• Diona Chu

Day 2 - Mon 23 Mar

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

Today was a day of ups and downs; a day of reality check.

We set our alarms at 8am, but I woke up long before the alarm went off. With the tip of my finger, I scrolled through bad news that happened overnight from all over the world - infection and death rates that are rapidly rising, shutting of borders, more self-isolation measures, canceling of flights, the list goes on. Not the best start of a morning, but life goes on.

I nudged Rudi awake and started our day with a morning of productive work till midday. He worked out how he wanted to cook what he wanted to cook, I did some school work, still trying to figure out if schools are open or shut tomorrow.

Stress levels are high. At lunch time, I blurted out how ridiculous it was to leave the oven on for days or potential weeks to dry the figs and grapes we bought yesterday - it’s environmentally unfriendly and we don’t really need an extra boost on our electricity bill at this difficult time. Rudi felt deflated by my blunt comment, but was extremely understanding. So we sat down, chatted about our plans and how he could achieve drying his fruit while making me feel more comfortable during the process. We acknowledged that we are in an extremely difficult situation but we gotta stay positive and encouraging for each other!

After figuring out a solution, we headed out to Kitchen Warehouse, stopping by Costco fuel on the way (only $1.08/L for unleaded petrol!). At Kitchen Warehouse, we found the dehydrator that we wanted, and spent 20 minute chatting with the shopkeeper about the current crazy climate, making sure that else keep our social distances of 2 metres as we talked. Yep, just a casual 20 minutes chat inside a store, because no one is in a rush!

Arriving home with our prize, we transferred the figs and grapes from the oven trays to the dehydrator. Ahhh... The quiet hum of the machine gives me relief knowing that it will only stay on for the next 12 hours, not days.

I returned to checking the constant emails and updates that I am getting from school, and found out that our school is staying open for children of essential service workers. However, depending on the numbers, not all teachers have to be in attendance - hence, still don’t know whether I have to go in tomorrow!

I did some work setting up the platform for Home Learning, then read the news about how hundreds and thousands of people who recently lost their jobs are queuing up outside Centrelink to apply for government support. I soon realised that we too, could be lining up on the street from 6am waiting for the office to open at 8:30am tomorrow. We joked about how we could bring our camping chairs, hot tea in our thermos and long sticks to make sure others keep their social distances from us while we wait... The joke soon became saddening and grim because this might actually be what we will be doing tomorrow... I cried.

Queues outside of Centrelink

Rudi, while stressed himself I‘m sure, comforted me and said, “Look, we have calculated it, we will be fine for at least half a year even without any income, that’s what our emergency funds are for!” Indeed, there are a lot of people in a much worse situation, with no spare cash and no money for their next rental payment. The stress of the unknown is immense, but we are one of the lucky ones with a roof on our heads and food on our table, so we are thankful.

Putting the depressing idea of queuing up outside Centrelink behind us, we continued to work on our little food project. All of Rudi’s toys were going - the sous vide, dehydrator, food processor, mixer, etc. It was actually quite fun to watch how organised he was with so much going on. We had fish and greens for dinner, and Rudi made bolognese and pasta, and crackers and grape glaze, everything from scratch!

In the evening, I spoke with my parents and updated them about our gloomy situation. :They reassured us that if we ever need anything, they will be more than happy to help.

In this awful situation for all, we must remember to be grateful for small things...

Today, I am extremely thankful for having supportive parents and friends around us. I am also thankful for potable water, clean water and soap. Washing my hands multiple times a day without thinking is already a privilege.

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