Last year we were abruptly grounded beginning in March and our trips became limited to the kitchen, dining, bedroom, loft, family room, home office, garden, garage, patio, toilet. Oh and to the laundry area. Then after the lockdown had been lifted in the US, we gathered enough courage to walk outside and explore the neighborhood and go around the big park.
Although the virus was still very much around, beginning in July 2020 we somehow started enjoying some calculated freedom: to the supermarkets, open-air or patio dining in restaurants, pharmacies, Starbucks, even to some retail stores like Homegoods, CVS, Target, premium outlets, etc. We even went to several vineyards and wineries. We spent a week in Monterey and Carmel. And another week in Yountville, Napa, Sonoma, Petaluma, and Healdsburg. I got to visit Nevada with Edmund in June. And while waiting for my flight confirmation to Manila, I spent a week in Las Vegas with Bong and Len. We enjoyed some kind of freedom but at the same time we were wary not to dine indoors and we kept our distance from other people. We always had our masks on. And it was okay.
We even had small family gatherings.
Back here in Manila, our movements remained limited but somehow we were able to go to the office although not daily, we were able to pick up groceries, go to the seafood market, eat out, visit the church, go to the farm, visit our doctors, go to Greenbelt Shopping Center, Greenhills, and Shangri-la Mall.
We even spent a week in Baguio.
We did all that with a face mask, face shield, alcohol, alcohol, and alcohol. And it was okay.
In the morning, when Edmund sees me dressed up, he asks where I am going. To the kitchen where else?
I was able to drive by myself to visit the church and go to the office. When I need to go to a place with difficult or limited parking I bring a driver (tested and quarantined).
Although I felt restricted then, it was not as bad as now. I can no longer do all those now.
I spend my days mostly inside the bedroom fearing that our maids are asymptomatic carriers. They haven’t had a single day off since March 2020 but they still do go out at least twice a week– to the village market set up during the pandemic and to Mercury Drug.
The driver does errands picking up documents, food deliveries left at the guards, etc. Although he is confined on the lower ground floor, he can still pick up the virus and infect the maids.
The majority of homeowners here who got sick caught the virus from either their maids, nurse, driver, caregiver.
Once in a while I look out the window and stare at the sky and the tall buildings in Ortigas Center.
I feel like a bird in a cage. My world has gotten much smaller.