I must admit I have not actually seen any of the Fast and Furious Franchise, but I do love their title scheme. Anyway, welcome to the second part of my transition to #BrynMawrAtHome.
A month has passed, I’m finally settling into a new routine, but it’s a lot harder than I thought: trying to balance my classwork, figuring out the summer, being a member of a household, and of course, emotionally coping with all the uncertainty a global pandemic has to offer.
I’m beginning to realize that I never fully appreciated how much dorm living facilitated my ability to do school work (which, oddly, has increased since online classes began). There’s so many little things I do at home — cooking, spending time with family, helping around the house — that eat up a surprising amount of time. Plus, it’s hard to stay focused when I’m working, sleeping, and relaxing in the same room. I miss all my study spots on campus!
Since I’m spending all my time in my bedroom, I’ve been slowly reorganizing everything to make it more comfortable. To be honest, I secretly hated the layout for years, but since I was never at home, I never bothered to fix it. But after doing a serious book purge, clearing out all the stuff my dad left from when he used my room as a home office, and moving a few pieces of furniture, I’ve finally made it feel like a livable space!
Unfortunately, the furniture plan in my bedroom isn’t the only thing the pandemic is forcing me to reevaluate. I had an epic plan for the next few months: I was going to go on the Bryn Mawr trip to Jordan for the first half of summer, then travel to Rome and work on a boat for a couple months, and then go back to Jordan for my fall study abroad. My applications were almost done, I had enough money saved, and then… this.
Now, the BMC trip to Jordan is online, and I suddenly need to find a job for the summer. I despise sitting at a desk, so I’ll probably look for work on a small farm, since I doubt the sailing tourism industry will be up and running. In addition, given that social distancing measures might last for six months or more, I’ve decided to try to delay my semester abroad until next spring. Thankfully, BMC is being extremely flexible with changing people’s study abroad plans.
Despite the global chaos, though, I’m doing okay. I’m getting plenty of fresh air, the house is stable, and there’s food in the fridge. In fact, as I run out of new ideas for lunch, I’ve taken to cooking omelettes of ever-increasing complexity.
Despite all the boredom and stress, there has been one excellent highlight from the past month: Zoom Passover.
Almost every year for the past four years I have received email invitations to family celebrations of Hannukah, Yom Kippur, and Passover. This is pretty standard for a lot of big families, and everyone on the email chains is always super excited to see each other!
My only problem with these emails is that I’m not Jewish, and neither is anyone in my immediate family.
After the first few times, I realized that someone in this family must have an incredibly similar email address to mine, and that I’d been put on this family’s email list by mistake. Every now and then I would respond to let them know some random kid from Texas was still receiving their potluck plans, but the emails kept coming.
I thought we’d finally sorted it out for good last year, but in early April I received an invitation for a virtual Seder. I almost deleted it, but then I paused. This was something that I could actually attend, for once. What would happen if I asked to join in?
The worst they could say was no, right?
They responded immediately: of course I could join, I was “practically family at this point”.
So on Wednesday the 8th, I scrounged together whatever Seder appropriate foodstuffs I could find in our kitchen cabinets, poured myself a large glass of wine, and sat down to meet my new extended family. When I logged into the Zoom meeting, they immediately introduced me as the “newest cousin”. There were a lot of people: 15 screens, most of which were couples or families. One of the younger cousins alternated between virtual backgrounds: a piece of matzoh, a tropical beach, a burning bush, and an extremely dramatic painting of Moses parting the Red Sea.
After we read the Haggadah, everyone sat around and chatted for almost an hour. It was nice to finally be able to put names to faces, and to hear firsthand news from many other parts of the country. This is not the situation in which I ever would have expected to meet them, but I’m glad it happened. At the very least, it’s a good story to tell!