By Alejandra Salas
Without a doubt the world has faced a drastic change due to the pandemic, where all of the sudden everything shut down and certainly surprised all of us. When the stay-at-home order happened in California where I currently live, it was March 2020, and since then, time has moved slowly and life hasn’t been quite the same. Personally, I believe we all needed that extra time to take care of ourselves, rearrange our lifestyle, and especially, to take extra time to live life and not see it pass by our eyes. These difficult times also showed us how to be resilient and optimistic when it comes to thinking about the future.
During quarantine, times at home felt like forever, and there weren’t any new shows left to watch. Thankfully, online classes kept my sanity, and I was able to interact with my classmates via Zoom, which turned out to be my most productive and favorite part of the day. After a successful yet challenging semester, summer arrived and the stay-at-home order had not been lifted yet. Therefore, my creativity was exploited to the max, and I started to schedule different activities during the day to keep me active while enjoying what I like to do the most: design and enjoy nature.
Some fun things I’ve started doing during quarantine time that somehow became a current habit in my life are hiking, painting more often, and exploring the outdoors. Living in Lake Tahoe gives me access to multiple hiking trails and new beaches to explore every day. The lake always has something new to offer regardless of the weather. I remember running laps by the lake every morning and enjoying the cool breeze, where it was just me and no one else around; this was also a great workout since gyms and yoga studios were closed, and most importantly, it was an easy way of social distancing. I also took hikes with my friends and our dogs to non-touristic places where we were only surrounded by the almighty nature — big pine trees and the whistle of seagulls flying above us. Hiking is so rewarding when you get to the peak and appreciate the panoramic views of the lake from above; this was one of my favorite activities because it did not involve an agglomeration of people, only the company of wildlife.
Summertime was amazing during these difficult times because I got to spend a lot of time on my deck, painting, cooking, and just enjoying life at a slow pace; while understanding that it was the best activity I could do at the time. When things started to get better, I was also able to go to the beaches. Even though Lake Tahoe is known as a touristic place, I managed to explore more of the area and found hidden beaches to go where once again nature provided me with the privilege of privacy. Overall, I was always able to manage the quarantine situation by being creative and embracing the idea of staying at home more often, which also improved my cooking skills. I am seriously amazed at how we have adapted to the current situation and have been able to overcome these challenges. I encourage all students to take the time to go explore the outdoors and enjoy nature; you will find peace even when feeling down.
Alejandra Salas from Lima, Peru, is an architecture student and new International Peer Mentor at Truckee Meadows Community College.