“The audacity! The audacityyyy of her to come and dust off her blog after all these monthsss! This lazy likkle lamp post of a girl. After we’ve been left HIGH and DRY without an update for eternityyy, she just thinks she can run up and drop a blog post and that’s it?” I can see it already. The eye-rolls. The disapproving looks. The hands on hips in disgust. I know! I know! I’m despicable. And I’m sorryyyy. But hey…
And if you’ll have me *flashes dashing smile* then I’d love for you to keep reading because I’m going to give you all the details about how I’ve been managing quarantine life.
Lol. So, carrying on.
THIS PANDEMIC THOUGH! AMIRITE? It just seemed to come out of nowhere and BAM! Plans were toppled, lives were overturned and all the proverbial bubbles were brutally and bewilderingly burst. I don’t even want to say the dreaded “c” word. It’s such a buzz word right now and I need a break. We all do.
If you’re anything like me, you had tons of wonderful plans this year to move forward in life. I’m talking major moves. Mega moves. Money moves. Literal… well… moves. And I’ll explain that in just a second.
I just turned 24 last week (Yaaaay!!) and that means I’m one year closer to fulfilling my life’s purpose. As to what that looks like, I’m not entirely sure, but I do know that I am on my way there by the grace of God. I had big plans for 2020. Well, I still do. But thanks to this virus deciding to take a world tour, these plans were… adjusted.
When I mentioned literal moves, I was alluding to some great news.
*drumroll* . . .
I’m going to Japan!
I got accepted by an established company for an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) position in Japan this spring. But then spring arrived, and I couldn’t leave Jamaica, all because of the-virus-that-shall-not-be-named. Well, technically, I could have left. The problem was that in the week of my planned departure, Japan decided to close its borders to the United States, through which I had been planning to travel. My agency scrambled to procure an earlier flight to avoid me arriving after the new border restrictions, but we just weren’t successful. It was super last minute and there were no sudden arrangements that could be made if I arrived after the ban and had to self-isolate for 14 days. In addition, I would have had training to attend for a week before going off to my assigned city. Plus, my home country had closed its borders to incomers, so if I were to leave, there was no coming back any time soon. Consequently, for most of us who were unable to make it to Japan, we were given a new placement for a later date. For me, that’s exactly 2 months away. And that’s hoping things smooth out by that time.
This pandemic for me, especially at the beginning, felt like my life was put on pause. I was so disappointed, since I had been looking forward to that moment for months, and though I trusted that God was directing me to wherever He wanted me to go or to stay, I couldn’t help feeling down about the sudden change of plans. I mean, your girl was PACKED and ready to go like:
I’ll keep you guys updated on that in the future. What’s really good though, is that the fabric of my intentions was not totally unravelled, but simply delayed. I wanted to share this background information, not just so you guys could celebrate with me (woot! woot!) or know what’s been up in my life, but also to provide some perspective for what I’ll describe as my activities for keeping busy during this quarantine. I have a list of 5 random things. So without further ado, let’s go!
1. Japanese Language Study
I studied Japanese for 3 years during university. In fact, it was my minor, and trust me… I forgot a ton of it. Spanish being my major, I aimed for a job which utilized my Spanish language skills after school. And I obtained a position at a private bilingual school which allowed me to teach little children Spanish in fun and creative ways. Basically, my Japanese language study quickly fell behind. Let’s not even mention French, lol. So, I got rustyyyy. Like, razor-left-in-the-shower-for-weeks rusty.
When I applied for the position in Japan, the prospect of being in this intriguing Asian country rapidly moved towards being a reality, as I successfully navigated the numerous stages of the application process. So, your girl donned some mittens and grabbed her Japanese from off the back burner. The pot was hot, but the meat was not, and so I got to cooking.
Or so I thought. I went to visit my family in the U.S. as autumn approached last year, and barely got any studying done for the months I was away. When Miss Rona came around, it took me for a whirl at the seemingly worst possible time. But, the extra time was just what I needed to start studying more intensely. Now I practice everyday, via apps, textbooks, and various websites. I’m actually pretty proud of my progress so far. That’s because I am not so good at keeping a routine *cough* *cough* Exhibit A: deserted blog *cough* so meee being CONSISTENT? Pssshh, and they say God ain’t working miracles no more? Boy, bye 😂 It is not a walk in the park (I’m looking at you, kanji) but I sure am having fun on this journey.
Oh, If you’re also interested in studying Japanese, and you want to learn more about how I go about self-study, then drop a comment and I’d be happy to make a post about that.
2. Staying in Shape
Okay, so maybe that’s a soft mushy rectangular shape, but any kindergartner or trigonometrist (I made that word up) can verify that rectangle is still a shape! The point is, I’m making the effort, okay? I started this 2-week challenge by Mr. London, and I did about 8 or 9 days of it, and saw results! So that was cool. I’m going to adopt it as a regular routine but I plan on keeping it at 3 days a week now though. Click here, if you’re interested in the challenge, to view it on YouTube. It’s focused on the abdominal muscles, from losing that muffin top to going even further to get toned abs, which are a dream of mine. However, I do need some more ideas for rounding out my work-out routine, so leave me some suggestions, pretty please!
3. Drafting a Business Plan
I never used to see myself as an entrepreneur. Yes, I imagined that my career would allow for flexibility and freedom, but I never saw myself as the woman who could sell something, or keep a business going. However, in recent years, I’ve come to realize that I have no intention of living paycheck to paycheck or spending ALL of my time, talents and energy on building someone else’s empire. Not only that, but I believe that I do have something to offer to enrich the lives of those around me. And with prayer, determination, a growth mindset and a good team to support me, I’m confident it can happen.
So, I’ve been doing more research about the product/service I want to offer, how to fine-tune my niche, and how to get started. My aim is to make sure that whatever I want to present to someone else, is something I’d want in my own life. Furthermore, I know SO many brilliant-minded people with huge, clever ideas who could add so much substance to the market, and make a positive impact on society, if only they had the tools, the mentor-ship and the support to push those ideas forward into reality. Are you one of those people? I pray you don’t give up on those plans. If you’re serious about it, there is a wealth of information at your fingertips to get you started!
4. Learning to Code
I am so thankful for the kind of uplifting and progressive friends that I have. I like to keep people around me who are always aiming to improve themselves and build something, while boosting others up in the process. So, I’d like to give a shout-out to my friend, Kevon, who shared that plug so that lil ole me could learn to code in python. Your girl already made a whole code for simulating a dining-in experience at a Jamaican restaurant. White rice with curry gravy, anyone? Lol. It’s amazing how much we can do if we just put ourselves out there and try to learn something new. I’m barely anywhere in the course and I’m already invigorated by all the possibilities. What’s awesome is that a skill like this is so practical and beneficial; I see it coming to good use in my future endeavours. All I need to do is keep at it.
5. Remembering what Really Matters
I’m happy that there are people who are taking well to self-isolation. I feel that I’m in a very fortunate position to have the kind of support structure I do, especially since I’m basically unemployed at this time until I can travel to Japan. This period has allowed for lots of quality time with people I care about. That includes my fiancé, his family, and time with myself and God, too. This experience has been truly humbling. It’s so funny, but I recall mentioning in my post about finally leaving university that no matter what we plan, there’s always a bigger divine plan that could easily come and knock ours out at anytime. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we want to do, when we want to do it and how we want it to be done, that we forget the bigger picture. This time of decreased hustle and bustle has allowed me to take a look once again at that picture, and it’s actually quite reassuring. What do you think you’ve been forgetting or neglecting that could be finally addressed during this time?
I hope everyone is staying smart and safe, and above all, loving. Thank you to our healthcare professionals, sanitary personnel and other essential workers who are still grinding so the world can keep turning. Your work is greatly appreciated. Y’all need a big. fat. bonus! I want to know what the rest of you all have been doing to keep yourselves busy. How has the pandemic affected you? Are you peachy, or perturbed, or somewhere in between? Leave your comments below!
Nuff love 🤗
© 2020 Sihle Atkinson – All Rights Reserved