The last time I posted a blog was in January. And while that may sound weird, considering the downtime we've all had this past year, let us also consider what we've largely been doing: Nothing.
For posterity's sake and in case my kids ever read this blog on their iPhone37s one day, we are T- minus 7 days from 2021. And while I assumed we'd be entering this new year filled with optimism for better times ahead, I can't help but be tempered by the reality that I'm last on the list for a vaccine, we need 70-80% country-wide compliance before things can return to normal, and mostly- we have no idea what normal actually means.
So maybe a yearly recap then? In January I was traveling (lol!) through Europe, not a care in the world. I came back with a wicked case of laryngeo-tracheitis which upon reflection I wonder was early-adoption Covid. I think everyone I know who was randomly sick in January or February 2020 thinks they were patient zero for Covid, but I digress.
|This gal traveling in Portugal has no idea what's coming|
I remember watching a Facebook video about a virus in far-flung Wuhan, China which looked out of a science fiction/horror movie. "Wow," I thought, "It must really suck to live in Wuhan." Never did I expect it would suck to live... literally everywhere.
Then came Purim and rumblings that the virus was spreading. Did I go to shul and a party? Yep! Was I on a committee to host a dinner the Friday night following that the rabbi didn't want to cancel because he was sure it would all be fine by then? Yep! Was that the beginning of life as we knew it? YEP!
In short order, life shut down. It was during the first lockdown that I really understood the breadth of the pandemic. Of course there was the physical toll (more on that later) but the emotional, economic and mental tolls were never something I foresaw. And it was that mental and emotional strain that caused me to flee a country that had Covid "under control" (Israel) to join the hysterical masses in Covid-ravaged New York to be with my family.
To Cliff's Notes the next part of the year: I flew in an empty airport, essentially holding my breath in fear for 10 hours before joining my parents in a house where we all wore masks. Around each other. We had a lovely, low-key Pesach after which I discovered that there was essentially no way for me to get back home. Flight after flight got canceled, resulting in nine incredible weeks in NYC. And by NYC I mean the four walls of my house because I basically saw nothing and went nowhere.
All that said, those nine weeks were bizarrely some of the most incredible I've ever had. Tragically, my grandfather Henry Sealine passed in the beginning of my stay. I was able to say goodbye to him and attend his funeral which probably would have been difficult in the best of times but certainly impossible during a pandemic. I was able to be there for my mother during a shiva week where no one else could be there for her. I was able to watch my nephews and grocery shop and help out in a way I generally can't living so far away.
And my sister's family was under the same roof en route to moving houses, so I had nine weeks of unadulterated family time, which I know will never happen again. So that was definitely the peak in a year chock full of valleys.
|Did I force my family to take this photo because I never get to be in family photos anymore? Sure did!|
Finally I came home and by that I mean to my apartment. All the time. As someone I refer to as "Covid-careful" (too careful?) I turned into someone totally new- a homebody. Pre-Covid I was out maybe 4-5 nights a week. I was social, guys. Suddenly I was always home. Parties were paused as were big Shabbat dinners. Weddings were on Zoom and so was wine club. Meeting new people became difficult so dating became even more so. Tel Aviv, the Israeli city that never slept took a long nap (for me at least- I saw some people raging on Instagram and well- it's their lives!) Summer passed me by unnoticed and Fall was largely uneventful but punctuated by High Holidays spent praying alone due to a second country-wide lockdown.
Here we are in December and heading into yet another lockdown (an idea so amazingly beneficial it has to be tried again!) Truth be told, I was unaware the second lockdown had ended. Just passing closed restaurant after shuttered bar- I didn't really see the point of this lockdown but then again, I'm not one of the super-geniuses running our government (can't wait to choose my favorite super-genius in the upcoming "yearly election!")
I'm now chilling in bidud (quarantine) because I recently went back to the States for an even shorter period of time than I will be in said quarantine. And why would I make such a crazy sacrifice? Because my delicious nephew was a bar mitzvah and some things in this world are worth the aggravation of Covid flights, 4 Covid tests, a 2- week quarantine and month-long jet-lag. This was one of them.
|Me and my favorite Bar Mitzvah young man|
So here I sit- a few days before my bidud birthday and on the precipice of a new year. One that the optimist in me hopes is better, while the science-lover in me waits patiently for the vaccine. And until then I will wear my mask, eat my sushi at home, a raise a rosé l'chaim to 2021- may it be the happiest, healthiest year yet!