For many people, life before we were shackled to our homes had been quite repetitive, and at times, even hectic. With AP tests looming over the horizon, my time before quarantine was filled with nonstop activity. Homework assignment after homework assignment was piled onto my plate, deadlines were beginning to stack on top of each other, and every single day was blending into one giant melting pot of work. For working adults, this routine was probably a fact of life.
For a while, Covid-19 was just the latest story in the news. Throughout January, February, and even the first few days of March, I read about the coronavirus as a curious spectator, sympathetic to those affected by it yet apathetic to the prospect of it ever reaching my town’s doorstep. Online and in the news, Covid-19 was a swirling hurricane of death and disaster. But it was only mentioned occasionally in conversation in my own life, without any seemingly tangible effects.
But this time, this surreal virus ended up reaching our doorsteps. Over a few weeks, nearly every school and every nonessential workplace across the United States was shut down. The prospect of a coronavirus shutdown shifted from an unfathomable fantasy to a “when and how long is it going to last” question within a week.
While staying inside our homes for the next weeks or months seemed like a harsh transition from our ways of life, it was also a pause on the continuous cycle of work and learning that most of us had been part of. I began to feel as though our quarantine time at home could be used as an opportunity to reset and relax. Even though the cause of the quarantine has killed over a hundred thousand people already, I think that when possible, we should try to use this time of isolation to help ourselves grow.
For different people, that means different things. For some people, that may mean finally starting a Netflix show on their neglected watch-list; for others, it may be taking up a new craft or hobby. I’ve been spending a lot more time writing novels and short stories, something that I’ve always enjoyed and have loved doing throughout my life, but never on the scale of investment that this opportunity has presented.
While the looming presence of the coronavirus scares us with its incrementing case and death statistics and by the media cycle that is constantly putting us on edge, sometimes it is worth looking inside our own homes and ourselves to see what we can do to make ourselves better. While life is paused for us outside, at work, school, restaurants and public spaces, it is only accelerating within ourselves if we take the time to invest. And that’s precisely what I’ve been trying to do. Even though I enjoy having time to do nothing, or pursuing mindless endeavors like watching Youtube videos, my goal in quarantine is to make myself a much better person walking out than the one I was going in.
Sophomore - Los Altos High School
credit: Gavin Cartier
Back in March, my university made a sudden announcement that all lectures will be cancelled and converted to online lectures. Like for many other students around the world, the Covid-19 pandemic cut short my final year as a law student in the UK. I was able to attend some of my classes at the start of the year, but due to the sudden change to an online teaching format, I now find it challenging to learn the material from my second semester modules.
I had to make the quick decision to buy my airplane ticket back home to Malaysia quickly. As Easter break was just a couple of weeks away, many of my friends decided to return home earlier. Some of my friends, who are also international students, were caught in a dilemma as they had to scramble to pack up their entire dorm in a few days due to the decrease in available flights and increases in ticket prices. I was concerned at how my assignments would be assessed, but thankfully my university was quick to provide us with updates about their future plans. My written exam has now been converted to an online open book exam.
Sady, I was not able to say good bye to some of my university friends I made while studying in the UK, whom I spent a lot of time with during my studies. I was also devastated to hear that my graduation this year has been cancelled.
When I read caught wind of the pandenmic, I immediately began taking the necessary precautions. I minimized my time outside and carried hand sanitizer everywhere. My flatmate and I sanitized every single grocery item, our winter coats, bags, and shoes, before entering back into our flat. Prior to my flight back home, I wore a face mask and brought with me plastic gloves, antiseptic wipes, and hand sanitizer. To my surprise, I found that when I landed back in Malaysia, it was not unusal to wear masks and gloves on the airplane as many people around me wore them (unlike the UK).
Since my return home, I have not been outside due to the mandatory lockdown imposed by the Malaysian government. My family and I keep ourselves busy through spring cleaning, trying new recipes, and watching television. To keep up with my studies, I’ve been attending my lectures and tutorials online and taking my time to complete my assignments carefully. On the bright side, I am happy that to be able to spend time with my family during shelter in place.
I hope everyone will stay safe and remember to wash their hands often!
Content Strategy Intern
credit: Becca's artsy corner
Happy Mother's Day!
Kristine: Thanks mom! You have been a constant person in my life. I am grateful for your care and love.
Lauren: During time of uncertainties and fears, my mom’s resilience has shown that while we may not have control over our circumstances, we can control of our attitude. Thanks mom for working hard and being the best that you can be!
Iris: Nothing brings me more comfort or safety than my mom. Thanks mom for 30 years of your love.
Lavender: Thanks mom for encouraging me to work hard and spread kindness. You inspire me to be more confident :-)
Rebecca: Thanks mom for all your love and kindness. I appreciate you every day! All the little things you do, and all the ways you give back with care. I hope to continue your legacy by paying forward to the next generation!
credit: Becca's artsy corner
I'm currently a freshman at Los Altos High School and live in Mountain View, California. Our last day at school was on March 13th, and I've been at home on break or attending online school since then. My days consist mostly of being on the computer, either attending online classes or animating on Scratch. For a while I was enjoying this more relaxing lifestyle, but then once online schooling ramped up, the days became less easy-going. Yet my complaint about online schooling is less about the workload and more about stress load. It’s overwhelming to have the entire weeks’ worth of work thrown at you on Monday morning. Not only that, being assigned specific online Zoom classroom times adds more stress and time management to the equation. I’d much rather prefer to go to regular school over what we’re doing now.
Overall, I enjoy the time I have at home when I’m not drowned by online papers and other school assignments. I love spending my quarantine time chatting with friends online through an app called Discord, which has features such as immediate updates and voice chats. I really enjoy animating, and this quarantine is the perfect opportunity for me to sharpen up my skills and work on my animation projects. Within the last month, I’ve been more productive on Scratch than during any other time, working on many different animation techniques such as “slow in” and “slow out”. I’ve yet to figure out which technique I prefer.
I did not let quarantine stop me from staying in physical shape either. I make sure to spend time outside at least once a day, and I work out by playing baseball in the street with my Dad or by lifting weights in the basement. I can only improve my strength if I keep up with this routine for an hour every day. Keeping my mental health in shape is important as well: I make sure to read an hour a day to keep my mind challenged.
Spring can be a frustrating time of year for someone like myself, as my allergies flare up during this season. When I cough from my allergies, I get the sense that wary people around me suspect I have the virus. Fortunately, I’ve been healthy so far.
My personal opinion on this quarantine is I’d much rather go back to normal life: attending a physical school and having a regular schedule every day. Despite the downsides, I realize I’m lucky as nobody in my household has gotten sick. Even if it feels crowded at times, my family has a decent house to stay in during shelter in place. The extra time I’m getting to spend with my family, watching the show Survivor as a family at lunch, is one of the brightest moments during shelter in place.
Freshman - Los Altos High School
credit: Gareth Cartier
COVID-19 pandemic immediately halted society. Nonessential stores are closed. A few stores are still open but have limited hours and have restrictions on the number of people coming in. During this lockdown, the streets are eerily quiet and it’s almost apocalyptic since everyone is at home.
This pandemic has also increased anxieties within individuals who are constantly scrolling or watching the news. Even though there’s plenty of negativities. People are adapting. Especially now, it doesn’t stop many individuals from exploring or revisiting hobbies. Artists taking up drawing and other creative avenues. Students are learning new skills to further their careers like social marketing, coding, data analytics and more. Friends coping with social distancing by meeting up in the virtual world of video games or using social media to connect. Most people use this time catching up on tv shows and movies through streaming services. Even though there is an abundance of fear and anxieties, it shows how adaptive we are and take advantage of this situation. This lockdown invokes many people to get in touch with their creativity and find new ways to entertain themselves.
During the lockdown, I’ve been keeping myself busy. Social media helps me reconnect with my friends during these difficult times. Playing computer games is an exciting way for me spending time with friends despite having social distancing regulations. Another avenue I have been exploring is through finding baking recipes to share with my family. Unfortunately, I’m sad,my friends can’t be at my house to try out new desserts. On the side, I'm catching up with my shows I’ve been putting off. Through these times, I find it exciting I am able to make use of this time to hone in my creative explorations.
In addition, I always find ways to learn new skills during this lockdown. Since interning with Jezuba, I got the chance to write blogs and research on growing my marketing skills through social media. Especially during this lockdown, I got the chance to utilize and improve my sewing skills by making masks for my friends and family.
Although this is a devastating situation, we have hope. We are dealing with it together. We are all strong and resilient among the mass chaos. Ultimately, we can utilize our anxiousness and worries and put it into more productive means.
Content Strategy Intern
credit: Kristine Huynh
It’s been a long time since I last sat down and wrote down my thoughts.
It’s currently Day 35 of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia since lockdown was first announced by the government last March. News of the novel coronavirus first caught my attention back in January when the lockdown of Wuhan, China (the epicentre of COVID-19) was reported in almost every news outlet. What I didn’t realize at the time however, was that the situation in Wuhan would soon become our own reality in just a span of a month and a half.
March 18th was the first day of the MCO in Malaysia - the same day I landed back from the UK in time before the country went into lockdown. What was initially a quarantine for two weeks became a month and a half. Pushing extension after extension, the government fights every day to control the increasing number of COVID-19 cases across the country.
In fact, it was because of COVID-19 that I decided last minute to fly back from the UK to Malaysia. To witness the very different ways people in the UK and in Malaysia reacted to COVID-19 at the beginning of its outbreak was certainly an eye-opening experience. Back in the UK, my friends remained calm and unworried, even when the number of infections increased day by day and neared a thousand cases total. The majority of people went about their normal routine without taking much precaution. In contrast, the situation was taken much more seriously in Malaysia; the government implemented a nationwide lockdown when the number of cases was only in the hundreds. The tension over how seriously people took the matter hit me the moment I sat down on my connecting flight.
On my journey back to Malaysia, I was amazed by how COVID-19 already changed the way people travelled, with almost everyone wearing face masks. Gloves and hand sanitizers became an essential must-have item after a passport. I was relieved when the airport officer asked if we each had hand sanitizer when we passed through security, even offering to place them into a zip-lock. The gesture made me realise how important it is to be kind, even to a stranger, at times like this one.
Having been in lockdown for a month, I had not expected that my journey back from the airport would be the last time I would be in contact with the outside world for the indefinite time being. Some people (myself included) have been using this extra time at home to try picking up a new hobby or experimenting with different recipes like the trendy Dalgona coffee (sad to report that I tried it, but failed miserably). It’s also been nice to hear stories about how people in Malaysia are supporting the local economy through purchasing food and produce from local hawkers and farmers.
One of the best parts about the lockdown is the quality time I get to spend with my family. Before this, I’d been living abroad for many years, so my time spent at home became less frequent as the years went by. I’m extremely grateful for the quality time I now get to spend at home. My family and I have been busy spring cleaning. I finally got around to sorting out and donating some of my unused items. I’ve dusted off some forgotten books and items left in the storage, like my electric mixer, to pick up reading and baking again.
The lockdown and the whole COVID-19 situation has taught me to reflect and appreciate the small things in life. Most importantly, I’m remembering to live in the present. While things are uncertain and I don’t know when I’ll be able to return to the UK, I believe it’s important to stay positive and to help out as much as I can, whether it’s spreading positive words or donating (or even sharing) food with our neighbours.
Till then, stay safe and positive!
Content Strategy Intern
credit: Rachel Lim
Feels good to be appreciated!
As a small nonprofit, we feel privileged to quickly pivot to serve our community in times of COVID-19 pandemic. Slow down the spread of COVID-19 by wearing your face mask when you have to go out. Let's all do our part to keep our community safer and stronger.
Contact us for face mask donation, and if you need face mask, we can ship you a face mask today.
Co-founder and Director, Jezuba
The news around COVID-19 hit me suddenly. I was in the middle of processing a transaction for a customer, when my coworker came to tell me that we’d be under a lockdown starting at midnight. It explained a lot: the rush of customers withdrawing large amounts of cash, the endless busy traffic in the parking lot, the outlandishly long lines at the supermarket across the street, the continuous messages blowing up my phone... I looked at her worriedly, unsure of how we would be affected.
Before I knew it, everything changed within a span of four days. The branch I normally covered closed. Work hours changed drastically and the types of transactions allowed are now limited. Tapes were put up everywhere to indicate the minimum six-foot distance between each person. The job I was finally feeling comfortable performing suddenly felt foreign again. New updates were announced every day to help our clients navigate the chaos. Our customers’ signs of distress were still noticeable despite coming in the branch covered in full personal protective equipment (PPE). Everything was suddenly thrusted into a different perspective: we can only continue to try our best to make it through this pandemic.
As someone who works at a bank, an essential business, I fully understand the anxiety that takes over other front-line workers. Every day that we’re exposed in public instills fear when we deliberately go outside. I can only hope that as I continue to go to work, I won’t come home as a threat to my family and their wellbeing.
Given my own experience, I can only imagine how stressed healthcare workers are during this time, especially with the shortage of PPE. It’s true when they say that not all heroes wear capes. The dedication these people are putting into their profession is truly admirable. To all the people who are risking their lives and giving their all to help our communities get through these times of uncertainty, we at Jezuba want to say thank you for all your hard work!
Content Strategy Intern
credit: Becca's artsy corner
It seems like everything we hear about today is the COVID-19 pandemic, but one thing has been made clear: Center for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends wearing a face mask out in public. While N95 face masks are recommended for health care workers, we as part of the general public should all be wearing a type of hand sewn cloth face masks when running our essential errands outside.
Because Jezuba has been closely following new development surrounding COVID-19, and our volunteers have been working hard on producing handmade cloth face masks in the last few weeks. We donated our face masks to hospitals and medical centers in the Bay Area and Southern California, including El Camino Hospital, Adventist Health Glendale, and Kaiser. Today, we are offering these face masks for purchase by general public. As a nonprofit, our predominant goal is to #FlattenTheCurve, and we have priced these face masks to maximize protecting our community. Wearing face masks shows that you care about your community; if everyone wears a mask, we will all help slow down the spread of COVID-19.
Purchase your face mask today with free shipping, and we are donating one face for each one sold. To prevent hoarding and protect our community fairly, we are placing a limit of 7 face masks for each household. If you buy a face mask for a friend or loved one, and we will ship it to them free of charge. Our idea is to spread support and bolster love for our community.
If you can afford to donate, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Jezuba, 501(c)(3) nonprofit. All donations will go toward acquiring materials for the masks, scaling up production, and distributing to our medical communities.
If we can show kindness to strangers and support one another during this time of need, we will come out as a stronger community. Be part of the solution!
Co-founder and Director, Jezuba
I want to call everyone to action in doing our part to help one another during these anxious times. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven individuals to stock up on much needed supplies. Yet more than ever, now is the time to be compassionate to each other. We need to share our resources, maintain our six feet distance, wash our hands diligently, and clean our surfaces.
As reported by CNN, the shortage in masks have forced many healthcare workers on the frontlines to risk their lives by opting for bandanas, reusing personal protection equipment (PPE), or not wearing any protective facial covering at all. I first heard about PPE shortages from Dr. Mike, a family medicine doctor, who went on a search for N95 masks to donate to healthcare professionals. However, he received only half of the product from exploitative individuals, revealing a practice where predatory people buy up stockpiles of supplies to make a profit during emergencies. But on the other side of the spectrum, the best in people truly come out. Many volunteers in the community are coming together to sew masks for healthcare workers to provide additional protection for N95s, so the masks can last longer.
I hope that in doing my part to help Jezuba distribute these hand-sewn face mask, I’m bolstering our community support for healthcare workers. They may not N95 face masks, but they can still provide some protection for our community and help flatten the curve. Please consider wearing a face mask when you leave your home for essential errands.
We encourage you to contact us if your community needs face mask donations. If you are able to donate, please consider donating to Jezuba. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, your tax-deductible donation will be used to acquire materials for the face masks, scale up production, and distribute them to our medical communities and the general public.
Content Strategy Intern
credit: National Nurses United