One often reads these days in the world-wide pandemic, posts and articles about what people have been learning during these days of lockdown and social distancing. I mean, if one has to be locked inside, only venturing out for essentials like groceries, pharmaceuticals (no, caffeine does not count in the latter category) and banking, one may as well use the time constructively, learning new things. I am sincerely hoping for this to be my last post on ‘lessons learned in lockdown’…but there simply are no guarantees.

Mostly, I have been taking advantage of the extra time to accomplish tasks that had been on my growing To Do list, which is probably a misnomer. Maybe it should be called a Hope-To-Do-One-Day-Before-I-Die list. Nevertheless, I have actually seen a shrinking of this list. Wow…that feels good!

One day, I was going to update my music book in which I keep the chords and lyrics to all the songs, hymns and choruses we do at church. I being the worship director, you can imagine this is quite a large tome and was a massive project. Little wonder it had been relegated to the Hope-To-Do-One-Day-Before-I-Die list! I am proud to announce that the project is done. It took several weeks (we’ve been sheltering at home 7 weeks now, counting the initial 2-week self-quarantine upon Chip’s return from the Democratic Republic of Congo), but it is complete!

Also, on the list was to learn to use technology better. Even my ‘dumb phone’ had applications I could do, which I never learned! Here I have a nicer somewhat smarter phone and a nice tablet, yet I know there are depths I have never plumbed with them. And yet this technophobic missionary has learned by now how to host Zoom meetings and we even had a virtual WhatsApp end of semester party with our students. It was actually fun!

We even managed to survive one bread-baking lesson with hubby! He survived my excessive possessiveness over my kitchen and the bread turned out quite tasty.

But there are more than skills to be learned in this time of lockdown and social isolation. Here are a few things about myself that I have discovered, which perhaps I never would have known had it not been for this time of enforced social distancing. Here is a sampling:

  • Hard times bring out the best and the worst in people – I’ve been shocked at the nasty things people can do but also in awe of the generosity I have seen around me, even among poor people.
  • Though the survival instinct of providing for my family is strong, I’m not as stingy as I thought I’d be. I have enjoyed joining my neighbours as we help each other out.
  • I still am not very fond of technology, but I’m learning how to use it more and it can be useful…when it works!
  • I had a head start on others because I’ve been working from home for years now. I mange to keep quite busy and rarely get bored.
  • I can ‘get over’ having hubby around all the time and still manage to get stuff done. This is good practice for retirement. I can even eat cookies in his presence.
  • I hate wearing face masks. I am a tad claustrophobic and masks feel suffocating to me. But I still do my civic duty. I’m generally not rebellious.
  • I can indulge some of my obsessive tendencies without looking freakish now… “Did you wash your hands? Do we really need to go to Nairobi? Did those groceries get wiped down with disinfectant? Did you wash your hands?” You get the picture.
  • I’m not as much of an introvert as I once thought. Times alone can be great, but there is a limit even for introverts. I miss family. I miss church. I miss friends.

What an adventure life on this planet is. I plan to return to my blog-a-book on our experiences and life in Kenya by next posting. Meanwhile, stay safe and keep learning, even in lockdown.

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