Resilience was not a word I thought about a lot until a few days ago. Waves upon waves of bad news have been storming our homes for months now and my conservative South- Asian upbringing didn't include swimming lessons of any kind. But the more I think about this word, and let it roll over my tongue, the more I realize that I'm quite familiar with it. In fact, it's been growing wild in my warm apartment kitchen. About a year ago, on a sunny Monday morning, I married a wonderful man. Typical arranged marriage situation, except of course, for the very atypical global pandemic we are in. We first met at a generic coffee shop, taking off our face masks hesitantly for an awkward hello. We met many times after, always swapping stories over a meal and spent about three months getting to know each other before the date of our actual ceremony. Given the pandemic conditions, the usual jokes every bride hears about learning to cook before her wedding were passed over for repetitive concerns on sanitization and social distancing. I'm certain we discussed food preferences, but the early romantic fog must have kept me from clearly seeing just how important food and its preparation would prove to be once I moved out of my parents' home and into my own! I'm telling you this because I found myself thoroughly perplexed a few weeks later. Cooking, as it turns out, was more at the heart of a marriage than I had considered. I've seen TV dramas where the kitchen shelves are neatly stacked and all the appliances are in the right locations, but even the scenes that depict people actually cooking don't fully capture the emotion of what goes on in a home kitchen on a daily basis. I didn't know that I didn't know how to cook. I certainly didn't know how to cook a full meal for two people in the forty minutes between when I sleepily entered the kitchen each morning and when I ran out the front door screaming about being late for work again. The opportunities to make mistakes were so many – dicing the right number of vegetables, pouring an exact amount of oil, mixing in the perfect amount of spice and so on. At first, I found this daily task sitting restlessly on top of the heaviness I rolled around all day- the fear of a virus. I was determined to make excuses for my inadequacies. This pandemic, I can say with relief, is not something I'm responsible for. But my cooking is. And the more I began to view it as a therapeutic pushback against the devouring thing that lived across the floor from me, as a tiny act that expressed my love for my partner, the more it became an activity I could rely on rather than resist. So maybe I know a few things about resilience. It has been thriving since I've learned to ask “What would you like to eat today?”
Six years ago, come December, I lost the very first person who ever loved me. She busted my butt when I really needed it; baked the best peanut butter cookies; made me curl my hair on sponge rollers every. single. night.; fixed 3 square meals every day; kept a clean house for her family; gave me a great little sister to argue with; worked short hours at the school cafeteria so she could still be home when her kids were home; always kissed me good night; was fun loving and great entertainment; married a hard-working man who provided for his family; put up with my sass; was my Girl Scout Leader; gave me untold opportunities to know, love and respect her own awesome parents: and was the best friend I EVER had. I miss her voice. I miss her hugs. I miss her love. I miss her teasing. I miss her smile. But I'm truly humbled by how my own emotional pain is nothing new in the world we shared together. I know Mama missed her own mother. Grandma missed her own mother, and so on. Back, and back. It's how the world turns. From one generation to the next, it's simply the way of it. Someday, I hope to feel better about this reality of mortality. I don't see it being anytime soon but am still hopeful. For now, I continue to miss my beloved Mama. Heaven is her eternal home and I'll join her there, one great morning. ~God Bless
And there they were in Barcelona, looking at the world-famous cathedral. The photographer told them not to look at the camera, but there was no need. The majestic building was mesmerising and it was impossible to look away. But the guests forgot about the architecture and were staring at them. And what about them? They were having a wedding. Just like in his fantasy, just like in her romantic dreams. They said, "I do" and exchanged rings. He stood behind her and the wind blew her hair into his face. She could feel his warm breath and they both felt good. It was the culmination - there were no two parts, just one whole. Incredible emotions from a rich wedding and a woman he could only dream of recently - for his ego and the sentimental part that was ecstatic for the guests and the woman he loved. There were family, friends and prominent industry professionals. It was a victory for him. He couldn't contain his emotions - his cold soul was melted by the great success. His voice trembled as he spoke and a tear of joy dropped from his eye. "I am incredibly grateful to everyone here today for supporting both of us before we met," he hugged his lover tightly, “and after. You are an incredible people. This success is yours too! To all those who told me it was impossible, but continued to support me – you were with me in your hearts, even when my head was against it. I would like to say a special thank you! My love, I'm still in awe of how things have turned out, so I thank the universe for every second of it. We have come a long way but we are here today. All of us together. This is a new phase of life, but it's definitely better than the last one! Salut mi familia!” And now what? I don't know - he went to talk to his best friend. Suddenly A realised that he had been chasing something all his life. It didn't matter if it was material or not, but it was a chase of passion. But why think about lost opportunities when everything turned out in a way he could not even imagine? - Do you remember...? –B asked softly as if addressing the wind, not A. - Yes..., – A breathed out a little sadly. - What's next? - I hope this is the beginning. - New York? – B looked seriously at his interlocutor. - New York... The wind blew strongly, bringing with it the scent of September. They were lost in their memories – looked thoughtfully into the distance and became nostalgic. There was a lot to remember. Those distant, carefree days, 15 years ago, when they were just making a name for themselves, trying to prove themselves in school tournaments and leaving it late – exhausted but happy after such events. And when go outside, nature heals. On a warm sunny day and the crisp September air was filled with the scent of their friend's perfume. The trees, dressed in colourful garments, seemed to absorb the sun's energy, creating a sense of harmonious unity in nature. Birds were singing, some flying south. They quietly contemplated this beauty and gradually merged with nature. September was more anticipated than the New Year: the start of the school year, the end of the holidays and the shorter days encouraged us to get more involved in our work. Maybe this is the year we will be successful or victorious? With their dreams supported by their daily work, the days fly by for them. So the beauty around them goes unnoticed. If only this moment could last a long, long time... Then there was the university. Thanks to the Internet the best relationships have been established and consolidated. Not without face-to-face meetings, of course. During the periods when the pandemic was waning, it was possible to attend classes in person. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm for the educational process disappeared quite quickly, but the fact of going to university was quite pleasant. Most of all, they looked forward to the September evenings. A walk after classes on a clear day – people are coming home from work, young people are having fun and making noise, the first lights are shining on the busy highway, where premium cars are speeding along, ignoring the speed limit. They looked up at the clear sky, only the sun is setting behind the horizon, its last rays filling the buildings with orange light. Once a missile hit the schoolyard, burning the perennial maples, destroying the patterns and damaging the building. It was rebuilt many years later. And they are still there. Just like now, in September, it happened again. But it's not the same. These trees need several decades to restore the overall atmosphere of natural grandeur. - Don't think about it too much, – said V, who was the first to recover from the wave of memories. - I have done everything for today anyway! - Come on, let's go, they're waiting for us. And so began his dream life. After the official part of the wedding, the newlyweds and their best friends went to the Costa Brava. The picturesque road along the Mediterranean coast and the Porsche – it was an unforgettable moment.
Ding-Dong! “Stand clear of the closing doors, please” blasted the announcer's voice across the station. Jonah had heard this everyday since he could remember. “3 stops till Kingston” he thought, carrying a backpack full of books that he dreaded carrying for hours on the commute to and back from school. Jonah kicked his feet back and forth, his feet grazing the ground just slightly. He stared at the creases on his shoes who's brand he couldn't recall. They were some off brands anyways, no reason to remember which ones. The subway screeched to a halt, the faces outside the car that were once blurred stare back at Jonah. People start to push and shove the minute the doors open. Running up the stairs to leave the station, a mirage of conversations, mumblings and people talking flood Jonah's senses. He can't really make out what they're saying, he doesn't really try. “Jonah! How was school?” Jonah's finally made it to his destination. A small deli run by an older Korean man and his daughter. The sign outside reads “Ray's Delicatessen” but most people here call it “Ray's”, “Mr. Park's”, “the Park/Park” or “the Deli”. For Jonah, he calls it “home”. “Fine Mr. Park! Same as always!” replied Jonah Mr. Park shook his head and chuckled as he continued to tend to other customers, “As long as you're not getting into trouble” It's become a routine, Mr. Park asks how he is and Jonah replies with fine no matter what. Jonah tries to not stress him out, he always hears Hannah, Mr. Park's daughter, complain about her forehead wrinkles, crows feet and smile lines. Jonah doesn't see a problem but still tries to avoid making them worse Jonah slips behind the checkout counter, he sits on the blue crate right under the cash register and starts his homework on his knees like usual. History, English, then Science and Math, hardest to easiest. Jonah loves closing up shop and definitely not just because he gets to eat some of the unsold bagels and sausages. “Ai *tsk* Jonah, you know you mustn't sit here” exclames Mr. Park. Jonah doesn't move, Mr. Park doesn't really care. Time passes, business has been slow these days but it only means more time for Mr. Park and Jonah to talk. The deli was not just a place to get a quick eat for Jonah after school, it was his place of refuge, one of love and community. He had somewhere to be and all Mr. Park asked for in return were English lessons and to use some of Jonah's beginner-level novels to practice his reading skills. Jonah knew Mr. Park stopped needing those lessons a long time ago and for those textbooks, Mr. Park still reads them. Even though he completed all of them, cover to cover, hundreds of times, it still gives those literary works a second life. And Jonah would never mind when Mr. Park read them outloud to him either, even when he pretended to hate it. Bed-time stories were for ‘babies' and not 8 and a half year-olds. Still, “Maybe these books aren't so bad” thought Jonah. For without them, their friendship would be lost in translation.
“What is life?” This is a question you may have asked yourself on numerous occasions. Did you fibd your answer yet? Did you find your purpose? What is the purpose… dose purpose matter? Ill never know the answer to these questions and neither will you because that's not how these thibgs work. In life there is no way to know what will happen or what can or why. It just happens and you just deal with it while its happening. Those events may shape how you think, feel, or act for the rest of your life but it dosn't matter. That same thing that changed you can happen over and over and over again no matter what you cant prevent it. Why tho? I dont know… I can't tell you. Did you come here looking for answers? Lol No answer while be foud im not the all knowing all powerful one. I just know that none og this matters. In the end it cest to exist so enjoy these momments you have. Enjoy the time. Enjoy the enviorment, the people, the animals, the air. One breathe you take is one you'll never get again… so breathe… take your time to understand nothing has meanibg so choose what means something to you. Chose Wisley, because it could make you or break you. I was raised by a queen and shall die a king. Thank you.
Happy Women's Month. One of the most fundamental issues that still need attention, especially in third-world countries is education for women as an empowering tool to uplift themselves. There are still voices of dissent and people who scoff at women who rise in their ranks and claim their places as leaders of an industry, or masters of their chosen profession. Here I would like to share a little bit about Education in Women. Shobana's Musings (https://shobanasmusings.blogspot.com/2023/03/education-for-women.html) I have incorporated a spotlight on my daughter who has just completed her Master's in LLB. A proud moment for us indeed. I have started a Weekly Newsletter and I hope that you will consider following the blog where I share my views on all and sundry. I have a new book published which has garnered great reviews so far on Amazon. You can read the first 2 chapters and the reviews at https://www.amazon.com/Where-Rain-Falls-Shobana-Gomes-ebook/dp/B0BWK6YBH6, Or read it on Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/my/en/ebook/where-the-rain-falls Have a great week. Best wishes, Shobana Gomes https://alittletimewithshobana.blogspot.com
I'm going to tell you a story, and it does not start with "Once upon a time...", but she might wish it did. For then, she too would be blissfully fictional and not painfully human. It is about the girl like any other. She liked the smell ground after the rain and hated the ultimate heat of the summer. Loved to get lost in the known parts of the woods and enjoyed how a creek can wash off all kinds of emotions. She loved dogs. Had two. She often admired her yellow cat for the simplicity of the days... Candles were for tough days and something sweet for every. Wind could make her feel alive and soothe the anger of raw emotion and strange people. She adored smelling that celestial aroma on her wrists, but often forget to put the perfume on. Loved ladybugs and nightingales, but never actually heard the exact lullaby. Fireflies were the magic and leaves could tell a story, though often a gloomy one. Spring could make her feel the pain of melancholy and autumn would make her feel alive again. Blood would make her wonder and people made her sick. Some days all the bottles of laughter she cherished so fondly were cracked and leaked in places, in time, melted with pain and grief. And when all that heroic pain became a burden, she'd start to grieve for the person she was before... the softness of a pillow, hot showers, and chocolate... the best thing for the worn-out soul. so that's when she'd realize that grief was just wild and forgotten love. Eyes are the mirrors and grin is a battle scar. Nothing can turn back time. Except for memories. And sometimes she hated that wretched window she could easily open. But through the image, the glass was already gone. So she would think of salt as an ocean and not a drop. Wild, ultimate, and free. The smell of the ocean always brought smiles and with the scent of pines, the moment of freedom. Cold is clarity for her and heat is too much. She likes the color blue and the sky with puffy clouds. In fields of green, she's frequently looking for clover with three petals, because that brings peace to the storms in the force of life around her. December sun can make her soul warm and she would smile like a new miracle was found. Every night they met, she often asked the Moon if she can make her full too because she was torn between the wonder of thoughts and wounds of reality; that didn't make her bitter, just more human than she knew. So, you see, all people enjoy Earth and what they think magic is in their different, but just another way of understanding the real world around them. Romanticized by the poets and worshipped by the nature. And sometimes air around you shifts and the path for the day goes well off the tracks... and the whole world is against you. Those days you frequently ask yourself about the mere purpose, but there's no known response that can bring you enough wisdom or happiness. It all belongs to you. All that pain and joy. Mind is a strange struggle itself, and I believe completely in that quote I bear in my mind; it sometimes creeps in, like a phantom and I find it sipping herbal tea, oblivious to my fear... "Not all those who wander are lost." So when our girl, that this story is about, goes looking for that particular wardrobe, blue box or huge hole near the tree... or even second star in the night sky... don't you dare to stop her! You can join her of course, and bring a book! She might not be fond of people in general, but I can tell that she likes humans with a rainbow in their eyes.
Choose to be whimsical! Treasure the things that make you smile. Your first time painting? Frame it. You don't even have to be good at it. You like collecting things? Be obsessed. Sometimes things can be valuable simply because you find them beautiful. They can be useless and breathtaking at the same time. -Jenifer
Although the initial fear about a new contagious coronavirus spread around the world in February 2020, it could not worry me at that time. I was preparing to start a new semester as an exchange graduate student in South Korea. I was over the moon, because I had dreamed of studying and traveling abroad all my life, and with just one step, the biggest dream would come true. As soon as the plane landed, we realised that we were in a different world. Everyone complied with the quarantine regulations, we arrived on campus and settled into the dormitory. However, the quarantine was strict, small trips around campus and the city were allowed for exchange students. Everything was great until I had a terrible accident with my bike on campus in the middle of April. It was an evening when I was bringing dinner for me and my roommates from a restaurant near our campus. I was not a professional bike rider, I was just riding at low speed because I lacked confidence. I was in a hurry because we had to go to Korean language class at 7 p.m., so I increased my speed. There was only one hill left and I was supposed to reach the dorm, but suddenly someone appeared on my way down the hill and I lost my balance and crashed to him. When I regained consciousness, I did not realize what had happened or how much time had passed. I was lying under my bike and about 2 meters away from me an old man was screaming in pain. Several students who were passing by immediately came to help and called the ambulance and the police. The old man sat there holding his leg and moaning in pain. Soon the ambulance and police arrived, they took the old man out of the car to give him first aid, and I found that one of the doctors spoke English, and I begged him to explain that I was sorry. I do not know if it was because of anger or pain, but he did not answer. The police began to question me. At that moment, one of the doctors told me that my hand was injured and that I needed first aid. Only then I felt a severe pain in the wrist of my right hand and I could not move my palm. The policemen looked at me with unusual suspicion and said they would go to our dormitory to check my documents. After that, they said they would contact me, then another ambulance arrived and took me to the hospital. As I sat in the ambulance, I still could not understand what had happened, I felt like a criminal. When the doctor who examined the X-ray results at the hospital said that my wrist bone was broken, that it needed to be operated on quickly, and that the surgery would cost $4,500-5,000, it all seemed was over. I could barely control myself , it was a huge amount in Uzbekistan currency, and it was obvious that my parents could not send me that much money. My friends got me out of the hospital and we came back to dorm and I asked them not to tell my family. I was facing a very difficult problem: my parents have always believed in me, but now if they find out about this incident, they may be horrified. Besides, they would have to borrow a large sum to send money for the operation. That night I could not sleep, it was the longest and hardest night of my life. The unbearable pain in my hand, as well as the thought that the achievements I had made so far were ruined because of this mistake and that no one would trust me anymore, gave me no peace. I fantasized about all the ways to make money, because my decision was made up, no matter what, I will not tell my family members! We consulted all day with my friends to find a solution, but we did not come up with a definite idea. Desperate, tired, and racked with pain, I returned to the dorm. My phone connected to the wifi, I checked the messages from Telegram, and there was a reply message from the insurance company. I immediately replied to the message and described the whole process. When I heard from him that my request could be accepted, all my pain was washed away with tears. Next day, I was told that I had to go to Chosun National University Hospital, where they would operate on my hand and all the costs would be covered by the company. After 2 days from surgery I left the hospital, successfully finished the semester with excellent grades and returned to Uzbekistan in July. By the way, the old man I had injured was a good person and did not sue me in any way, as I was told by the policeman who came at the end of the semester to close the case. At that moment I realized that I was a really lucky girl: otherwise I or an old man would have been seriously injured, he would have sued for damages, the insurance company would not have covered the expenses, and I would have lost the trust of my family and would have experienced a series of similar disappointments. But fortunately, everything turned out well, leaving only a scar on my right hand after the surgery.
The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? “Obstacles are designed to teach us, not to break us.” My physics teacher Kakai's motto has been reminding me about his strength and knowledge about life and study. I have always appreciated this phrase and whenever I failed, I always repeated it within. However, before his arrival at our school, I was losing my hope. I come from Uzbekistan where the President of the country Shavkat Mirziyoyev, established Presidential Schools in 2019 for youth in order to produce workforces who can compete with the other staff worldwide. Students were selected by testing their knowledge about mathematics, English, critical and logical thinking. As the education system was based in Cambridge there were several challenges for me to get used to having some insufficient results. Question types were strange and answering them in English was agonizing. My results were falling consecutively. Then one day, an international physics teacher arrived. He was Kakai Wasula which then became one of my best friends who is always with me when I feel depressed. The main point in which he helped me was changing my mind about failure. Before his advice, whenever I get low results, I used to get depressed instead of learning from my mistakes. However, after a talk with him, I changed up my mind. After that time, I started looking at my mistakes from the bright side. Instead of being upset, I tried to master the questions that I had made mistakes. Then my results started to show an increase in my worldview. He has been telling me that failing is part of success and plays a good role in life. This golden phrase was my motto if I do something wrong. After a while, there was a big test at school and all the students were stressed because it was the Educational Agency of Uzbekistan itself taking it. The test was the most serious one, as its results play a vital role in my graduation marks. I went to Kakai and asked for some advice. He repeated his words: “Failure is the part of success; it is what you are going to learn tomorrow and don't forget, you are not going to fail. There is something inside you telling you that you can achieve your target. I believe!” I was so proud. Maybe Kakai was lying – there was nothing inside me shining so bright. But, after his motivations, there was a fire burning inside my heart and its sparkles were illustrated by my eyes. That was the time when I learned to be motivated and unstressful. Because I experienced how both ways, being stressed and in opposite being motivated, might have an effect on future progress. Whenever I believed myself and did the test I got high results. With these thoughts in mind, I went to the hall, where all the students were waiting for their papers to arrive. I preferred to sit in front of the camera, while the rest were arguing to sit at the backside. It was lovely to believe in yourself and to know that at least a person believes in you. When the papers arrived, I happily turned the page and saw an easy problem there. I was passionate to finish the test with the best result and justify the confidence of all who believed in me. The test was over and the results were out. I started to search for my name from the bottom so my happiness will be greater if I find myself at the top. There my name was! At the top of the page! Just as Kakai told me, failures made me stronger than before. It was part of my success. From that time on, I get happy when I face some challenges or failures that now I can learn something new.
Victory and defeat hold different meanings for different people and being happy with this victory or defeat is also strange. From Latehar, we left for Ranchi (both in Jharkhand, India), on a light vehicle and from there we had to leave for Siwan (Bihar, also in India) on a night bus. Everything was well planned and we were supposed to reach our destination by the next morning. We started our journey on a very positive note. After covering almost 100 km, I felt uneasy because the bus was making loud creaky sounds and the ride became more bumpy than usual. About a few minutes later, around midnight… We were out of the city and in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Then all of a sudden… Our bus collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction. The driver slammed on the breaks and sharply turned the wheel to the other direction. The bus tumbled off and started rolling down the road. The entire episode happened in the blink of an eye. We met with an unexpected accident. Everyone on the bus was screaming and shouting. There was a great rush near the door. It was a surreal and haunting experience and we were lucky enough that none of us got hurt. I kept getting flashbacks in slow motion of the time when the bus driver slammed on the breaks until it laid tilted and damaged on the road. All the people lost their tempers. We immediately got off the bus. We waited patiently outside while the others got off. Then I saw my father entering the bus again. We thought that he was going inside to bring out the luggage. But then we saw that he along with the bus conductor was busy rescuing the bus driver who was stuck in his seat. I saw several people injured with blood stains due to the glass pieces from the windows but the driver was the worst affected. He was unable to stand. Perhaps he had multiple fractures. My father along with the conductor managed to send the driver to the hospital by another vehicle. Everyone was surrounding the bus watching anxiously as the entire scene unfolded. The bus looked like something out of a horror movie as it was laid on its one side, totally destroyed and disfigured and the dark night sky intensified the entire happening. And since the bus was badly damaged, it could not proceed further. Then just like everyone else, my father went to the conductor to take back our bus fare since we had a long journey pending and we had not even covered half of the route. But till then the conductor had ran away and left the spot. However, there were a few passengers who had already grabbed their money from the conductor. I am still not sure if the driver made it out alive since he was badly injured. But I have a feeling that he did make it because he was immediately sent to a nearby hospital. I still wonder the causes of that accident. Maybe the driver fell asleep at the wheel? Maybe he just lost control of the steering wheel? Maybe he got distracted from the road? Or maybe he was simply drunk? I am still clueless. I often think that if the bus driver did not slam on the breaks at the last second, or if we were heading a bit faster, then I am sure everyone on the bus would have died and nobody from the outside world would have known about it. We fled the scene because we got picked up by another bus that was heading to Patna luckily. In that bus we had one more passenger from the previous bus who was along with his mother. He was boasting about how he took advantage of the situation and snatched away the money from the conductor. He thought it to be a great achievement. That boy was very happy. Because he was in no loss from that journey, in fact he was in profit because he actually took a greater amount of money than his original fare. So it was obvious for him to be in joy. On the other hand, our entire money was lost since the conductor ran away with it. But my father was still happy. On being asked the reason, he replied that the driver too would be having a family and the happiness they would feel, when they come to know that he has nearly survived a fatal accident, is a lot more valuable than this boy's happiness. These words of my father made me think a lot. Have you ever noticed that some people appear to be happy, while others seem to exist under a black cloud always? This is because happiness is not something that happens to us, or something we are born with. Happiness is a choice we all can make. This can be applied to all the circumstances in life where we can filter out happiness from it. At the end, everyone was happy- My father being happy for saving a life and the boy being happy for making a great amount of money. The driver's family too would have been definitely happy to see him alive. Now that is the ‘Real Happiness'.
The pandemic started at the end of the year 2019 caused many changes in the daily lives of peoples all over the world. My motherland, Uzbekistan, was also involved with such new rules and lifestyle. Our compatriots spend their time on different activities, and the country has passed through many adaptations to these situations. I am going to tell you about reformations in my country during the Covid-19 and citizen`s reactions. First of all, the main responsibility of protecting people and preventing outbreak of this dangerous virus was on the shoulders of the government when it was found in Uzbekistan. Our government utilized many strategies to reduce the prevalence of the infection. One of the solutions was, obviously, quarantine, because it was the only way to restrict transmission and spread of the illness. Within the period, citizens were only allowed in order to go shopping, some ceremonies were restricted, for example, it was a requirement for families whose sons or daughters are marrying that the number of guests must be 30 at most. At the beginning, it was too difficult for all, because it was against our traditions, but gradually they started to adapt. It was an unforgettable memory for us. Other kinds of reformations were related to the education system, because pupils and students could not go out or study at school. It was respectful that learners continued with their lessons in spite of online lessons on TV made after the effort of our government. Furthermore, in order to inform students about this harmful virus and its consequences, many online contests were organized: essays, drawings, videos, etc. During attending such competitions, they studied about Covid-19 and it helped to raise awareness of people. In addition, salaries of teachers, doctors and other workers employed by the government were paid whether they are not working as it has been before. After introducing this infection, medical field workers became on trend, because curing patients and preventing breaking out of the virus depended on them. When the first vaccine was produced, our country imported them, and started to vaccinate citizens. Initially, senior citizens of the country have been vaccinated, because they were inclined to be infected with the illness. Later, youngsters and teenagers passed through this step, which is why they also had a high possibility of being infected. Meantime, patients had always been vaccinated simultaneously with olds and youths. Our scientists also tried to make vaccines and study how to treat ills. They did this project and with vaccines, wide-spreading of infection was prevented. The brightest memories in this time was the recovery of patients because their smiles and contentment from life was just unimaginable. They were some of the luckiest people among the world population, this is because a small part of them died in spite of the virus. It was horrible to remember because you cannot contemplate the feeling of families which lost their relatives or family hoods. We could do nothing, only God knows who lives or who does not. We cannot decide on this problem. If I tell you what I did during the quarantine, it was enough time for me to do activities, which I wanted. For example, I studied English online and revised my knowledge in Biology and Chemistry which I learned until then. My hard work helped me later when I decided to try to enter Fergana Presidential School. Another thing worthy to mention is missing my friends and relatives who live in a separate house. In contrast, I made some friends within the period, and they are still too valuable for me. In conclusion, the infection forced all people to reform their lifestyle, adapt new rules, and struggle with dangerous viruses. However, they adapted to this lifestyle, and now everything is OK. Virus is being diminished, and almost all of the infected people are recovering from it.
The gringa had lived in the Colonia San Rafael neighborhood of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for over thirteen years, gringa being the local word for an American woman living in Mexico. The old Mexican man with a limp reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin's "Tramp" had lived in the neighborhood too, probably his entire life. The two passed each other many times walking down the hill, and every time the old man saw the woman, he said to her in English that one word that he apparently knew: "mo-nay." Time after time, the same word, "mo-nay." She grew annoyed with him, thinking, "Is that how he sees me? As only a source of money?" It isn't that she never gave to people in need -- she did, often generously, whatever she could. It's just that his one word was so constant and such a habit that it really got on her nerves. Not wanting to encourage him, she either ignored him or said, "No no tengo nada ahorita." “I don't have anything right now.” And walked on quickly. This went on literally for years. At times it almost seemed like a joke between them, him saying "Mo-nay" and she saying, "Nope, nada." And then one blinding hot day, the sunlight bouncing off of everything so much that your eyes hurt, he said something different. "Mo-nay. Hun-gray." She stopped and looked at him, as if for the first time. It had never occurred to her that perhaps he actually was hungry. She felt ashamed, and she took him over to the nearest tienda and asked him what he wanted to buy. His needs were simple: a bolillo--a small loaf of white bread--and a Coke. She bought them and gave him twenty pesos for a refresco later. And she asked his name. "Rubén," he said. "Mucho gusto, señor Rubén. Nice to meet you. Soy Frances," said she. After that, their relationship was different. He no longer was some needy old man, he was Rubén. Sometimes when he saw her, he still said, "Mo-nay" but it was different now that she knew his name and so if she had a few pesos with her, she gave them to him with a smile. And often, before leaving the house, she remembered to think of him and would grab a couple of coins in case she saw him. Sometimes, when he saw her, he didn't ask for money, but asked, in a neighborly way, "A dónde vas? Where are you going?" Or, "¿Acabas de volver del Centro? Did you just get back from town?" And she would talk to him for a few minutes. One day he was walking down the hill with his customary limp that spoke of hip problems, and she said, "¿Adónde va, señor Rubén?" "Where are you going?" And he said, "Estoy caminando para hacer ejercicio y conocer a mis amigos.” “I'm walking for exercise and to meet my friends." And she thought, "Wow, he knows he needs to move his body and he needs to socialize." She thought about this unexpected friendship that they had, and what a gift it was that his presence in her life had helped her shift her perspective from seeing him as someone who was needy to someone who was her neighbor, living life in his way, making the best of his circumstances, just as she was. She realized that he had caused her to confront her own unconscious bias. This was a big step, and she wanted to memorialize it by having a selfie with him. One day he was walking up the hill at the same time she was. "Would it be okay to take a photo with you, señor Rubén?" she asked him in Spanish. He said yes right away. Halfway up the hill, they stopped and looked at the camera. She was wearing her pandemic mask; he was maskless and wearing his battered hat. She stood a little back from him to try to keep "safe social distance." The birds were singing in the tree behind them and she felt happy for this moment. It felt to her like an achievement. There's still a long way to go; no doubt there are many more unconscious biases in my mind and heart. But I, the gringa in question, will always remember Rubén and the gift he brought me. The cost of a few bolillos and some Cokes is a very small price to pay.
I was thinking the other day about how long it took me to be bold enough to showcase my writing to the literary world. I had always kept it private, not wanting anyone to know that I had this knack for writing down my thoughts or delving into the deepest part of my soul to express a poetic semblance, thus creating pictures through words. The picture that I conjure in my mind is always one of perfection. I suppose it is because life is so imperfect that you want to run away from reality. I had this voluminous amount of inspiration that arose from things around me. I imagined much of what I wrote in ways quite unimaginable. Words would spill from the depth of my soul, and therein I find peace, laughter, magic, and love. Writing takes me to another level. It creates the perfect balance between realism and invention. Creation is the aftermath. It takes a great deal of courage to be able to write for all the world to read. Behind the façade of the writer is a tumultuous mind, vulnerable to criticism or applause. Would you be courageous enough to withstand the pressures either way? There are so many reasons that awaken one to the beauty of writing. In some cases, it is of paramount importance to be able to relay one's feelings and thoughts on paper as it can be as healing as an anti-depressant, you find your happy place to thrive and grow and even learn. You unveil the person you are beneath it all. One has to be motivated to write. Interest has to form about a subject matter which will create an impression in your mind, thus facilitating an expression of words in writing. Focus is the key point here. When ideas surmount, it is like a storm waiting to be unleashed. Just like when your cup runneth over. Your cup runneth over like manna, Where wisdom is found, Treasures of knowledge abound, Where a longing for appeasement liberates a tired mind. Writing liberates the mind. This brings to mind a neighbor who used to come over to our house nearly every day to borrow a cup of sugar or salt. I don't know what it was that made her borrow these essentials all the time. She would bring her cup, and mom would fill it up, never once complaining, though we sometimes laughed at her antics. I suppose it made her day to be able to come over to our place and have a tete-a-tete. After a while, it became routine. We expected her to appear at our doorstep at the same time every other day. Each time she came, she said that she was lazy to go to the shops to get her groceries and that she would do her shopping another day. I guess it was her way of wanting some attention. Writing is a compulsive disorder, I think. Especially, if you get deeply immersed in it. There is no room for laziness if you want to succeed. I don't know if laziness is the right word but being laid back and neglecting its relevance in your life doesn't help in turning passion into dreams. Everyone has a passion. Writers make dreams come true out of their passion and inspire a hungry world to knowledge and understanding. After a while, the expressive element to get your words across will become an essential part of your life. Now, I am glad that I dared all those years ago. Writing has liberated me of nearly all the trappings of my life. The End.