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.
The start of the pandemic was shocking for me as was standing in front of the very essential level up of my life - I was applying to higher education. Let me begin with something good. I had already reviewed my IELTS certification on March 6, before everywhere was closed for quarantine starting from March 15, 2020. That was the only achievement that got me into an American university. But what about finishing compulsory education? The quality of education is seriously dropped, and many of us missed our additional lessons for preparation because walking outside while quarantine costed rocket high. One of the pity things for me was that I and all of my friends couldn't have the graduation ceremony and party that we expected to be unforgettable memories. Overall, no high school or lyceum graduate couldn't experience it in Uzbekistan. Whenever we visit our school or lyceum in May for graduation ceremonies and look at graduates we feel like: "Yeah, they're having it". The worst feeling ever. We are seven in my family. My grandparents are over 80 and my parents are also quite old. I have a brother and a sister who are schoolers. Covid hit us significantly as we experienced it multiple times during the period. My father had a very severe type. He managed to get well at home because we were sure there weren't enough places at Covid treating centers. After him, I. High temperatures were a real burden for me and antibiotics were too difficult to come over for my stomach. However, thank God, other members of the family felt Covid like simple flu and just several doses of treatment immediately got them on their feet. One of the bitter truths about the family I realized during the pandemic is that too much family time is harmful to the inter-family relationship. I wanted to run away somehow. At the times when everyone worked and studied far from home, at the end of the day we enjoyed the family gathering as we missed each other. But in quarantine, we were fed up with each other. One interesting fact, the number of divorces increased during the quarantine in my country. I live in the countryside, almost 2 hours from the city center and during the pandemic our town became dead. Not a single body was outside, most of the shops were closed, and the hospital which is at the end of our street was supervised by military forces. Every 2-3 hours there were military cars along the street informing us not to go out at certain hours of the day and how to take measures and behave while we are outside. It was scary that it felt like a commendation regime in war periods. I was seventeen and this environment caused me to experience severe depression without any hope for my bright future and online lessons caused my eyes side to drop, and gave me early back, and heart pains. It felt like my body got older by 10 years but in front of my eyes, time barely passed. About after 6 months, when quarantine rules pretty eased down and we were finally allowed to visit the university, I felt some significant changes in my receptor organs - my tongue and nose. Things start to taste differently and smells just turned off. I was eating food like from another planet and for additional five or six months, I missed the real taste of meat and fried potatoes. Still, I start recognizing the smell two or three times slower than normal people, and eggs, greens, and cucumbers still taste different than it was before the pandemic. Starting face-to-face studies and communication with peers was very precious for me. However, there were sad stories too. Two of my peers who had been accepted to Japanese and Korean universities couldn't get there due to quarantine in both countries. Moreover, some girls told me that they lost loved ones and even family members during the pandemic. After, hearing them I felt grateful for all I have almost haven't changed during the pandemic. Bonus sad story by me: my family won the Green Card DV-2020 program but due to quarantine our visas expired. Now, everything we spent getting into the US is just burned, nothing left. Yes, now everything is just passed away and all we have now is mostly memories and unforgettable life lessons. So, what I learned from the pandemic is very precious to me. Firstly, I started to appreciate the freedom that is given to me and learned to experience more gratefulness. It wasn't all about the feelings, too. My hard skills also improved even though I have learned them online. That might be too much, so let me conclude. The world is not sure if Covid-19 is just spread by bats or if it was an unfinished biological weapon, one thing is obvious we are just killing ourselves and slowing down our evolution. Curiosity kills the cat, I hope we won't appear in the place of that cat again.
Quarantine. Of course, this word is more frightening and frightening than any other scary word. Because all people have experienced this scourge - quarantine. The plague of Covid-19 fell on the heads of every state and every nation. Because of this contagious disease, all people have seen strange events called quarantine, isolation. Everyone realized that these things were a catastrophe that would keep a person in and out of the house, and they experienced this catastrophe in their own lives. Quarantine also locked up all the powerful, all-powerful people in their homes. This was to counteract the spread and spread of Covid-19 disease. Due to the pandemic, the President and the Cabinet of Ministers passed a law to quarantine and isolate everyone, so that no one should leave their homes unless necessary. All workplaces, companies, industries, studies, schools, public and private affairs, universities, colleges and all other workplaces were suspended. The readings were conducted online. only state military bodies, doctors in the field of medicine, hospitals, pharmacies were able to operate. It was as if life had come to a standstill. Because not all places work, people do not go out on the streets, busy roads have become deserted roads. Even the calves did not work for some time. Everyone was confused and scared. Various quarantine and disease prevention instructions were given on television and radio. As a result of the shutdown of all businesses and the closure of markets, people began to face difficulties. Many people died of the disease. Many began to mourn the loss of a loved one in their home. And this thing was growing day by day. In particular, a close relative of our family also died due to Covid-19. This thing was very sad for all of us. Losing one of our closest people was hard for all of us. even now when I think of that man, tears come to my eyes. Because that person was also a very close friend to me. We walked around with him, in short, we always had fun with him. Unfortunately, the disease caused the death of such a wonderful man. Like all people, my family and I were quarantined. Our family consists of 5 people. There are also benefits to quarantine. Thanks to quarantine, we all sat at home together in the arms of our family, doing different things. My father also stayed at home because the work centers were temporarily closed due to quarantine. Since they had a lot of free time, they did the housework with us. We cleaned the houses, planted flowers in the orchards, plowed the soil, and did all the other work. One day I went out and saw that my father had stopped a car carrying an oven on the road and bought an oven. It was one of the most necessary things to bake for the bread. We, as 3 people, slowly put the oven on top of 3 pieces of meat. Because a single wrong move could have caused the oven to break after class. Because the tandoor is a quick-breaking thing that can be done very carefully. The reason is that the tandoor is a cylindrical body made of a mixture of water, soil, and sheep's wool, which is baked over a long period of time and dried in the sun. Then one question came to our minds. --"How do we set it up?" The reason was that even the masters did not go out to work because of the nature. It was then that I remembered my father's childhood. Because my father grew up in the village as a child, he built a tandoor at that time. Remembering the cooking methods of that time, my father and I worked for exactly 4 and a half hours and set up the oven. In addition, my dad and I poured cement around the flower garden outside our house. This made our outside beautiful. Yes quarantine has also shown us that it has its advantages. We lived in the arms of our family, in short we did all the housework. Although we took advantage of so many good aspects of proper quarantine, we also faced challenges. For example, because of quarantine, we were forced to ride bicycles because we were not allowed to drive on the street. Imagine riding a bike for more than 25 miles. Wonderful. We also went home on a bike ride over it with so many things after picking up what we needed from the market. First of all, thanks to quarantine, I realized how precious life is. Because no matter how good your home is, I felt that being able to walk freely on the streets, freedom, the continuation of life, the crowds of people outside and the cars, were all valuable. Man cannot live without such people, without interesting daily events. Communicating with the people around us, working as usual, going to our office to work on our daily work, and working harder for our own development; engaging in activities such as chatting with neighbors, friends, relatives, and loved ones gives a person pleasure, further increasing his desire to live life. Regardless of quarantine, a person should enjoy his environment and life!
Everyday, I lay down in my bed. Wondering what caused me to think this way. The answer is, life happened. Life hit me. I had finally entered reality. Growing up, I was always the one who got good grades, dressed nicely, a huge girly girl. Now I look at myself everytime I stare, blankly into the mirror. What happened? I'm Teddy. Currently an 8th grade student living in the depths of a dark, sad mind. Trapped. Scared? Sometimes it's terrifying. People say, “It wouldn't be any better if you did it anyways.” Did what? Die? Sometimes it seems like the last option but, it never is, is it? No. It isn't. My other option is just, keep it all in. Put that smile on your face no matter how you feel. If you want to rip something apart. Throw everything across the room. It surely would feel good but would it help me? No it wouldn't help me at all. In fact it will make me worse. After turning 13 in 2020. My life changed forever. In fact I don't know if things'll ever be the same again. I changed, everything changed. I dated a girl. I liked it. I cut my hair. I liked it. I wore guy clothes. I liked it. Here I am now, a transgender female to male. At an age of 14. Giving all the attention to my girlfriend possible. I love it. I loved it. I still love it. But my life has come downhill from there. I started cutting myself, hitting myself, losing sleep, crying everyday. I felt alone for too long. I am now just writing this out of my own pain. All this happened during the pandemic. A lot of my time spent as a teenager, since the second I turned 13, I was an entirely different person. No one recognized me. This is the story of a person who changed all because of one person. The one who saved my life, so I could live. This is my life. When I was 6, I started kindergarten. It was easy, simply, spelling, addition and subtraction. Then came 1st grade. I fell, I broke my arm. I healed. In 2nd grade, I had my first boyfriend for 2 years. He left and I moved on. Then came 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade. Then came 6th. 2019-2020. The year the pandemic started. It was semester two and we were about to come back from spring break. I remember I was with my Nana that week and came back. When I found out there was going to be no school for a little bit, I cheered a little bit. Maybe because school can be a bit of a downer. Anyways, for the next little while I waited and waited and once I finally found out from President Trump about all schools being closed. All schools have to stop being face to face and go on being virtual. It was a Saturday when I found out about the deadly disease. I wouldn't leave my room, I would just lay down on my second mattress (from under the bed), eating chips, and watching disney plus. All until I started school again online. I finished 6th grade with all A's. I of course had my mom's help because she was getting paid from her boss to stay home with me while my dad and brother worked. But anyways, 7th grade. I did virtual school and was failing that. So I went back face to face. I cut my hair, wore baggy clothes everyday. Had a lot of relationships with guys. 2020-2021, I had 7 ships. In less than a year. Sounds nice huh? It wasn't nice at all. Isaiah ghosted me all the time, Jacob during our second try, asked me to do things I never liked, Leslie and I only lasted a week. Went through some bullcrap and survived. Shocking. Then there's me now. I am dating my one and true love, my soulmate. Transgender. Transphobic parents. My sister whom I met online, going through abuse but never asking for help. I'm in America. She's in Italy. My brother is hardly home because he works a lot. My parents worry about me 24/7. I used to say “All it took was one step out there, and I can now fly.” Now I say, “No matter how hard things are fight, fight as hard as possible, smile even at the worst of times. And live the life you want to. Careless of what others say and think. Go out there and be yourself. Whether you, or other people like it or not.” I saved other people, now they know I am having a hard time, and look at me. Hardly any help. Having panic attacks in my sleep. Well, when I do sleep. Mostly I don't sleep at all. But no matter what, whenever I have troubles in my life. I always go to the one person that I know will always be by my side forever, my girlfriend. My girlfriend is the one person I will love until the day I die. It wouldn't be worth it if I gave up too soon. I want to live until I am at least grown up, mature. I want to live a happy life. My life wouldn't be happy without her. I love ali. Too much. Me and Ali planned our future. Live together, grow together. Love together. To never grow apart. I promised her I would never leave her ever. If she were alone, I will make sure I am there with her. Fighting by the love of my life's side. Forever. I will do this, always, forever. I love Ali. So one more time. Hello, My name is Teddy. And I am fighting the darkness that surrounds me. To be free, to smile. To live.
My brother and I had not spoken to each for about 5 years. All due to an argument that his girlfriend caused. She single-handedly alienated my entire family and my brother. It wasn't until years later when I was officiating at my nephew's wedding that my brother and I spoke again. I told him that I would forgive him for what he put our family through but not forget. It was soon after, that COVID-19 reared its ugly head. It started a pandemic that the world had never seen before. It claimed millions of victims by the time the virus showed any signs of subsiding. Little did we know that one of the victims would be my brother. My brother had been diagnosed with some type of blood disorder that his doctor's claimed would take his life in two years. That was eight years ago. My brother, Joe, had surpassed his “death date” as he called it. He beat those odds only to succumb to COVID-19. It started as just a cough but being a longtime smoker he didn't pay much attention to it. Joe started to exhibit other symptoms besides the cough. Muscle aches, fatigue and vomiting is what made him decide to go to the doctor and be tested. The results were in and although my brother did not get the answer from the doctor that he was hoping for he was prepared for the worst. He was put in quarantine for the next two weeks. His health began to deteriorate as time went on. It was decided that it was in my brother‘s best interest to be sent to another hospital for physical rehab. COVID-19 had weakened him to the point of needing help walking, feeding himself and dressing himself. Many things that most people take for granted. Our entire family helped as much as we could. We all knew that we were ignoring the inevitable, especially when he was moved from the physical rehab hospital to the hospice. They didn't know how much longer he had but they wanted him to be comfortable. It was bad enough that when he was under quarantine nobody was permitted to see him but it was even harder when he was in the hospice. In his weakened state the visits had to be short in order for Joe to get as much rest as possible. To be honest, I preferred the limited visits. It was devastating to see my big brother just wasting away. During this ordeal my brother and I talked. Rather, he talked and I listened. It seemed to me that all he wanted was an ear to bend and a sympathetic heart. I asked him how he felt about knowing that he's going to be dying soon. I expected him to be upset or frustrated. Angry, sad, something. Somehow he was fine with it. He knew it was coming sooner or later and he told me that he didn't have any regrets. There was nothing that he needed to do. Everything he wanted to do in life he did. Joe saw his kids grow up and have their own children, his grandchildren. He got a chance to see his grandchildren grow up and have their children, his great grandchildren. What he said is true. Not too many people get to be around when their great grandchildren are born. I doubted that he was okay with all this going on but the more he and I spoke the more I knew he was being totally honest about how he felt. The only thing he was saddened about was that he wasn't sure if he would be alive to see his youngest daughter, his baby girl, have her first child. Unfortunately, he passed away about two weeks before his last grandchild was born. His last granddaughter, Ava Delilah. Growing up I saw my brother as a certain type of person. A troublemaker, opinionated, arrogant plus a few other choice words. During our many conversations I got to know Joe, the person, not Joe, my brother. I began to understand why he did and said many things while we were growing up. I had truly misjudged him and for that I apologized to him. My brother was very spiritual and believed that everyone had a Guardian Angel. He believed that his was with “El Indio” which translates to “The Indian”. “El Indio”was his Guardian Angel and was to be his guide once he passed. During our conversations I kept thinking about “El Indio” and what it meant to my brother so I decided to draw a picture for him. He was gone before I got a chance to give it to him. At his wake I went up to the casket to pay my respects. I put the picture in the casket with Joe and told him that he now has his guide to show the way. At my nephew's wedding I told my brother that I would forgive him for what he did to the family but not forget. After getting to know my brother with all our talks I got to know the real person. The reasoning behind all his actions are somewhat clear to me although not everything but it was enough to have closure and move on. It was time, to forgive and forget and I'm glad I did it before it was too late. Love you big brother, R.I.P.
Through the years, my sons teased me about my good posture and how, while they were growing, I wouldn't tolerate slouching. “Mom's fault,” I'd say with a smile. Although no genius, as my sons often point out, they are also just as quick to comment on how much I do know. They call me a walking encyclopedia of nonsensical trivia. Once again, I shrug and say, Mom's fault.” While my mom was never what was considered a strict disciplinarian, when it came to schoolwork, she was tough. I remember as soon as I could talk, she'd drill me every me every Saturday morning. Using two pages at a time of the dictionary, she would read each word, emphasizing on its pronunciation, encouraging me to try and spell it correctly. Back then, luckily, the dictionaries were small. Mom kept track of the words I misspelled in order for me to study them for the following Saturday. By the time I reached Kindergarten, I found it easy to read whole sentences. Soon, my “home education” expanded adding Math to my list of things to learn. After my spelling and reading lessons, Mom gave me wo sheets of paper with arithmetic problems to solve. Mom never confined her idea of teaching to just schoolwork. She believed in a healthy mind and healthy body. While I'd be pouring over homework, if Mom saw me slouching, she'd quietly walk behind me and gently t ouch my back. With one finger. Without one word spoken, I would immediately straighten to a more proper position. For about five minutes a day, three times each week, I would have to stand with my back against the wall. “Touch your heels to the wall. Now, your butt! Head up and back; shoulders back! Stomach in!” I know, I know. She sounded like a drill sergeant, but it kept my posture intact and my spine straight. Most of my friends learned to cook while their moms stood at their sides verbally instructing their every move. Mom's method differed completely. Handing me a recipe, she'd back away. Her reason was simple. Anyone can mimic; anyone can follow step-by-step instructions as each is given. It's more important to read and comprehend. As she often said, “Following a receipt teaches you to learn to follow any instructions.” However, she remained in the kitchen with me – just in case. Mom believed in teaching by example, not by using a bunch of words. Too often, my friends heard their moms say. “Do as I say, not as I do.” Never once did I hear that phrase from my mom. I also never heard the more familiar, “Because I said so.” Mom would often take me for long walks in the park, weather permitting. At times, we'd go for a train ride to the local zoo or museum. Once a month from June to September, mom and dad would pack a lunch and we would head to the nearby lake for a picnic. In addition to schoolwork, mom taught me to appreciate the beauty of a flower, the wonder of a rainbow, and the compassion needed for those less fortunate (like the WWII Veteran who sat legless on the street corner begging for a few cents to help him get by. Even tough money was tight, we never passed him by without Mom dropping a few cents in his little tin cup. She also taught me that although life is not perfect, we must strive for that goal and not be disappointed if we fail. Mom taught me the appreciation of demanding work. “After all,” she said, “the harder you work the more you appreciate the end result. If things came too easily, we would take those things for granted.” Yes, mom taught me many things: reading, spelling, love, and life. Now, here I am in my seventies. Mom passed away a number of years ago but even at my age, I am in good health. I still sit properly, and my back is straight. While I never went to college (as I said money was tight), my knowledge and education about what matters is exemplary. I am not afraid to tackle new projects and while I strive to succeed, I don't sulk if I fail. I just change my attitude and try again. My sons now, are grown with families of their own and emulate Mom's parenting as much as possible. I insisted on rearing my children the way Mom reared me, with compassion, understanding right from wrong, a thirst of knowledge, and fun in doing everything. I have been a good mother and teacher to my sons (they told me to say that), and I can see what wonderful husbands and fathers they are in every way (their wives tole me to say that!). Mom would be so proud of them. The reason for our successes in maintaining such happy homes, I feel is simple. It's Mom's Fault.
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