I had been planning on posting at least once a month on here. Then, the new job started. Shortly after, the pandemic started. Here and there, plans have been going down the drain.
All travel plans this year have pretty much gone down the drain. We were supposed to drive up to Canada and spend Memorial Day Weekend with my sister and her husband. With the border closed, we remain in New Jersey.
Our tenth wedding anniversary is in October. My husband and I wanted to fly somewhere cool with the kid. But that’s also looking bleak at this point.
This time last year, our three-person family visited Japan to meet up with my in-laws, as well as my parents and siblings.
Got to see Mt. Fuji for the first time. Ate at Pokémon Café. Walked among the crowds at Shibuya Crossing. Visited a whole bunch of temples. Devoured some of the best things I ever tasted in my life—fresh sashimi, fried pufferfish, matcha everything, and my personal favorite—melon cream-stuffed buns.
I also learned some fascinating ways of showing respect that were unique to the culture such as: staying quiet in public transportation to not disturb others… or not eating while walking.
Since childhood, I’ve loved to travel. My stomach never did well on long drives. Still, I loved to be outside and away from home. Discovering new places and observing people in different environments nourished me in ways even my parents couldn’t comprehend.
Our road trips would turn me into an easily excitable girl, full of insight and humor. My parents often blamed my transformation on a mole between the toes on my foot. They used to tell me that because of this mole, I am “gala.”
“Gala” is a Philippine term, which could either be a verb: “to travel,” or the noun referring to: the “travel/trip” or a person: “someone who loves to travel.”
I loved to travel. Growing up, I looked forward to weekends, which meant the family would be taking a trip—long or short; it didn’t matter. I liked doing the groceries at a mall nearby as much as I liked waddling in a beach three hours away or driving up a mountain range ten hours away. Being outside stimulated my senses and fueled my imagination for when I was stuck at home.
I didn’t like staying put for extended periods, feeling cooped-up. But now, it’s become a necessity.
Since the lockdown started, I’ve stayed home. The farthest I’ve traveled is the empty parking lot next door, where I would take my son to ride a bike or his motorized car.
Not being able to explore new places and physically escape the house has been adding to the many mental stresses brought on by the pandemic. Not being able to plan a kickass ten-year anniversary trip blows.
But this is better than getting sick. This is better than spreading sickness. This is better than risking my life and the life of others.
So, nowadays, I look at the mole between my toes, and I escape in other ways I know. I read a book and watch shows; I fiddle with an electric guitar I had pandemic-purchased. And I write. Always, I write.