Until one day, I woke up and found out that the world is facing a pandemic. Mid-march when Coronavirus entered the Western part of Australia, particularly here in Perth. All in just one snap, a sense of death stalking everywhere because of the virus.
When walking down the street, when someone sees you walking in front of them, they dodge you like the plague. So it’s either you walk on the opposite side or they will.
To define a sense of “new normal”, at least from the perspective of one stuck in Quezon City, is to reconsider normalcy through a prism of three things; anxiety, loathing, and non-possibility.
I have been living here for a little over two years, and when the quarantine period started, I saw the streets of Bangkok empty for the first time. The silence was deafening, and it made me feel like I’m in a different city.
Forced vaccinations, COVID passports and protective gear might on the other hand sound like feasible (though not necessarily good) solutions in societies that can afford and enforce such policies. In Somalia and Tanzania such efforts would at best though be half-hearted attempts, considering how even more important initiatives have been unsuccessful in the past.
My "new normal" has been a sequence of months in which I went from a deep level of stress trying to imagine a way in which we could hold our business together without being forced to close it; to a deeper level of procrastination once things had slowly started to settle; to a profound period of purely reflecting in all what happened since I moved from Spain into The Netherlands to study.
Our lives were shrouded with anxiety and worry. But on the other side, we saw many brave doctors and nurses come to the front line to fight the virus.
From a hopeful start to 2020, it gradually became a terrible nightmare in a span of a few months.
In Manila, it was no different.