But COVID-19 happened…

A time wherein as much as possible, we have to stay home; recreational, non-essential flights disallowed; airline, hotel, restaurant employees being retrenched; some known establishments and businesses are being closed down. These are not signs of anything good happening. By that, I ask myself…

“Is it really the right time to revive a blog niched on travelling? “

I even can’t say that I’m fully niched on travelling and other related stuff. I did wrote few (as in very few) and unmonetized articles related to travelling during the prime of this blog 2 to 3 years ago. But as I said before, “I totally don’t (or can’t) consider myself as a travel blogger.” At least on the eyes of the mainstream crowd. Despite those, the fact that going to different places still had place in our hearts.

I started writing this piece almost 2 months ago. If I was able to focus finishing my writing that time, it may lead me to publish a 2000-word rant. Yes, many things had happened already during these times I had to be a responsible provider for my little family. People are now starting to move on now. The usual 7 PM closing time for malls and some other businesses were now moved to 9 PM or later. Some public transportation from our place ~ the PHILIPPINES ~ are “somehow” starting to operate again. In my industry, construction, my current client is already expecting full – blast work to meet their required quota for the number of stores opened. Oh and surprise, non – essential travels are now allowed since 21st of October. Still, in my mind, remains the question…

“CAN WE REALLY JUST… GET OVER IT AND MOVE ON WITH OUR LIVES?” AS IF NOTHING HAPPENED?

At least to myself, I’m still trying to process what happened before this ~ *ugh* ~ pandemic just took place. Even saying this overused p – word cringes me a lot. In the first place, it’s not yet over. At least in our country, the cases are still rising. Just searching it on Google will make you think twice before letting your guard down.

NUMBER OF COVID-19 CASES IN THE PHILIPPINES AS OF NOVEMBER 23, 2020

Well, from my current work in a SME contracting firm (small-to-medium enterprise), we lost all our projects lined up for year 2020 from one of our major clients since they have to halt down their nationwide store expansion. For ethical purposes I decided to not disclose which company is that but to give a little info, it is one of the most known clothing brands in our country. I also found out that they are inviting bidders for demolition projects; indicating that they’re planning to close down some of their built stores. Thus, given also that finding new clients are difficult at this moment, we have to depend on our remaining client that awards bidders based on who can finish the project at the quickest time possible and at the lowest cost. Of course, the competition is very tight that we might only have more than 10 projects for this year (compared to approximately 100+ projects last year). Now that’s too much talking about my work.

Aside from that, I still do university teaching stint on part – time basis and almost two and a half years now since I went back. During the start of the lockdown (known in the Philippines as community quarantine) at around March, face – to – face classes were suspended. That is in the middle of an academic term. Forcing us to conduct our classes and finish the said term online. Nine months forward, we still had to conduct our classes online. Although subjects assigned to me are those I highly prefer, I honestly can’t help but feel exhausted. Doing lectures on a computer screen for hours with little – to – no guarantee that students even listen? Dealing with complaints about slow – to – no internet connection (I can’t blame it to them though since I experience it first – hand)? Late submittals? Make – up exams? Oh and the university’s continuous sudden changes in their operating procedures. Many times, I think of quitting teaching at the moment. Maybe at least rest until the pandemic is over. But in the end, I still accepted a workload for the brand new term. Again, with thinking if this could be the last (for now… *laughs*).

As a graduate student, the suspension of in – campus classes somewhat lightened up my coursework requirements. I was able to finish my penalty coursework and get high grades despite my highly hectic schedule and is now one comprehensive exam away from graduating. Or at least only on my thoughts…

My load lightening up on some aspects doesn’t mean that I have space to try new things. I’m just being redirected on other things that I still need to do. So, my usual complaint of not having enough time to focus on studying for my exam? It’s still there and yes, I had to retake some parts of my comprehensive exam in order to graduate this year. Imagine the frustration that I feel right now as I tell these things through this writing.

“SO WHAT NOW?”

I refuse to romanticize what’s happening right now. People suffered and died. I refuse to label this pandemic as a “blessing in disguise.” or “universe’s way of healing.” Part of me wanted to celebrate how I had been resilient and been surviving these past few months but hell no. Things seemed to not getting better. It feels so exhausting. Maybe giving myself a pat on the back will do… for now.

Yes, I do am privileged enough to not experience something that’s much worse. Still, things frustrates me to the core. I don’t take all the credit for making it this far.

As expected, this writing piece approaches 1,000 words and a large fraction of it contained the frustrations I bottled up these past few months. The question still remains…

“WHAT ARE MY PLANS?”

Writing again after a while could be the first step of how can I move forward. But even I myself wasn’t 100% sure about it. I do plan on trying to revive this blog despite currently having a lot on my plate. Well, I already invested a lot for this site to just let it die eh? I do hope to write consistently at least once a month for next coming days. Oh and maybe it’s something that was far from travelling as honestly, we haven’t went anywhere for almost two years now since we found out that my wife was pregnant.

Speaking of that, my daughter is already a year older now. We’re supposed to celebrate her 1st birthday on a typical bigger party setting. We could’ve availed the birthday party package from Jollibee or McDonalds. Well, we could’ve planned it like how we threw in our wedding: a venue, catering, party favors, clowns, etc. But none of them materialized given the risk of contracting the virus especially for kids.

We’re thankful though that we’re still able to throw her a birthday party. Something much simpler and more intimate with our family that only lives within our community in Fairview. We can’t expect much given that it’s last August and quarantine guidelines are much tighter during that time.

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(READ ALSO: A game-changing, record-breaking, life-stretching year that is 2019)

Also, we decided to apply for our daughter’s passport earlier of this year. Given that our passports (my wife’s and mine) were to expire next year, we decided to renew ours as well. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone. Of course, we’re already longing for travels and honestly excited to take our little one with us. But we all knew what happened right? The rest is already history.

Thankfully, we’re able to take our daughter to some places before the lockdown. Last January, we drove to Robinsons Pampanga just to renew my wife’s expired PRC Chemical Engineer license.

Then a week before implementing the lockdown, we went to my wife’s hometown and enjoyed a day on the pool to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday. We’re supposed to return two weeks after that event to commemorate my father-in-law’s first death anniversary, but then again, we all know what happened.

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Robinsons Starmills, San Fernando, Pampanga (January 2020)

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Punta Verde Dive, Lobo, Batangas (March 2020)

Next year hopefully, we can already utilize the passport that we just applied in. A year was honestly, wasted because of COVID. Well, we can only at least go through road trips once we’re certain that it’s already safe to travel.

Aside from the new teaching term that I just committed, I’ll try to give another shot on my comprehensive exam. I tend to retake everything I failed. Cross fingers, I hope to already pass in order to graduate. I long for the day that I can finally move on in my life without thinking when will I finish my graduate school.

Oh and another thing! My wife and I decided to build an online business amid this pandemic selling various products such as Coffee, Honey, etc. We’re thriving and operating for almost half a year now. I would reserve the details on the social media accounts so maybe check us out?

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Facebook | Instagram | Shopee | Lazada

Well, there are still lots of things going on my mind that I want to include in this essay. But like my previous posts, I feel like it will bore many of you. Yet, I hope that you won’t. I’m thankful that you reached this part. May we all go through this pandemic stronger.

Sincerely, DEX

READ ALSO: Non-Essential Outbound Travel amid COVID-19: Good News or Bad News?

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