“These are not normal times”
Student, Phoenix College
Esther first started to notice things were changing in late February when she took a trip to Japan. The international implications of the coronavirus were apparent to her from the start, not just because she traveled out of the country recently. Esther’s is an international student whose family is back home in the Netherlands. She and her husband moved to Arizona about five years ago.
Like many students in Arizona, Esther first heard that Spring Break would be extended one week in early March, but knew immediately that returning to campus was probably unlikely.
In the beginning, she found herself obsessing over the news. Esther would call her brother and stepmother in the Netherlands frequently, and all they could talk about was the virus and quarantine. But, over the course of the last few weeks, their conversations have returned back to normal.
Esther is trying to establish a routine while staying at home. She’s cooking and knitting, and working on her photography. But, she’s not trying to find a sense of normalcy. Instead, she’s trying to look at our current situation the way a journalist or a researcher might. She thinks it’s all “very interesting.” She suggests we learn from our mothers and grandmothers, who exercised frugality and caution.
“It’s high season,” so Esther misses some luxuries, like going to festivals and out to dinner. But, she’s careful not to dwell on these things, because she knows others are fighting for their lives.
She worries that this crisis is dividing Americans even more than ever. She sees her compatriots in the Netherlands coming together and uniting, while Americans struggle to see eye to eye during this pandemic. Her favorite quote these days is, “Don’t live in fear,” and she hopes teachers and students keep working toward their educational goals.
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