“You know, I could swear I was in this room just yesterday. It’s like I got time-warped.”
Stepping into my old bedroom, I glanced around at all the things I’d left behind once my first year of college had begun: a wooden model of the Titanic with a missing lifeboat and a chipped anchor, a rock vaguely shaped like a tooth that a younger me had insisted was a T-Rex fossil (but was, in fact, just a rock), piles of annotated books from high school. Not unlike many students across the country, I found myself returning home a couple months earlier than I’d expected as universities shifted classes online for the remainder of the semester. And, once I’d retraced my way through the house, pretending I was in a music video for a sad song while wistfully looking at all the pieces of furniture that I hadn’t seen in a year (it took up less time than I’d hoped, but it was at least kind of entertaining), I settled into the realization that I would very soon run out of things to do.
A trip to New York could never compare to roaming the aisles at Vitamin Cottage with my mom in search of lettuce! Credit: Yale Actual Weekly News Instagram.
Yale had moved at a quick and focused paced: I knew what I’d be doing every day. Now, though, once classes had concluded for the day, or the week, I found myself remolding my schedule to my own pace: time passed slower now and I was surrounded by more empty space than I knew how to fill. Still, I tried my best to find different ways to avoid worrying too much and spend the time on something comforting or silly or purposeful. So, I present to you a shortened list of my various quarantine activities and antics:
1. Danced to Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover” in the living room with my mom! We tried hitting whistle tones but very quickly discovered that we cannot do that!
2. Thought about how my grandmother cuts up bowls of fruit for me and my sister when we visit, but also that it’s best that I don’t visit her right now.
3. Cut my own hair with safety scissors because I didn’t get around to seeing my barber before quarantine began.
4. Revisited all the online games I played when I was younger — it’s a miracle that I remembered my Wizard101 password. I don’t know what happened to my Webkinz account, but I still think about my virtual Dalmatian a lot.
5. Saw all the tweets that said “now’s the time to finish up that project!” and got inspired! I first began teaching myself how to code my sophomore year of high school, and had started creating user-made content for one of my favorite games, but I never finished my customized add-on. No time like the present to finish programming all 26 levels of your 15 year-old self’s game, I guess?
6. Tried on the face mask my aunt sent me. There’s something dystopic and foreboding about going outside and seeing everyone wearing masks - but, mine has a little fish-pattern all over it!
7. Began rewatching “The Walking Dead” from Season 1 - I was impatient and googled around to see if my favorite character lived through all ten seasons, and she did!
8. Stared at the walls.
9. Took a break from staring at the walls, then stared at them again hoping it would be more entertaining the second time (I’m sad to report that nothing riveting occurred), then stopped staring at the walls.
10. Said hi to the wandering neighborhood cat who visits our front yard sometimes!
11. FaceTimed/Zoomed my friends, spent most of the calls laughing or showing them my attempts at banana-chocolate chip pancakes.
12. Looked through my Snapchat memories from a year ago, two years ago: my last semester of high school, Bulldog Days, the cherry blossoms on Old Campus blooming.
14. Felt left out on account of not having the new Animal Crossing game or a Nintendo Switch, and therefore unable to relate to any of the screenshots on Twitter, so I found my old copy of Animal Crossing: City Folk from 2008, slid it into the Wii, and picked cherries and apples in the virtual town of Pearls.
15. Deleted all the cancelled events from my GCal, scheduled in a few new plans, and scrolled ahead through the months of blank space.
Jackson, the neighborhood cat who’s been visiting my mother daily while I’ve been away at Yale - he came to say hi to me too!
With so much newfound free time in quarantine, I thought I’d find my old Game Boy and copy of Pokémon Emerald, and finally complete the Pokédex. After a few days into my quest, and 145/202 of all pokémon in the Hoenn region caught, my save file decided to delete itself.
While I’ve been home, my mom and I have spent our (ample) free time looking through her old 45s and listening to 70s music!