Written by Haley Darbonne
By now you all are probably reading this from home under strict quarantine of the country, state, or city that you live in. You might even be some of the “unlucky” few who still have to go save the world with your 9-5 job, but either way, I salute you.
It was just a few months ago we were all exchanging jokes about this virus that was forming, enjoying the idea that the illness shared the same name as a beer and laughing at how innocent we thought this entire situation was at first. Did we ever once stop and think how this would one day alter all our lives, most likely, forever?
We could blame the media, the people, or even the leadership we have before us because like the domino effect goes, one event leads to another, just as one hysteria builds to the next. This virus, as I will not say its name as that will give it its own power, is a black hole to society. We find ourselves venturing further and further into this chaos it has created to the point we do not even know what we are doing anymore, but continuously acting upon fear blindly. Though blindly might fit the description well when it comes to taking on this virus head on. Like fighting a battle and not knowing who your enemy is. However in the blindness that we face, we begin to see more clearly the truth behind ourselves, the ugliness of us. As a society we already were on the edge with our issues and differences. We had a balance in how we treated people and how we presented ourselves around others. But like a switch, this virus turned us into the animals we always truly were.
Photo from Marketplace
We are all on a different page when it comes to a panic or understanding of this virus. Some of us being bummed to the idea that our personal lives are being altered to where we might not experience a festival, concert, or even an event of 10 people for a few months. Don’t worry, we will get through this one sad postponed announcement at a time. As for others who are panicking, wearing masks and running around the grocery stores in an “after Thanksgiving Black Friday” manner; acting as if that toilet paper you desperately do not need is the flat screen TV you saw in the ad. However, let’s not forget all the creative ways we have tried to make this panic a little less scary. Glamorizing the phrase “social distancing” to not scare us of the truth of trying to save us from out own faults.
It’s one thing to keep your distance from people now, but how did you feel these past few weeks when the panic was beginning to erupt and you would walk past someone in public? Instead of them just being another stranger you encounter, you found yourself wondering about them just a little more, and asking yourself questions like, “Where have you been?” or “What have you touched?” Nothing we do is of a simple minded thought anymore as we begin to hurdle deeper into this rabbit hole that we have created from this virus.
Photo from NBC News
We all know too well what is going on here in the states as to how this virus is beginning to grow and fester within our daily lives. The panic has begun to build so much that it is as if we are numb to the idea of what will happen next. But what about how it all started and somewhat has begun to end in other countries? Countries that were there since the beginning and watched the entire scene play out as they took part of it.
Angela Buhrow, is a Houston native who currently is living in Seoul, South Korea where she is a school teacher. Angela shares how life in Seoul has been like since the first few cases of the virus began to pop up and how people reacted to the new way of life they were beginning to come to terms with.
Photo from Angela’s Instagram
Trillvo: What was it like when you first found out about the virus in South Korea? How did people react?
When I first found out about the virus in South Korea I was nervous because I work with children who are wealthy and travel constantly. That was the biggest concern for me seeing as working with children means I get sick a lot. People reacted very calmly in the beginning. There were some cases of Koreans being rude to Chinese which was frightening.
Trillvo: What was one of the Main concerns you had when people started to prepare for quarantine in South Korea? Did stores sell out of products?
One of my biggest concerns when people started reacting to the virus was running out of supplies. Since I’m American I know well that supplies run out fast due to panic shoppers. I tried getting the only things I would need like soap, hand sanitizer, and food for the week. Thankfully Korea acted better than I could’ve ever expected and we only had a shortage of hand sanitizer for a few days. Korea was also low on masks, but the government set up a system where you can only buy masks on a day that correlates with your birth year ending number. For example I was born in 1996, year ending with 6 can buy masks on Monday.
Trillvo: How did you personally spend your days in quarantine?
While I was in quarantine I spent a lot of time talking with my dad on the phone. Four days a week he works night shifts so we are able to talk on the phone for several hours. Our current record is 6 hours! I also spent a lot of time cleaning. The best advice for quarantine that I can give is to set a goal to do one thing a day. For instance I needed to clean my entire apartment but if I did it all in one day, I would have many days of boredom. So one day I’ll clean the kitchen, the next my bathroom, and so on and so forth.
Photo from U.S. News & World Report
Trillvo: Looking back at the worst of days in South Korea and how they are now, what could you tell people in the US to be prepared for?
When I look back at the worst days in South Korea and how they are now I would just say be prepared. South Korea acted in a state of emergency right as the virus started. They took everything into control immediately which helped slow down the virus fast. South Korea had a big problem with Cults causing mass spreading due to people breaking quarantine so if you’re religious please do not go to church. There are ways to stay home and watch a service online.
Trillvo: How do you feel about the US take on how they are dealing with the virus?
I feel like the US is trying their best to handle the current situation and I commend them for that. I wish they had taken the virus more seriously in the beginning and warned people before it was too late. There was no prevention measures taken before the virus had already spread. There was also mixed signals in the beginning and people didn’t know how to react which caused panic buying. My favorite thing Korea did was be extremely transparent about what was happening. As soon as someone was confirmed, there was a list of places that person had been to in the past 2 weeks so people could avoid those locations. Government transparency is key.
Photo from Nature News
At this point, this all feels like a dream. Unreal in a sense because it is nothing many of us have ever experienced before. This is not something we can shove in the back of our minds and hope it will go away on it’s own, but rather something we must face head on and accept to be able to move further. The greatest role we might all play in this panic is to stay focused and to not let the worst of ourselves overcome us. Because within the isolation we have been placed under, will come the mental exhaustion we hate the most. The mental pain we fear. We might fear the idea of wasting away as we lose time that we could be spending enjoying ourselves and growing as individuals. But stop and think about the idea of this virus stopping time altogether. Because at this point time and space do not matter because time is not of the essence anymore but the space you put between you and the person next to you is. Though we may not know how long we will have to continue in this strange new lifestyle, it will not last forever.
However, a new world is coming and though, we might not all enjoy change, it is inevitable at this point. So brace yourselves, but do not be afraid.
Keep ten toes down.