We asked our Spring 2020 bloggers to reflect on their experience with the global COVID-19 outbreak while they were abroad.
After the chaos that was returning home, (arranging flights, packing-up, transitioning to online learning,) I took some time to start reflecting on the virus as a whole. I am big into yoga and running, and in using these as outlets during such a stressful whirlwind of a semester, I was able to come to some conclusions during my meditative practice of each:
- Never again in my lifetime will I have such a “break” as I do now, at this age. I should bask in it! (So, I started flowing more in the mornings and jogging lightly in the evenings. Basically, everything I’d wanted to do but was too busy for in college.)
- I’m spending more time in my hometown and enjoying it. I live in a beach city and hadn’t gone to the beach with my mother in March since high school. I love spending time with her; she is my “why” for a lot of the things I do. (:
- I missed the connection with nature I had felt I’d developed in Sorrento, so I found a local organic farm near my home here. Now I do volunteer weeding for them on Saturdays, and get to keep some veggies from the garden in return. (I sound like my grandma, and this sounds fake, but I swear to god I’m 21 and this is really my life).
- I can’t bake! I don’t even like to. It just doesn’t do it for me. However, I am THE best taste tester in all of the land.
- My representative organization could not have been more supportive or caring, really. I was one of the last to leave Italy, because SAI took such a thoughtful, fact-based approach to each formal decision they made for us, including the decision to remove us all. I ranted to them with confusion and frustration, (very often via email,) and they were there for me with answers, with links, with follow-ups. I could not have asked for better if I tried.
I think the people that see this whole thing as a tragedy are really missing the point.
I got to live in Italy, I received University of Michigan credit for classes I was taking at home, I got to spend more time with my mother, and I got to enjoy my hometown, all in one semester! This isn’t to say that the whole situation was constantly wonderful and I didn’t miss connecting flights home, BUT, as a whole, I got to hit a reset button! Kids my age (literally) all around the world got to pause and to breathe.
The ocean water outside my house is the clearest I’ve seen it since I’ve lived here. I (still feel) just as emotionally grounded and secure as before, now, just with a greater appreciation for my flow in my practice. Life should be measured by how you react to downfalls, how you recover, who you chose to help you back up.
Thank you SAI! You all are a wonderful bunch.
Rachael is a Spring 2020 Sorrento student from Sant’Anna Institute.