I hope you are all enjoying spring! Flowers are in bloom, the sun is shining, vibrant blue skies hold fluffy, white clouds, the birds are singing, and the world is in full swing of the process of rebirth. We're still in some unusual times, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Nature is not closed; it is very much open right now. Enjoy this beautiful season; take in the sunshine, and bask in nature's bountiful beauty.
There is still plenty you can do indoors while in your home, as well. You catch up on things that you have been meaning to for a while but hadn't done so yet because you were too busy. You can read books, watch a new show, develop a new hobby, cook some incredible meals, organize, do some spring cleaning, learn a new language, chat with loved ones, create some art, take a relaxing bath, play games, meditate, and so much more. This can be the start of something new. Find what there is to enjoy, savor, and be grateful for in each day. Find the humor and the silver lining. There's plenty of blessings still: clean water, food, sunshine, a roof over your head, incredible views of the sky, access to communication with loved ones (technology allows us to stay in touch even if we're on the opposite side of the world), nature, our pets, fun movies/stories, being able to breathe, being able to walk, being able to try new things, etc. I feel like this situation is a reminder to prioritize what's truly important and a reminder to practice gratitude. Uncle Iroh's teachings have been popping up in my head quite often lately, but this one in particular has been the main focus: "If you look for the light, you can often find it, but if you look for the dark, that is all you will ever see." There are those that are struggling right now with the perceived darkness. Sure, this whole situation isn't ideal, but that doesn't mean we can't find the light and make the most of it. Look for the light; I'm certain you will find some.
I have enjoyed spending quality time with my cat; we've hung out together for quiet time, basking in the sun together. She's slept in with me. She's eaten breakfast with me (she loves taking some of my apple muffins). She's been my buddy as I read manga (I've caught up with the most recent chapter of Akatsuki no Yona/Yona of the Dawn, I've started Noragami, and I'm looking forward to reading others such as The Hero is Overpowered But Overly Cautious), as I watched movies (such as Onward and the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie), and as I watched shows (I recently finished the third season of the Pokemon Sun and Moon anime). It's been great having her be my buddy; before all of this went down I would rarely see her between all my different responsibilities (between before care, being a TA, after care, and babysitting I wasn't home very much). I love this opportunity to slow down and relax.
I still have responsibilities for my school, working for the class blog, creating artwork to send to my little Toucans via mail, finding fun activities for my Toucans to do at home, having video chat calls with them, etc. I do appreciate the flexibility in working from home; the time schedule is a bit more relaxed. I do miss seeing my Toucans every day, but the video calls help quite a bit with that. I've had some rather interesting conversations with them; these calls have left me grateful and truly appreciating children's sense of humor, spontaneity, and innocence. On one of the video chats of the Toucans was so excited to talk to me that she went around taking me on a tour of her entire home. She got to her parents' room and turned to me with a serious look on her face, remarking, "This is my dad's bed. He farts in it all the time. Yeah, ALL THE TIME." I'll be honest, it was rather difficult not to burst out laughing. On a different video call one of the little boys wanted to show off his toys, naming each and every animal he had (there were SOOOO many). All of a sudden, he announced, "The dinosaur goes to school. Batman goes to school, too. Batman kicked the dinosaur; the dinosaur isn't okay." He then had Batman kick the dinosaur, leaving the dinosaur lying on its side. Kids are quite interesting and unpredictable. It really helps me appreciate the work I do. This situation has me reflecting on whether or not I want to continue being a part of the system, working on a set schedule, or whether I would prefer having my own sort of business with more flexibility and freedom; what I do know is that I want to still work with kids. Their energy and sincere authenticity is so refreshing.
I have also been helping out where I can, and I am genuinely grateful to be able to help others. I have been helping out a family in the neighborhood with babysitting. Both parents have essential jobs. I have been bringing them some goodies every time I come over (usually in the form of cookies). The mom's been stressed out between work (she's a nurse) and staying on top of all of her kids' online school work. One of the days I babysat their 5th grade son was dead set on making his mom a cake, which sounded like fun. He wanted to surprise her since she's been working so hard. We ended up winging it as he did not have the ingredients for the frosting. Since he told me he wanted to make a cake, I thought it would be rather simple and straightforward, but he choose one that requires rolling out the batter real thin (sort of like cookie dough), cutting them into circles, and baking the many layers on cookie sheets... Considering neither of us had any experience with that kind of cake, it turned out pretty well. The whole time we were decorating it, he kept remarking, "This looks more like pancakes..." Frosting might have helped it resemble a cake more, but from what their mom told me, it was absolutely delicious and perfect. She was so touched, exclaiming that it was perfect (and later delicious after she tried it). He's such a sweet kid.
Those boys are pretty funny and interesting. The 5th grader was playing the Switch at one point and exclaimed, "Darn it!!" I asked him what happened, and he said that he walked of the edge on accident.
Me: "Oh, so you killed yourself."
5th grader: "No, I didn't!"
Me: "Did your character die?"
5th grader: "Yeah, but it was an accident."
Me: "So you killed yourself by accident."
5th grader: "No, that's not how this works! I walked off the edge on accident and fell into ice water."
Me: "Did this accident cause your character to die?"
5th grader: "Yes, but--"
Me: " Then you killed yourself, albeit by accident, but you killed yourself all the same."
5th grader: "I did not! That isn't how this works!!"
Me: "Then how does it work? Who killed you?"
5th grader: "Uh, it was the God of.... ummm.... I don't know! It's hard to explain."
Me: "You killed yourself on accident. It wasn't on purpose, but it happened all the same."
To be honest, I don't think he was really convinced, but it was an amusing experience (at least for me). I was hanging out with their 7th grade son, and we ended up discussing what some made up teams in Pokemon would be; somehow, we got to the point where there was Team Taco Bell. He asked me what type a taco Pokemon would be. I thought about it and remarked, "Well.... since it's food, it'd be grass type I guess. If it was a spicy taco, it'd have to be a grass-fire type." He asked what the weakness would be. Based on the fire-grass typing, we figured only flying types would be super effective against it. We also noted that the spicy taco would be super effective against dragon types (based off the book, Dragons Love Tacos). This discussion took place while he was playing Pokemon Sword. He was desperately trying to get an Eevee from an egg but couldn't figure out why he wasn't receiving any eggs from the nursery--he had a Jolteon and Sylveon in the nursery. I asked him what their genders were. He didn't know. I pointed out if they were the same gender, he wouldn't receive any eggs. Turns out they were both male (it was rather difficult not to laugh). He ended up catching a female Jolteon immediately after he figured that out, and he was super excited to finally get his Eevee. I'm blessed to know this family and be able to work with them. It definitely keeps things interesting and prevents me from getting bored!
After babysitting today I helped my best friend's mom with grocery shopping (my friend is the youngest of 7). Her mom has been rather anxious about everything and was a bit scared to go shopping; I'm glad I could help out. She's not seeing too well and has trouble lifting things (she couldn't lift the cat litter or the bottled water). After we put away her groceries we chatted for about an hour and a half. Her spirits were definitely lifted when I left. I brought her some crystals to use as well as some tasty treats to remind her of the blessings to be grateful for in life. I was really glad to hear from her and that she actually asked for help; my friend and her mom tend to take things on alone, curling in upon themselves, and don't usually ask for help; I hadn't heard from them much at all this year. Helping with groceries and driving her to the store were both very much within my power. Even though lifting and putting away groceries or even driving to the store don't seem like monumental tasks, I could tell how much it meant to her. Sometimes it's the little things that matter most.
I ended up gathering a lot of supplies for my uncle (he's in assisted care right now, but they're confined to their rooms since one of the residents has a fever and since they're waiting for test results). He's really bored there. He's also convinced that they're not feeding him breakfast (he's struggled with concepts of time, numbers, memory, interacting with technology, etc. since his multiple surgeries to remove the cancer in his brain). He's taking the whole situation rather hard. My family began brainstorming activities he could do while remaining in his room (the only things that he's enjoyed doing is eating and going outside for walks). They suggested coloring, so I found a bunch of my art supplies (a set of 48 colored pencils, multiple different sets of markers, crayons, a pencil sharpener, etc.) and a coloring book. My mom had been concerned with finding things, but I pointed out to her that there was no need to worry because I had all those kind of supplies already here at the house as I brought out a big stack. My family also suggested Legos, which I happened to have a 1000 piece set of generic Legos already at the house. We now have a goody bag assembled for my uncle, so hopefully he'll find more enjoyment in his time spent in his room.
Today also happened to be my sister's birthday. I gave her a variety of fox items (she loves foxes) and some gluten-free treats (she thinks she's gluten intolerant now but can't find out for sure due to everything that's going on). She was rather bummed out that the restaurant she wanted to order out from for dinner wasn't doing grilled food. Her second choice was pretty good, though (the pretzel bites with cheese from there are absolutely delicious!). She wasn't all that thrilled to be stuck at home for her birthday, but at least she had the day off from work (she's an essential worker since she works at a grocery store). To top the night off there was the super moon!
Corliss and I had already decided to moon gaze last night for the Pink Super Moon. The moon emanated a luminous glow--this glow continued to grow and extend outwards, pulsating like a heartbeat. It expanded at least the size of the moon in all directions and was truly fascinating to witness. The glow appeared white with a blue rim most of the time, while at times taking on rainbow colored bands. As the glow continued to expand, it resembled a blooming flower and transformed into the flower of life before my eyes. A white/rainbow (at times it appeared as transparent white while others it appeared as transparent rainbow colored bands) butterfly appeared directly below the moon--it was about a third of the size of the moon and flapped its wings. As I continued to watch in awe, it dawned on me that I had seen the flower imagery before: the silver crystal from Sailor Moon. My first reaction was that it couldn't be, but it was followed immediately by the thought: it totally freaking is the silver crystal. The imagery added new layers and vibes as the night continued. I got the impression of a new baby cradled in a blanket/a mother's arms. It was then followed by a baby, white elephant, a dancing/twirling ballerina, a penguin or an owl (it was difficult to tell), and a UFO. It was a truly intriguing experience--I'm not sure exactly what it all means, but I get the distinct impression I should revisit Sailor Moon. It makes me wonder if the rebirth of the characters from the Silver Millennium is representative of the rebirth of Earth, Mother Gaia, and human society right now. It definitely provided a lot of food for thought. There's definitely a lot of energy going on right now, especially after all the massive, group meditations that transpired on April 4th.