t believe that we’re worse than when we started. I try to be hopeful especially when I find out that healthcare worker friends have already been vaccinated, but every day, there’s just something new to be mad about. How do we get out of this mess? I’d really like to know, wouldn’t you?

* this just in, we’re back to ECQ beginning Monday until April 4.

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