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QUARANTINE CELEBRATIONS

Post #6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo above: My mom and I circa 1999 at our cabin in the Arnold, CA)
Mother’s Day

Yesterday, May 10th, we celebrated the national holiday of Mothers Day! Given the current circumstances, it was very different for my family, but also very nice. My brother just started a new job in which his hours of working are between 6:00 pm and 4:30 am. Due to his schedule he wasn’t able to join the celebration, so it was just my parents and I. We spent the day by going on a walk and cooking a nice dinner! Although we weren’t able to celebrate with the rest of our family, we made the best of it. I am very thankful for many things that have been results of quarantine. For example, if I was still in Madrid I wouldn’t have been able to be with my mom to celebrate Mother’s Day. There are many silver linings that I have found while being sheltered at home. I hope you are finding these disguised blessings every day as well :). 

In Other News…

The Governor of California has been making some new decisions to help our economy move forward at this time. A couple of weeks ago, he announced an extension of “shelter in place” until the end of May, which was expected by most people. Then a few days later he announced a change to allow retail businesses to open up with strict regulations. As of next week, small retail business can open up for delivery and curbside pick up of items (eg. clothing, furniture). This is very great news for our economy, even though it does pose some potential risks for the spread of COVID. Personally, I’m not as worried anymore about how COVID is spreading here, because as we have seen in California especially, the curve is flattening. 

I had a chance to chat via zoom call with a student last week and I was filled in on the changes being made in Spain. I’m so happy to hear that you are able to go outside. I know that the sunshine is so helpful for mood and positivity :). I’d love to chat with more of you if you are interested! I miss seeing your faces!

Something I’ve Learned

This past week, I have been very active outside and at home. I have been exercising every day for at least an hour or more and I’ve felt much more physically and mentally better than I have in a while! My health is very important to me, and something I learned about myself is that I am in charge of my happiness (for the most part). Circumstances occur, but I believe that we are in charge of how we deal with those difficult circumstances. A huge way that I can take control of my happiness is by being active. When you are active you release endorphins (the happy brain chemical), so getting active is a proven way to feel better. If you haven’t been getting moving as much as you’d like, I recommend you try! Even if it is just dancing in your living room, it’ll make a huge difference in your mood. 

Signing Off

As always, I miss you all. In fact, I had a dream last night that I was back at school hugging all of you! I hope that dream can be a reality soon for the whole world. I have loved seeing your responses to my blogs, so thank you for taking the time to respond! If you have any requests for topics on my blog I would love to incorporate them, so let me know! Take care and do a dance!

Love

Zoë

 

 

 

 

 

Focusing on the Positives!

 

 

Pictured above: My sweet grandmother, who I visited through her window last week ?? 

Hello to all!

I realized that when I write my posts on Monday (San Francisco time), you don’t see them until Tuesday! So my new goal is to write one every Monday (Madrid Time). They might become more frequent, however my weeks aren’t very full of activities, so I’m lacking in stories at the moment. This last week, I’ve done a lot of thinking, and I have been trying to focus more on the positives that are currently present in both my personal life and the world. Although at this time, there is much we can be angry about, there’s also things that we can smile about! I would really like to focus on those things today in my post. 

Let’s start with Spain!

As always, my heart is with all of you back in Madrid. I miss the city and all of your faces so much more everyday.  I spend a lot of time reminiscing on all the fun times we had together! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time, I know that  your circumstances in Spain are not easy at the moment. 

I’ve heard news of your COVID case numbers dropping, as well as news of the changes that are being made with your lockdown! They may seem minor, however they sound very exciting! I would love to hear more about all that’s going on from you, about all of your experiences in lockdown and how you felt when you were finally able to leave your home. If you would like to chat with me over zoom let me know!

My Updates!

Since last Thursday, I have been at home with just my two cats. My parents and my dog went back up to my cabin and this time I stayed back. It has been very nice to be alone, and I think we all needed this time apart. It’s been a lot more quiet, so I’ve had more opportunities to read, and even take naps!

I meet with my therapist over video chat once a week, and we’ve been reading a book together. There was a quote from the author that reads, 

“True strength comes from how much flexibility we have to adapt to our constantly changing world.” – Mali Apple

I was struck by this quote, because it seemed to be so applicable to the situation we are all in. Although we may not see it, we are growing stronger each day. When the pandemic has ceased we will all look back on this year and we will be reminded of how strong we are! 

In other news, I’ve been doing a lot of yoga during quarantine, to keep both my body and my mind refreshed . In fact, I took a big step and taught my very first yoga class over zoom to some friends just this morning! It went really well, and it gave me the confidence to continue working towards my goal of becoming a certified yoga instructor! One thing that quarantine has given me, is the time to refocus on things that are important to me and make time for my well-being. 

I hope that you all take time to get to know yourself on a deeper level and that you learn new things about yourself. During this process we can choose to reconnect to ourselves and think deeply about many different aspects of our lives! Keep on keepin’ on! With very much love,

Zoë

Happy Monday! Blog Post #4 Monday, April 27, 2020

Hello!

Happy Monday :)

I had a realization this morning, which was that I didn’t make a blog post for Earth Day! As many of you probably know, Earth day was last week on April 22nd. Earth day has always been one of my favorite days to celebrate. I think this time of the year, during Spring is a time when I feel the most refreshed and revived. The sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and pollen is flying around (although aggravating my seasonal allergies LOL). This time of the year many of us are reminded of the beauty that Earth possesses. I think that it is very important to acknowledge and appreciate Earth’s beauty, because it motivates us to keep it healthy and happy. We all play a role in the health of our planet, and the things we do each day affect it greatly. Here are a few things I do on a daily basis to be environmentally conscious:

  • Avoiding the use of single use plastics
  • Using reusable shopping bags
  • Walking/riding my bike/taking public transport around town instead of driving
  • Picking up trash when I see it
  • Using Earth-Friendly cleaning products
  • Turning off lights to save electricity
  • Eating a (mostly) plant based diet

Sometimes it may seem like the small things we do day to day won’t help the earth in the big picture, but that’s where we’re wrong! Any support we can give to our planet is helpful and whether that’s one less plastic bag in our ocean, or a large decrease in CO2 emissions, it’s a HUGE help :).

I hope that you all celebrated Earth Day, but if you didn’t, no worries, it’s never too late to give back to our wonderful home! Earth day should be celebrated everyday and I firmly believe that each and every one of us plays a vital role in helping it heal!

I have attached a short intro video into Zac Efron’s #GreatGlobalCleanUp that he made for Earth Day 2020. I was especially excited about it because it’s partially set in Morro Bay, CA, which is the same town that I lived in for four years for University!

Watch with this link here:

Three Items You Find at a Clean Up | Earth Day

Have a Great Monday my friends! 

 

Signing off, Zoë

The Mountains Called! Blog Post #3 Monday, April 20th, 2020

 

Family Cabin Trip

In the photo above, I am with my puppy at a small lake called “Fly In Lake”. This lake is located in the mountains in a town called Arnold, which is Northeast of Livermore (my hometown) and my family and I have a cabin here. We drove here on Friday for a little “getaway”, and it has been very relaxing!

                     

My family has owned our cabin here since 1971, when my dad was just 14 years old. When his parents passed away, my dad inherited it. When I was young we would come up several times a year with my family, to snow ski during the winter and swim in the lake during the summer! I have brought many friends here, and we’ve made many memories. I always feel at peace here, and for the first time in a while I have been able to forget about social distancing and wearing gloves!

My Weekly Lesson

I was thinking that for each Blog Post I could add a section at the bottom, about a lesson I’ve learned during the week! So here it goes..

This week, like I mentioned, has been very relaxing, especially since I have been at my cabin! However, not everything has been that easy. I haven’t lived with my parents full time since high school (about 5 years ago), so being sheltered in place back home with them has been difficult in some ways. I have had to relearn how to live according to my parents rules and adjust many things to keep the peace. At first I was really frustrated. I felt that I had lost all independence and that they didn’t respect that. But after about a month being home, I have come to be very appreciative of this time I have with them. So to put this “lesson” I learned in short terms, I would say that, “Change is a part of life, and learning to adapt to unwanted change is proof of maturity”. My ability to adjust to this Pandemic and what it has caused, has shown how I have learned to adapt and mature, a very important skill!

In conclusion, I hope that during this Pandemic, you have also learned some lessons about the world and your place in it! Thank you for reading my posts! Miss you all, like always. Take care!

Signing off,

Zoe :)

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!

Post #2   

Tuesday April 14th, 2020

I hope you all enjoyed your spring break as much as you could, despite the circumstances! Welcome to my second blog post! 

Some Zoe Updates!

This past week has been nice here in the San Francisco Bay Area. The weather is warm and sunny, making it very hard to stay inside. Luckily for me I am able to go in my backyard to enjoy the sun, which I have been doing a little too often (I’m a little sunburnt). I also celebrated my 23rd birthday on Saturday and it turned out to be one of my favorite birthdays yet! The morning of my birthday I went on a bike ride, and on my way home as I was nearing my house, down my street I could hear music, and familiar voices in the distance. As I got closer I noticed many of my friends and family were lined up on my street in their cars with balloons and signs to show their love. It was so sweet I couldn’t speak because of how much I was crying! It turned out much bigger than my friends had planned, and there were about 50 people there. It was definitely breaking social distancing rules, so we had to send everyone home. It was so much fun yet so sad that it had to be all at a distance. However I need to remember this is temporary, we will all get through it!

Some COVID Updates!

Since last week, things have been the same over here in my household. I haven’t been listening to the news all that much, to avoid stress and worry, but I have a few bits of news from my country! At this time, all 50 states now have confirmed cases of COVID-19, and different parts of the country are facing different levels of severity. As of last week, there was a surge in cases and deaths in three states; Michigan, Louisiana, and Florida. This was a frightening prediction, especially for people living in those states, as they couldn’t do much to stop it.

BUT, there is good news! In the US now, there are many states which have already “flattened the curve” which means a decline in the number of new cases of COVID, which correlates to fewer hospitalizations and deaths. There are also many states which have not yet reached their peak in cases, but are predicted to reach it soon.

 

Positive Thinking

With all this information constantly on the news and around us, it can be difficult to stay positive, but with the right tools and mindset we absolutely can! Most people you talk to will understand the fear, and anxiety around the COVID-19 Pandemic, and that’s something unique and special. Any time you are feeling scared or worried, there are people to talk to (including me) that can empathize with how you feel. Don’t forget the  power of conversation!

Thinking “positively” is easier said than done, but it’s a decision we make each day when we wake up. It’s a mind set of how to look at the world and your place in it! Right now, I am personally facing some doubts regarding my purpose at this time, because days all string together, and sometimes I lose motivation. However, I have made a list of tangible activities that I do from home each day that help to shift my mindset, they include:

Yoga and breathing exercises
Eating balanced meals and lots of water!
Not isolating- staying in contact with people via social media/whatsapp
Getting a full night's sleep (8-9 hrs)

These things work for me, and I hope you have found activities that work for you during lockdown as well!

In closing, I would love to hear about you as well. Why don’t you write an email to me? Ask your teacher to resend it to me and I’ll be delighted to answer back!

Talk soon!

Zoe

Zoë's first blog post

Back in the United States

(This post was written on April 6th)

Hi everyone and welcome to my blog! I miss you all very much and I hope you are staying healthy and safe during this time. I will be making a post every couple of days from now on to keep you updated on life over in this part of the world! 

3 weeks after leaving Madrid

Today marks 3 weeks and a day since I have been back in my hometown of Livermore California! However, before I talk about my time spent here, I will explain what happened the night of March 11th that led to my decision to leave Madrid. 

March 11th was a big day for all of us. It was the first day when this pandemic felt real in Madrid. We were told that school would be canceled indefinitely. This made me a little worried about what this meant for my future as an English teacher, as well as the future of Spain and the rest of the world. However, despite this reality I was trying to be positive and take it one moment at a time. 

Shortly after falling asleep that night I was abruptly woken up by my roommate in a panic, she said to me, “Zoë wake up! We need to book a flight home, Trump just made a travel ban that starts Friday at midnight. We can’t be stuck here!” While still half asleep we spent some time on the phone with our parents planning our return home for that weekend. This was a quick change of events and I couldn’t believe that I was leaving Madrid. Madrid had become my home! Without much time to process all of it, I packed most of my stuff, said as many goodbyes as I could and was on my way.

Upon arrival back to California, I felt very nervous about potentially spreading the corona virus to my loved ones (but to assure you, I never had the virus). To prevent this, I spent my first two weeks in the back of my house. I self quarantined very strictly and only left to take a walk outside. It was difficult, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way!

Now that I am able to be near my parents we have spent much time doing puzzles, watching movies and making delicious meals. This time has taught me to slow down, and be grateful for my family and for my health. 

Here in the United States, we have four or five metropolitan areas that have been affected seriously by the CoronaVirus. This week in the USA, we are unfortunately expected to have a surge in deaths from the disease. However, a positive is that the rate of new cases has been slowing down. We have been ordered to “shelter in place” until May 3rd. The term “shelter in place” is similar to your lockdown in Spain and we are highly advised to stay at home. 

Right now the businesses that remain are the ones that are deemed “essential businesses”. These include grocery stores, food supply businesses, farming companies, banks, pharmacies, doctors offices/hospitals, and postal services. Fortunately for my family, both my father and my brother work in the food industry, selling chocolate! 

We are looking forward to the possibility that businesses will reopen in about a month from now and for life to become somewhat normal again for us in the USA as well as for the rest of the world. I am also very hopeful that I will return to Madrid eventually as I miss it and all of you so much!

Much love :) 

Zoe

 

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