During this pandemic, we have all had to adjust the way we visit and communicate with friends and family. We have maintained our 2 person bubble, ever since returning home from Vancouver on March 19/20. Nobody has been in our house at the same time as us, except for a masked up furnace tech and a few guests who needed to use our sanitized guest bathroom during a physically distance outdoor visits. We have only been inside one other house during the same time frame and then only following strict physical distancing guidelines.
I will not deny this process has been tough, but we all need to realize it is short term pain, for long term gain. The restrictions are not meant to penalize us, but to protect us. Many still feel this is a violation of their fundamental rights, but forget that their rights are their rights, only if they do not violate or infringe on someone else’s rights (ie: the right to stay Covid spray free). As Spock would say, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”.
All that being said, I would guess we have been in touch with family and friends more than ever over the last 8 and 1/2 months, phone calls, letters, texts, E-mails, Skype, Zoom, a drive-by ballooning on my Patty’s birthday and whatever else.
The cold November weather and our family birthday season have increased this communication to a frenzy. Since November 1/20, we have spent 13 hours and 26 minutes on Skype and 2 1/2 hours on Zoom. In September and October, it was a total of 5 hours and 17 minutes, but the weather was warmer and we could socially distance visit outside.
Where would we be without all this tech? I am thinking we would all be in a deep psychosis by now, not to say that many people, especially living on their own, are not. We keep in touch with our older and single contacts who do not use tech, by telephone.
But, back to the tech, we have had Skype game nights, Zoom Cape Breton kitchen parties, shared coffee, shared wine, shared dining and shared travel visits. We have been to Nackawic, New Brunswick, Kingston, Ontario, Westbank and Vancouver, British Columbia, Edmonton and Sherwood Park, Alberta and even Trim and Collon, Ireland, all without ever leaving our house.
On Friday, we shared a birthday “Olive Garden” gathering with long time friends L & R. We both did takeout from the Olive Garden and my wife made home-made salad and Toscana soup. The visit went on for over three hours, nobody had to clean house or do dishes and nobody had to drive there and back.
But the ultimate evening happened on Saturday, November 28/20. Brother and sister L & L from the East Coast, 2,134 miles (3434 km) away by air had a yen for Sushi (see what I did there?) and suggested a delightful idea, where we could share a meal over Zoom and then watch my photos of Japan. We were in. We did need to pop into Tokyo Express for the sushi and tempura and we also needed to buy some sake.
But, before the call could start, we needed to set the scene. We have a lot of Japanese decor in our home, that comes from many years of hosting Japanese home stay students. Dishes, fish kites, kimono and obi, yukata, etc. So imagine L & L’s surprise when we opened the Zoom call with a hearty “Irasshaimase” (“Welcome” in Japanese). There we sat in our Japanese costumes, as we all smiled and laughed.
Covid rules do not tell you that you can not visit, they just tell you that you must visit differently. We never had so much fun as we all sipped our sake and ate sushi and tempura.
After the meal, it was time to travel to Japan. Using the Zoom “screen share” feature (also on Skype), I was able to show part of our 2009 trip to Japan. Almost like being there, without long airport lines and flights. Unfortunately, the audio portion of the production did not translate well at the other end.
On the November 29 birthday day, the phone calls and texts never stopped coming and we managed a further two Skype visits with the kids. In the middle of this busy day, our former neighbours C &R stopped by for a drive by ballooning.
We must all do our part to get through this pandemic, so we can all get back to “normal”, but it does not have to be either boring or lonely. Stay well, keep safe and use your tech.