On March 10th I walked across the border into Tijuana on an adventure to discover the best street tacos and learn firsthand how refugees are faring at our locked-down border. And while overlooking The Wall, clinking margarita glasses, I didn’t imagine that 48 hours later I’d be back home with my husband, both unemployed refugees of COVID-19, locked down within my own borders at home.
Coronavirus has slowed things down. My days are long and task-full as spring dries into our golden summer—I’ve pulled thistles, weeded the perennial borders, mowed the oats, piled the downed eucalyptus for dump truck pick up and filled jars of delicate Cecile Brunner roses to scent the house. I’ve cleaned my cupboards, closets, pantry, scrubbed baseboards, wiped the framed artwork, washed shelves, cabinets and walls and dusted away cobwebs. I’ve tried new recipes, invented my version of the Covidtini and howled with the neighbors at 8 pm. Now I practice yoga with a Zoom group, walk with a masked walking group, virtually chat with girlfriends over wine, talk to friends for hours on the phone and share socially distanced game afternoons with our neighbors. Wine and Punderdome anyone?
At first fear was the driving factor. How would we pay the mortgage? The insurances? Eat? Would we catch COVID? I remembered the Guatemalan moms and children in Tijuana, emigres from gang violence and poverty—waiting, hoping—even in the face of being 4000 names down on the US Immigration interview list.
In TJ, what I found was hope and determination. I’m not going to let Coronavirus get the better of my family. I learned Zoom and Canvas and restarted two of my classes. I joined a daily “write-in” and am busy writing the third novel in my Mexico series. I landed editing jobs, created a schedule and two months later, I’m more productive than before the virus. (Hoo boy! I’m tired.)
I credit my family’s recovery to the hope I found in the faces of people who don’t have our resources or opportunities. Every day I remember these refugees as I jot my gratitude in my journal or stop to smell the roses, iris, wild asters, lavender. . . . Lockdown has turned from a disaster to a happier, more relaxed and socially connected life. Imagine, I haven’t had to put gas in my car since the 4th of April! We’re managing to pay the bills, we’re spending more time happily at home (the 8 pm howling helps) and the stack of bedside books has dwindled.
Now please excuse me, it’s cocktail time, and I want to toast you with my newest creation, the I Beat It-tini. Here’s to all you writers. Now, let’s get back to work!
ZOOM and Canvas classes start up on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday June 8th, 9th and 11th for six week sessions. Register for on-line Summer Writing Classes Now!