Life during a Pandemic

By now, anyone who exists on the planet had heard of the global pandemic that is COVID-19. My state has over 10 cases as of March 17th. My county has had 2 cases. My school closed last week and it is going to be closed for 3 weeks. I’m afraid that they will be closing it for the rest of the year! How awful would that be, especially since this is my last year in middle school. So anyways, I am officially in my second day of “self-quarantine” . I am, knock on wood, pretty healthy and so are my parents. This quarantine is only to protect ourselves from getting the virus and/or spreading it to others who have a weaker health. My city hasn’t been locked down yet. I am free to go anywhere but all the big places like libraries and gyms have been shut down. Restaurants are changing to delivery and pick up only. I’m pretty sure that going to malls is banned. In my house, during the times that we aren’t shut up in our respective rooms to work or, in my case study, we are glued to CNN, watching any and every update that is happening. 

But, I’m not here to lecture you on the COVID-19. I wanted to share my story and what I have been thinking during this situation. I first heard about a “mysterious virus affecting China” in the first week of January. I remember watching a video talking about how 2020 was of to a bad start, with the wildfires in Australia, the death of Kobe Bryant and this virus. At the time, I remember thinking, “Wow, I hope 2020 get better!”

(Oh boy if I only knew)

To me, I felt like this virus suddenly became so world wide. One day, the news was talking about cases in China and the next day, BAM, it’s all over Europe. Before I knew it, I woke up one March morning to hear my mom saying, 

“The Coronavirus is in Lexington.”

It was the morning of Dance Blue, an event organized by UK in our school to raise money for cancer patients. Thinking back, that night was probably the last big event for my eighth grade year. 

Only a week after Dance Blue, My eighth grade trip to Chicago that I had been preparing and anticipating for months was cancelled.  My mind was mentally preparing myself the trip being cancelled after I read that there had been several cases in Illinois. It still felt terrible. I felt like the virus had hit too close to home. Now, a week later, I’m stuck at home, my parents are both working from home. Up till today, almost all public places have been shut down, with the exception of our grocery stores. Almost no one is seen outside, which isn’t actually that surprising for Lexington. 

So now what? I am trying to not be too worried or panicked. It is crazy that we are living through something so historically important. I am waiting till thing can go back to normal, however long it takes. I will try and keep updating my blog on the different things that happen. To my readers, remember the three biggest ways to prevent spread of infection- wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face and maintain SOCIAL DISTANCING! Don’t go on a trip to Florida when you know that there have been cases there and you could get infected. Avoid going to a party because it’s your friend’s birthday. 

And please stop hoarding up on toilet paper (spoiler alert- the Coronavirus doesn’t give you bad gas.)

All I can say right now is, stay safe! Try not to worry too much and think about the other.

A Pivotal Beginning To Summer Camps

Ever since we moved to the US, my mom was always signing me up for different events. This summer no different. Since this was my first summer here, she signed me up for many things. Three camps, one of them was me spending the week as a volunteer camp counselor. We traveled to different places like California and Nashville. A very eventful summer, but this camp was probably my favorite and the most eventful week of my summer.

When my mom told me about Concordia Language Camps, I didn’t really spend too much time thinking about it. So it was a camp where you learn a certain language and completely “immerse” into the language. I chose German as my language and I would spend the whole week eating talking and learning in German. My overconfident self was 100% sure that I would be fine only talking in German for an entire week after only a couple of months learning the language. So the weeks leading up to the camp, I wasn’t worried or nervous. I was excited to pack my own bags. We couldn’t carry and books in English or any electronic items. I was a little upset about living without any book and my phone for a whole week, but I was fine otherwise.

So on 24th of June, my dad and I set off for Bemidji Minnesota, a small town where Waldsee (the German camp) was. I had my suitcase and my pillow in my hands, and I was getting a little more nervous. When we reached the gate to Bemidji, I could see many kids who were also going for these camps. We landed in Bemidji and my dad handed me over to the Concordia camp people who were waiting in the airport to transport the kids who were arriving from Minneapolis. After about fifteen minutes of waiting, they took us to the bus. I was preparing myself to sit alone on the bus and in Burger King, which was where we were going to go for lunch. Luckily a girl who was around my age decided to be friendly (which frankly speaking I was extremely grateful for and I was so lucky to have been able to meet her) and we hung out till we reached the camp. Unfortunately she was going to a different language camp, so we never saw each other after that.

So I finally reached Waldsee and I was the only person in the entire bus who was going to the German camp. When I entered, I quickly realized that when they had said that everyone speaks German, they were serious. The two people who were signing me into camp spoke German, the counselors all spoke German. Everyone.

I was now starting to get a little worried. Do I know enough German to communicate with everyone?

[Spoiler Alert: I didn’t]

I got assigned my cabin and I went to the nurse who luckily spoke English. I also chose my bunk, which was in the corner of the house and a bottom bunk. This was also when I met my roommates. I have to say, I was very lucky, my roommates were all friendly and we all had a similar experience with the language, and we were all new. They became my closest friends and we exchange a couple of email as often as we can now. The first full day for me was Tuesday. Tuesday was probably my least favorite day because I was extremely homesick the whole day. The day would have been fun, had I not been so sad and homesick. This really proves that two people could do the same thing the whole day, but if one person is sad or upset then they end up having a terrible day.

However things changed on Wednesday. I hadn’t expected Wednesday to be such a fun day. In the back of my mind I just wanted to get through this day, and I would be one day closer to going back home. The day went by normally, like Tuesday. In our camp we used to alternate between familie (family in German), which was when we got into a group with about 6 other campers and two counselors and we did something to help us enrich our German or learn more about German culture. We learned German songs or German dances. We also played some games to practice introductions and greetings. We would also have activities like painting or music or football (or soccer). This would start around 10 in the morning and end at 7 pm when we would have our dinner and an evening program which could be a bonfire, or some plays in German. We would also have a couple of breaks in the day to buy candy from the cafe or hangout with friends. On Wednesday we had an Oktoberfest which is when we had our dinner outside. We feasted on pretzels, salad and sausages. We also did some dancing in the middle of our meal which was something I had never done before, but I had a blast. On Thursday we watched a play in the evening and my cabin had a night-time bonfire under the stars near the beautiful lake behind our camp. Friday was the last day and I had very mixed feeling about that day. On one hand I was excited to go back home, but on the other hand I was really going to miss Waldsee and my friends. The day went by quickly. In the afternoon we had a friendly game of football and when I say friendly it wasn’t friendly at all. I ended up sitting on the side and talking to my friends. We had a disco party in the evening where we dressed up all fancy and danced out hearts away to German pop music which was surprisingly good. In the middle of our dance party they played a Bollywood song which I found hilarious. On Saturday we all said our goodbyes and I headed back home.

Being an only child, I had never experienced living with so many people. Something about waking up and seeing seven other people wake up with you is fun. Or sharing a bathroom and three showers. In the timeline of four days, I got so comfortable around my cabin mates that I was comfortable with the fact that when I was taking a shower three other people could be outside and the only thing that separated us was a curtain. I learned a lot from the camp as well. I learned to respect people’s privacy. I learned to be independent and do things on my own without asking anyone else. I also got a taste of “living on my own” (not really because I had others living with me). I really think that every child should try living in camp at least one summer. It’s a place where you have fun and make friends, but you also learn and grown as a person.

And the food is amazing

The Camp

Bemidji Minnesota

 

My Greek Holiday: Athens

I recently went to the country Greece for my summer holidays. I have always wanted to visit Greece after reading about it and devouring Greek mythology. I visited Athens and Santorini, two of the most popular place to go to in Greece, I would be happy to share my adventure with you!!
My trip started of when I landed in Athens at midnight. I was too excited to be asleep and my parents and grandmother were quite annoyed with my constant chatter. But our host was amused at my interest in greek history. I was delighted to see that our hotel was quite near the main city tourist spots. It was a wonderful location.
The next day we visited the main square of Athens Monasthiraki square. We, my parents,my grandmother , our host, Mr. Lampros and me, had a walking tour of the area near our home. We saw the roman market, ancient agora, the parliament house, the place where the great Socrates gave his speeches and many more places. It was amazing. I met my aunt who had come from USA and we went home.
The next day we went to the ancient temple of Apollo. The name is the temple of Apollo or the oracle of Delphi. Some quick history…he oracle of Delphi was the place where the god who could see the future, Apollo, would send his predictions down to earth and the person who received the messages, the priest, would then pass the prediction on to the mortals waiting to hear!
There was a lot of climbing after we finished the tour of the Delphi museum. The ancient Greeks built there temples way up hill. The same thing for the Parthenon which we were going to visit the next day. But in the end it was worth every bit of it. The view of the oracle was stunning and made me very happy. After a few (..thousand!) images me and my family were back in Athens to rest after this long journey.
You just cannot visit Athens without seeing the acropolis!! It is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel tower. That is what me and my family were going to do today! We headed off to the acropolis centre at around breakfast. After a quick bite at a local café, we ready to climb the acropolis hill. And as I mentioned earlier, there was a LOT OF CLIMBING!!! Me and my dad sprinted ahead and my mom and aunt were a couple of steps away. My grandma decided to stay back and watch us climb. Around an hour later me and my dad reached the top of the acropolis hill where the acropolis,
The Parthenon and main temple of Athena was situated. This was the best thing I had ever seen and all the climbing was quite worth it. I was thrilled at the sight of the beautiful remains of the ancient greek temples, I felt so happy and in a way satisfied because I knew that all the preparation and reading I had been doing on this acropolis was all true. The way back down was easy and all of us were very cheerful and decided to do some shopping in the acropolis museum. I bought a beautiful headband that looked exactly like a wreathe. We caught up with my grandma who had already started going through the museum and saw all the artefacts and extravaganza that the acropolis museum had for us. We all headed back after the museum to the hotel rest after this truly amazing day!!!