Editor’s Note: With the community quarantine in place, we are instructed to stay at home for some time. It helps to think that what this time offers is a great opportunity to engage on tasks that make staying at home not only fun but also productive, putting the time to good use, such as learning a new skill or language, picking up a new hobby, or finally working on a task you've been putting off. The list is endless. In the following article, UB student Saniya shares some of her activities while staying at home during the quarantine.
Other than sleeping for hours straight and staying wide awake glancing through the transparent window catching the morning sun while the cool air brushes against my skin, I have undertaken a few tasks that made me spend the early phase of the quarantine period a little productively, sparing my mind from going ‘pandemic’ about staying indoors.
Meanwhile, although I may have binge-watched and finished a jar of peanut butter (I need to put on a little weight), I did not entirely regret spending some time on the laptop screen (or licking the peanut butter off the cover) because I did learn a lot. Hannibal Lecter showed me how those hands made delicate dishes with art, both ways. And I have to add, Ted Mosby never gave up on his love-life; he felt as if the world revolves around destiny on multiple dates, but let us not get to that. I’d rather not explain my principle on romantic relationship. Cheers to both characters that are both artistic and lunatic.
Whether accompanied by technology or not, the goal is to have fun while being productive staying in during this quarantine period. Read on as I accompany you to some of my adventures at home.
Creating a natural home for my pet turtle
Turtles – I got hold of one in December last year. A Malayan box turtle. It is semi-aquatic – it spends time on land where it likes to hide under an object and on water that is not too deep (because it is a poor swimmer).
I am delighted to say my Malayan pet turtle is still alive and healthy, no salmonella. Geez, I thought it would be easy taking care of a pet turtle. I thought, turtles do not defecate so why not? But I got it wrong – it spreads its feces everywhere! And I was unable to obtain a built-in filter, so that kind of made it worse.
So to fix things, I decided to create a natural home for my pet turtle. I have a stash of things that can be recycled, so I made use of those to build Peanut’s home (renamed him after getting his gender right, previously was known as Mishell – I am a good owner, trust me). I built a tiny bridge that connects his pond to my balcony where I put a box of land made of soil and gravel (that I handpicked on my trip to Ilocos Sur). I scattered seeds in the box to grow safe plants. I also filled it with collected maple leaves. Also, since turtles need Vitamin D, and I could not afford to purchase a UVB lamp, I decided to keep it natural.
I made my balcony an extension of my pet turtle Peanut's home, filling a box with soil and gravel which I collected on a trip.
Home-made tea concoction
Tea – quiz me on it. I have always dreamt of becoming a food taste-tester, drinks included. My taste buds are quite sensitive and I can pick up on any flavor but that does not make me a picky eater.
Ergo, I dashed in three different herbs to formulate a tea-rrific, cloudless tea. Dostoevsky once said, “I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.” Trust me, my imagination on opening a shop and investing on the greatest teas out there is beyond Batman’s responsibilities. My preferences are caffeine-free or caffeinated, no sugar or any additives; it is good as it is. And I do not feel at all guilt-tea for sipping on brewed coffee as I pride on tea puns, ha-ha.
Organizer out of wood scrap
I managed to build a four-foot rack (for my brothers to organize and tidy up their room) out of pieces of wood scrap. I may have caused some ruckus to the neighbors but the next morning, voilà! Slightly skew but properly stabilized shelf. I missed working with tools; last project I worked on was two years ago.
I made use of wood scrap to build an organizer which I put in my brothers' room.
Plant decor 101
I earlier purchased nine indoor plants (gave the four to a friend as housewarming gifts; suits her well because you really don’t have to water the succulents that often). I collected discarded mugs and cups and carefully transferred the plants into them. I hanged some of them beside my window. Decorating and caring for plants make me aware I am not alone.
Instead of throwing them away, I used discarded mugs and cups as pots for my succulents.
Connecting with others
I thought I may never have to type this down, but before the COVID-19 pandemic, my mind was in a whirlpool. It was louder than the broadcasting news worldwide.
During the quarantine, I tried focusing on my thoughts, calming my mind. One distinct thought that emerged was that I needed to reach out to someone. Prior to that, I never really cared asking for someone to hear me out because, mind your own business, right? And so I pushed myself to spurt it out.
It turned out okay. I was finally at ease, although not completely. I just found it bothersome to adjust to a new situation where I had no control of; this I had to practice. And I like to stick with the original vibes – self-control without the need for massive external instruments; just the use of mind and heart to connect. It usually does me good peacefully.
Now it's your turn. Shake those hesitations off and use this time to reach out to that person who may not be close to you but somehow cares to remind you to put your seatbelts on and drive slowly. And remember to walk it out like Audrey Hepburn, Al Pacino, Agent Carter or Sheldon Cooper. Talk about confidence with self-acceptance and an ample amount of tranquility. (May the force be with you.)
– Saniya Sayeedi, School of Natural Sciences
All photos courtesy of Saniya Sayeedi.