We keep hearing and reading “Stay home. Keep safe,” until it started to sound like a mantra. It still echoes in my head seven months after the lockdown started. As I look back to that day, I wondered aloud if the condition will continue till Christmas and New Year. I have no answer. I am sure no one does although there are some lessons I learned from the pandemic:
- Back to Basic. It took quite some time for people to realize the need to grow their own food. Small plots were cleared, pet bottles were suddenly in demand and even balconies of condo dwellers were turned into mini gardens. People swooped down on sources of seeds or seedlings. We planted pechay, tomato, eggplant, okra. Seeing them grow and harvesting them gives some kind of accomplishment. New Buzz words are plantitas and plantitos. Ornamental plants are traded, if not stolen. Yes, even thieves are resourceful.
- Creativity in the kitchen. My general rule is never ever throw away food. Give it away or recycle it. This was tested when we had so much pechay. From the usual ginisang pechay, I leveled up to pechay burger, pechay omelet, chicken in tomato sauce and pechay, chicken pochero with pechay. Hey, not bad at all! It made me a self-proclaimed pechay gourmet queen. But to have pechay on the table morning, noon and night for more than a week requires a mastery of appreciation. I thank God this veggie has sustained us in the early days of quarantine, no doubt about it.
Left over fish, on the other hand, was recycled into sisig, sandwich spread, lumpia, sarciado, adobo. Aside from scrambled eggs, egg omelet and boiled eggs , I had to learn other ways to cook eggs. Here is where You Tube became my buddy. I learned to cook shakshuka, an Israeli version of egg omelet. It must be good because my husband likes it. He said I can win a cooking contest hands down!
- Little acts of kindness.” Stay home, keep safe” echoed around the globe several times in a day. These were encouraging words that strengthened ties among families and friends. Text messages flew fast and voice calls kept lines burning. We texted friends to let them know that we are praying for them. Some friends asked what we need, others found ways to send food. A friend who has a farm sent goat cheese and goat milk. Another sent red rice good for a month. On our part, the barangay ayudas were divided among families in the neighborhood who needed it most.
To this day, we assure friends and family that we continue to pray for God’s favor of good health and provisions. God’s countless blessings continue to overflow when people keep up praying, caring and sharing. Little acts of kindness make people feel loved in the midst of fear of the unseen virus.
- Faith and deep sense of gratitude. I believe faith in God keeps us hoping for the pandemic to pass. We are reminded that He created heaven and earth and He is above everything that is happening. Not once did we ask why. Instead, we daily reaffirm our faith and gratitude to God for providing everything we needed for the day. The morning is enough reason for thanking God for keeping us safe during the night. Medical and non-medical front liners are always lifted up in prayer. Indeed, we have a great loving God.
So, stay home, keep safe and continue to learn lessons from this situation. We have God who is in control.