What kind of headspace were you in at the start of March 2020?
Were you looking forward to planning your summer vacation? Thinking about what to do during March Break to keep your kids busy? Trying to form plans for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities?
Were you watching the news?
I feel like a very universal question that people are often asked is, “Where were you when 9/11 happened?” I was 5 years old at the time and most definitely have no recollection of that day, although for so many others globally it brings back horrid memories and pain when we consider what the world went through all those years ago.
At the end of February, I was counting up the days since I had last been at the office for the work from home claim on my federal tax refund this year, and it popped into my brain that over the next decade, people would start asking “Where were you when the world shut down due to COVID-19?” I can tell ya — it was a day that seemed normal, but within a few hours changed drastically.
I usually left my grocery shopping to the weekends when we were still working at the office throughout the week. However, the news channels kept pecking into your brain that the virus had spread from Asia all the way to North America and was sure to hit communities unexpectedly, it made me consider what I should buy in case of a “2-week lockdown”.
Hand soap (ironically, we had just run out), canned products, some extra flu-fighting medication “just in case”, protein to store in the freezer, and plain old toast bread. It was meant to be a casual grocery shop and that was exactly what I expected it would be like.
Boy, was I wrong.
We get to my nearest Loblaws the Thursday before the provincial lockdown, and it is absolute madness in the parking lot. I hadn’t even been to the nearest plaza in the few weeks so it was truly a surprise to see the buzz of panic evidently on the minds of all shoppers. The second we walked into the store and I saw displays of stock completely empty, my instinct kicked in.
Ryan and I didn’t look at price tags or brands that we normally buy, we just took what we could which was so minimal in comparison to families where you could see they had two carts they were pushing full to the brim with food, doing the same as us–not looking at what they were buying, but acquiring things because they were afraid.
The check out lines were even worse. I have never in my entire life seen check-outs lined up to the end of the freezer aisles, carts lined up back to back, and a crowd of scared faces and uncertainty. I look back at that day often and realize how surreal it seemed. The weekend comes, and everything just shifted. Frantic calls to our families, friends, coworkers and a lot of emails back and forth from my workplace.
I was asked to come in for the first two days of the next week to help the IT folks in my building prepare laptops for our employees. I printed and stapled hundreds of different user guides for distribution. I was working my own little print shop! But, mentally, I was a mess. For a building that normally has about 3000 people in it, I bet I was one of 50 employees (IF THAT) there for the beginning of the week where the rest of the province was instructed to stay home.
It was a g h o s t – t o w n. I felt completely isolated and didn’t realize that I was running off of pure adrenaline until I got home and was exhausted.
You have to remember at this point; we didn’t have masks, we didn’t know how to keep ourselves safe like we do now, and we definitely weren’t aware of what was to come. Toward the end of the week, I developed a nasty cough and was tired all the time, so we didn’t leave the house after that to abide by quarantine rules.
I monitored myself everyday but a fever never broke and I never had difficulty breathing. I also despised the idea of leaving the safety of the house if my health was relatively fine, so I never went to get tested. My symptoms only lasted a few days but I look back now and realize that I might have very well experienced a mild strain of COVID without ever really knowing.
I’ve essentially been working full-time at home since April 2020. We experienced the quarantine blues, we played Stardew Valley late into the night like the rest of the world, we Zoom’d with our families, spent essentially every holiday at home (including our 5th anniversary of dating), we tried making bread from scratch, we spent way too much money on Amazon, we started growing green onions on the windowsill and eventually became tomato plant parents in the summer. We tried to manage as best as we could, just like everybody else.
Now it’s been a year since all the commotion, and although I don’t really have a theme or a message with this blog post, it will be nice to know that I have a documented place of where I was in life a year after the world was told to shut down.
Soooo, let’s get back to our warm & fuzzy, feel-good content though, eh?
I’ve got some fun recipes and changes for LG,BE in March. So until then, peace and good eats.