Photo essay for the Special Initiative “From Fear to Resilience: Visual Storytelling of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia” by SEA Junction and Partners.
|Title:||Lessons for a Post-COVID World|
|Storyteller/Photographer:||Maria Olivia H. Tripon|
One and a half years seem to be the longest I have stayed home. In that time, I only ventured out twice – to get vaccinated.
I do miss the spontaneity of simply going out. I put on make-up as if I am going somewhere. Not only when I have a Zoom meeting. I put on a nice dress with matching earrings and sandals, with perfume to boot!
I have grown accustomed to my room as “lola’s (grandma) room.” My bathroom has many handrails, non-slip mats and a plastic chair under the shower, courtesy of my solicitous children. I am resilient in my old age and have adapted to changes.
Music is a welcome treat. I still can still play my old pieces on my second hand piano. I bought a small Sony radio that can play audio cassettes and CDS (yes, I haven’t thrown them away). My second son Gabby had the record player fixed, and we listen to some old songs occasionally. When the rowdy grandsons are here, they constantly want to hear Voltes V on a 45 record or the Star Wars album.
I miss my grandsons. We coped by exchanging letters. It started as homework for Leon. Now they are my penpals.
This pandemic has wrought changes in our families. Last year, my youngest son Jim and his wife Edhel decided to homeschool their children – Leon, grade three and Hugo, grade one. Jim and Edhel are both medical doctors and they had to adjust their schedules to attend to teaching. After a year, both boys advanced to the next grade. Even my other grandson Henry, who goes to online Montesori school, has also moved on from baby class.
My grandsons are lucky to have Wi-Fi and computers, with parents who can teach them at home. What about the poor children with no gadgets and Wi-Fi?
Confronted with so many deaths of people I actually knew, I have attended too many zoom masses to learn that spending time with friends and family is important. One thing is sure. We can’t go back to what we were before. We realize we can live without a lot of things. Things we used to think were essential. But the really valuable things are family, health, and prayers.
Maria Olivia H. Tripon is a feminist writer and founder of Women’s Feature Service (WFS) Philippines. Women Writing Women Philippines sprung from WFS Philippines, which closed down after more than 20 years of media advocacy in giving women a voice in mainstream media (See full article in this link https://womenwritingwomen.com/2021/10/20/lessons-for-a-post-covid-world-covid-19-journals/)
“From Fear to Resilience: Visual Storytelling of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia” is a special initiative of SEA Junction supported partly by the China Medical Board (CMB) Foundation to promote an alternative narrative of survival, resilience and solidarity. We are asking for short stories in the form of photo essays, short documentaries and illustrated art essays in any language of Southeast Asia (to be later translated into English) or in English. For more background and other stories click here.
SEA Junction, established under the Thai non-profit organization Foundation for Southeast Asia Studies (ForSEA), aims to foster understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asia in all its socio-cultural dimensions- from arts and lifestyles to economy and development. Conveniently located at Room 408 of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center or BACC (across MBK, BTS National Stadium), SEA Junction facilitates public access to knowledge resources and exchanges among students, practitioners and Southeast Asia lovers. For more information see www.seajunction.org, join the Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/1693058870976440/ and follow us on twitter and Instagram @seajunction