The year 2020 will go down in history as a first. Not a good “first” but still something that had never happened before. Not to this scale and definitely not in the modern age. Hard to believe that a microscopic creature could stop the world, but it sure did.
There’s no way of thinking of this pandemic as a good thing for all kinds of obvious reasons. However, the positive has actually emerged in unexpected ways. Some families have reconnected by being forced to come up with ways to entertain themselves rather than relying on friends and outside resources. Some people have seen the resurfacing of old and forgotten hobbies like puzzle-making (I’m one of those), reading, exercising, gardening, baking, etc.
For me, this pandemic brought me a few unexpected benefits, the best one being to provide me with the opportunity to reconnect with my family in Portugal (yes, the country across the ocean). What? How can that be when international travel has been nonexistent for months?
Both my sister and my mom (and the rest of my family) live in Portugal. For years we relied on the phone to communicate in between visits, which often were two or more years apart. The advent of technology-assisted video messaging got me excited, but neither my mom or sister were familiar with the tech, so nothing happened for years. And with the time difference and both me and my sister working, it was nearly impossible to find a common meeting time even with messaging and phone calls.
Enter the pandemic. My sister worked at a restaurant which closed briefly after this whole mess started. I’m a teacher, and schools suddenly closed as well. All of a sudden we were both home and available. My sister and I had been chatting on Facebook messenger for a few months but it was just texting. At some point during this crisis, I managed to convince her to try the video chat feature. And bingo! I now get to see my family almost everyday.
I can’t tell you what being able to talk, really talk with facial expressions and contextual surroundings, with my sister, mom and nephews means to me. For the first time in over thirty years of living an ocean apart from them, I feel like we’re close again. I get to share my stuff with my best friend and she gets to share with me. I know it’s not the same as if we were actually in the same room, but it is so much better than a phone call a week or a few text messages here and there.
As a bonus, my cousin (who I always think of as another sister since we grew up together) and uncle, moved to Portugal from Canada right as the Pandemic hit. So now I get to see and talk to her every week as well after such a long time with little or no communication.
As strange as it sounds, this pandemic brought me to a very happy place. What about you? Has this crisis brought you any positive things? I would love to hear from you in the comments.