It’s the end of March 2021, but it really feels like the end of March 2020. ECQ was just announced, and I’m writing this in my parents’ house, where I spent most of ECQ in 2020. I packed a bunch of random items last night, just in case regulations change and I won’t be able to head back to my apartment.
(My “just in case” duffle bag includes two books, a jar of Kiehl’s Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask, and protein powder.)
The ECQ anniversary made me ask myself what the past year has taught me. I’ve learned how to do basic plumbing—and learned the number of the building maintenance staff for the not-so-basic plumbing. My meal prep skills have advanced. My capacity to say no to every virtual meeting and every webinar I’m invited has increased significantly. I’ve found different ways to stay close to my friends, and to my Kuya who lives on the other side of the world.
I’ve also learned to keep showing up for hope, even though there are days when I’m not even sure what it is I’m hoping for. I’m constantly recalibrating what I allow myself to hope for. There are days when I yearn to be a conference venue abroad with 10,000 conservationists again, exchanging business cards and making small talk on, say, seagrasses. There are mornings when I fantasize about having the freedom to step outside my door without a mask and goddamn face shield. Everyday, I ache for the time I can be working by the coasts again.
Until then, my “great outdoors” will be indoors, with “wildlife” that includes plastic grass by my feet, a dead thyme plant I’m still holding on to, a sea star that’s just a pillow, and a mixed-breed dog (a.k.a. a scrambled Egg).