An Abrupt New Reality

I honestly didn’t know what to title this post since I was mostly going to talk about the pandemic. I wanted to ask – what has 2020 meant to you? How would you sum up all the events of this year in just a few words. My title was my answer. This virus pulled the rug out from under the world. That idiom is very apt to describe the months of February and March in particular. It’s taken every ounce of will to stand up again and go on, tested every definition of strength out there, but even this virus couldn’t hold back the human spirit for resilience. We’ve come back from wars, diseases, natural disasters, and other calamities before so nothing could keep us down for long. Just look at all the creative ways people tried to stay connected through lockdowns. They sang from their balconies, got their voices heard on social media, and did every little thing they could to make all these months bearable.

This isn’t what I planned for my first post back, but I wanted to reply to Allenif and thank the other 50 recent visitors and over 800 followers who are probably like me and forgot to unfollow. Thank you so much to those who left messages over the last four years and for checking in. Hope you’re doing well too. Having been away from my home and laptop for almost nine months, my Toshiba is failing me from disuse. I didn’t expect to be accessing my blog from an iPad, but here I am trying to post this on my ancient iPad Air. So far it’s not going well. It’s taking like a million years, but time is something I have a lot of these days. If my stupid comment had posted and not gone to trash and if the comment shortcuts on my iPad worked the same as on a desktop, this post wouldn’t be up. Boy this is hard.Not only did I totally forget how to make posts, but I’m afraid I’m gonna make a huge mess of things. Oh well. Compared to everything this year, guess nothing else registers as a big deal.

Hasn’t it been the most insane eleven months ever. If there is anything I learned from this year, it’s that connection is a necessity. While watching all the footage of empty streets all over Europe and even the desolate streets outside the window, I came to a terrible realization that this is what silent screaming might look like if it was visible. So many desperate souls seeking some kind of connection so they wouldn’t have to feel so scared and alone. Their desperation felt tangible at times when you see them leaning out the window trying to communicate with neighbors. Can’t imagine being cooped up inside all by yourself for all those months.

I’ve never been so grateful to have my friend’s dog and her cats to cuddle with and not have to feel so alone. Actually, it’s really just one cat that likes to cuddle. The baby of the family is a light gray Sphinx named Mojo. Not having hair and being unable to regulate her body temp makes snuggling a necessity. A major plus for me. To think the first time I saw her, I thought she resembled baby Yoda, but not in the cute way. Now I’m falling over myself to pamper her by learning to crochet again after giving it up ten years ago. I’ve made her some winter sweaters and one giant cat igloo that gave me carpal tunnel and a sprained thumb and forefinger that still doesn’t feel fully healed a month later. The other former street cat named “Z” tolerates pets only a few times a day. The only cat that wasn’t much comfort was Tango. She’s an Abyssinian and a diva who will only show affection on her own terms. Catch her on one of her moods and you’ll get scratches and hisses. The most gorgeous but temperamental cat I’ve ever seen. Definitely a look but don’t touch kind of feline. Last but not least is Charlie, the most affectionate, lovable, sweet tempered Standard Poodle ever born. He will steal your heart with one look and make you seriously contemplate dog napping cuz the punishment would be worth it. But I would never deprive my friend of her first fur baby.
I’m so lucky I got to wait out this virus for most of the year with my friend and her four pets. She is a surgeon and wanted to monitor my health cuz I have a preexisting condition. That’s what she said, but I know she felt bad for me cuz I don’t have family here. Her fur babies were the most comfort, but it sure was nice having her boyfriend drop off masks and hand sanitizers. If I had to live alone during these terrible months, I don’t know what my mental, emotional, and spiritual state would be by now. That’s why I can’t bear to watch news coverage of Covid patients’ final moments and hearing about them dying alone. Anyone who’s been hospitalized with some communicable disease knows how the word isolation takes on a whole new meaning. You’re laying there sick and vulnerable wanting comfort, but you know the risk is too great to endanger your loved ones so you endure in solitude. The only other time I can think of when people are that vulnerable would be dying or wounded soldiers laying on a field after a battle. They know the end is coming, they try to prepare the best they can, quietly praying or mentally saying goodbye, and then waiting for that last breath hoping they did enough in their lifetime to make a difference in their loved ones’ lives. What they don’t get is that just existing warranted all the grief that would follow. My father, grandmother, and uncle never won awards or was famous for anything, but a certain memory will still trigger that bereft feeling all over again. No one ever recovers from having a loved one pass away. It’s been years, but I still feel their loss as acutely as the day I lost them. I take comfort in the fact that all of that means they were loved a great deal. The love that remains is their living testament to having made a difference in this world.
When all this started, I remember texting my friend in California and checking in on her in March. At that time Korea was in panic mode, but America only had one case so she wasn’t so concerned. We discussed (via KakaoTalk) how things might pan out for both our countries. Little did we know that nothing we discussed turned out to be true. Every one and every place in Korea went into a state of emergency acting like the world was about to end. Masks and sanitizers flying off the shelves, businesses temporarily closed, etc. In the midst of all that chaos, there was an eerie calmness about how Koreans reacted to the virus. They’ve done this before so it’s like the entire nation said “we got this” and made all the necessary sacrifices to keep the spread limited with very minimal fuss. I still can’t fathom the grim reality of how America went from one case to losing over 300,000 lives while Korea has lost over 500 in that same amount of time. It’s not an accurate comparison cuz Korea’s total population is the size of Florida and Texas, but still, no one can deny that Korea is -to this very day – trying its hardest to save even one more life. Like I said in a comment on a CNN news piece, maybe having too much freedom comes at a cost. You don’t hear Koreans coming up with outlandish excuses for not wearing masks or purposely having gatherings, not caring about spreading the virus. Too many Americans don’t even believe the virus exists. Hearing how many of them die denying its existence to their last breath breaks my heart for the families they leave behind.

Some of my readers know that I used to be Catholic. I stopped practicing right after college. So why did I post this screenshot of the Pope? It’s cuz I realized we can choose to walk away from one denomination to embrace another, but the faith that was ingrained in us pops up out of habit. You have no idea how much I had to resist the urge to genuflect before I sit in a pew at a Presbyterian church or will my hand not to make the sign of the cross when a minister says “let us pray”. When I watched the Pope give a mass to a live streaming congregation, I suddenly had the urge to pray on a rosary. Not quite the apostate I thought I was based on those impulses. Who can blame me though. If we don’t seek absolution at a time like this, what would be a better time.
Living with so much uncertainty made me feel spiritually unbalanced. I found myself praying aloud “please let the scientists and doctors find a way to control this”. As a woman living with asthma, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, anemia, 33% lung function, and a malignant tumor that’s taken over my uterus, it’s no wonder this virus gave me pause about all the aspects of my life I’ve ignored thus far. I’m not alone. Pretty sure everyone who was cooped up during lockdown reflected on their lives and planned changes for the future. It’s like the virus hit pause on all our lives and gave us time to consider our priorities. Most of us who had preexisting conditions feared for our mortality. I kept looking out the window at the empty streets and closed up shops – wondering how a virus could wreak so much havoc, destruction, and death in one fell swoop. One news cycle after another kept reporting higher numbers of infections and deaths. I no longer questioned “is the world coming to an end” because it already had with the first person to die from the disease. For the families of that first casualty, their world already felt like it ended or was falling apart.

People are calling the vaccines the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. That may not be the case for everyone. A lot of Korean doctors had already come to some conclusions about Covid survivors early on. Something American doctors are starting to notice just recently. Turns out surviving the virus wasn’t the end of it. For the ones who had severe cases and had to be hospitalized or ventilated, the lungs have significant damage to them. I’m sure more thorough medical reports will be available to the public soon, but Korean doctors wouldn’t be so quick to categorize patients as “healed” once they survive the virus.

Anyway sorry I had so much to get off my chest, probably more info that you really cared to hear, but l’ve been needing to vent somewhere. That’s probably why I left such long tirades on CNN pieces. Mine were the longest comments. This reply was for a segment about “Heroes”: Of course front line workers were the true heroes for giving the dying some dignity and connection to their loved ones before they passed. All the doctors and nurses who held up the phones and iPads so the patient didn’t have to die alone feeling scared and unloved deserve a special place in our hearts for their compassion. That’s what makes me think there are some more heroes we are overlooking that never made the news. The ones who stayed home and suffered financially and mentally under lockdowns because they obeyed their governors. They shut down their businesses or stopped going to work to stay home to take care of their children knowing full well it would endanger their livelihood for the foreseeable future. Some became homeless, some will never be able to send their kids to college, and early retirement is no longer an option for them. Despite all that sacrifice, the reckless and irresponsible people who never followed the rules basically hindered every step we took forward in getting control of this virus. To everyone who did their part this past year to reduce the number of infections, know that we recognize your sacrifice. Maybe not in awards or accolades, but in silent acknowledgement that the global death toll could have been higher without your help. Not to sound overdramatic, but I keep wondering each time I consistently sanitize my hands and wear masks outside if that insufficient effort will help keep the infection level down and possibly save someone from getting infected and dying. If there is even an ounce of chance I could prevent the spread and thereby save a life, then the inconvenience is more than worth it. I’ve been in South Korea throughout this pandemic so I speak from personal experience. Working together as one nation to keep this virus at bay paid off. The overall low death rate is all due to personal sacrifices each citizen made. When it came down to it, there was no choice between doing the right thing or being petty about holding onto civil liberties. Korea knew what the price of hesitation would cost so they shut down the country early on and controlled the situation from the beginning to this moment. It’s an ongoing effort that never lets up, but it’s working. Just look at the numbers. That’s proof of what a nation can accomplish when every citizen obeys the rules and not just a few. There really is strength in numbers. It saved lives.

With vaccines on the way, maybe we can finally step out into the sunshine and hug our family and friends again next year. If we’re lucky, we will be able to celebrate with all of our loved ones by our side. For those who suffered great losses, I pray their memories of happy times and better days with their loved ones will be enough to help ease the ache from their empty arms. Speaking from experience, it’s a void that will be felt for a lifetime. The hope is that time will dull that ache so that it won’t feel so devastating to remember them. You can’t ever imagine a day like that will come, but it does. It’s a blessing bestowed to those who loved the most.

It’s been so long since I replied on this blog, but it feels familiar. Difference is I don’t think I ever accessed my blog from my iPad. I posted a detailed account of what I’ve been up to on Thundie’s test post a few months back. I’m kinda like her. Wanting to get back to blogging, but kinda forgot how to make posts and stuff. Plus I’m not sure I need to recap live since no one needs same night translations anymore cuz of the new programs for CC and subtitles. I’m afraid I got out of the habit of watching kdramas. Real life is taking precedence. Funny thing is I’ve been trying to get online again so been attempting to get a YouTube channel going for the last few months, but I need someone to help me who is fluent in Korean to do the subtitles in Korean.
When I stepped away from this blog, I always meant to come back to it, but in a different form. Never imagined it would take so long to post again. During my stay with my friend, I had practically all the time in the world, but only took my iPad with me. Read a lot of novels online, got into knitting and started crocheting, and watched a lot of YouTube. I got some great ideas for a YouTube channel. Since I only had an iPad with me, I was kinda limited in how much I could do. So I took those months to collect all the material and info I would need for a YT channel. I’m going to post again on this blog. Not certain about how regularly though. Going to make changes to the overall look and refresh everything once I get my computer guy to work on my Toshiba. Wish me luck and keep checking in cuz I’ll be posting soon. Please keep your mask on in public and stay safe. If you want to know which dramas I watched, check out Thundie’s latest post. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to for the last four years so update me on comments. ^^

This entry was posted in Extra.

9 comments on “An Abrupt New Reality

  1. nana says:

    softy..i have to check the name a few times to make sure it’s you. glad to know you’re well, CTS n all. we hardly interacted but i remember camping here from almost day one back then. i still watch & drop kdrama as regularly as i can tho sometimes it’s hard to catch up cos my work is considered as essential. will look forward to the YT channel. always take care!


  2. ssen68 says:

    So glad to receive post and what a pleasant surprise.
    We are bearing okay till now.
    Looking forward to hear from you again.
    Cheers from sg!


  3. Enz says:

    Hi Softy(?) Am glad to hear that despite everything, you are doing ‘well’. Your blog was one of the first o followed when I got into Korean dramas 2011 and went searching for anything on ojakgyo brothers. And when that completed, your blog pointed me to coffee prince. CP managed to make me happy, joyous and light for months!

    These days, I watch kdrama sporadically. The last was the world of the married. They usually don’t move me emotionally like they did when I first started although I enjoy them still.

    When I watch American news, I am anxious and in disbelief that they are still sometimes debating over measure that other countries have accepted to work and proven to save lives. It’s so crazy.

    I hope that life will get back to some form of normal again next year.

    Take care. Keep safe. Keep healthy.


  4. It’s been a very strange year, no doubt about it. Thank you for sharing what’s happening in your life; I’m glad to hear you are managing despite the craziness that’s all around. Thank God you’re in South Korea and not back home! I know that sounds like a cold-hearted thing to say, but I wager you’re a lot safer in SK than you are back home. Do take care of yourself, and keep warm this winter.


  5. nonski says:

    It’s a great Christmas gift to hear from your Softy! Things had been really out of the ordinary and our normal had drastically changed. We still have no clear end in sight but let us all keep the faith. I miss all of you here and of course your witty posts as always. I just hope and pray that we will be able to come out of this unscathed and praying for everyone’s safety. Please take care Softy and stay safe everyone. Despite everything… wishing all a wonderful and blessed celebration of the Christmas season.


  6. javabeans says:

    Wow, you popped up in my feed reader and boy do I feel you. (Likewise with poking around the old blog and feeling rather rusty!) Good to see a familiar name — sending good thoughts and vibes your way.☺️


  7. Surprised that you are now in Europe. Glad that you are well. Please send my warm regards to Joonni when you talk to her again. Keep well.


  8. nik says:

    Not sure if you remember me and so happy to hear from you!


  9. Dear Softy, I wrote you am email.


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