Finding sweet light in a shadowed world

What can we do now that anyone around us might be the vector of a deadly disease? We have to continue to live our lives. I’m a college student at UBC and in the Before Time (that’s what I call the time before this pandemic) I had a wonderfully full student life. There were parties every weekend; I would study with my friends in packed libraries; and most importantly, I wouldn’t think twice about going to the supermarket or shaking hands with my friends. But that’s the thing about the Before Time: it was a more carefree world, unmarred by the shadowy killer, COVID-19.

When the pandemic began, I started thinking of the fear and apprehension that I felt daily. These emotions reminded me of an episode of a TV show I used to love watching as a kid, Doctor Who. This show tells the story of an alien named the Doctor who travels through time. On one of the Doctor’s adventures, he travels to the biggest library in the universe and finds that its stacks have been infested by shadow creatures called the Vashta Nerada. These microscopic creatures live in swarms in any shadow cast by the sun. Those who have the bad luck of accidentally stepping into one of the Vashta Nerada’s shadows are immediately devoured. The Doctor spends that entire episode running from the darkness and the shadows, fearing something he cannot see.

What are the shadows?

The darkness and danger that the Doctor dealt with is something that everyone in the world is currently feeling. These shadow monsters could get to me without me even knowing it. Mundane things, such as walking into the shadows or touching a door handle could have disastrous, life-changing consequences.

On Mar. 13, the world as we knew it changed forever. In a sense, life lost a little bit of its spice. My college experience was severely hampered, to thea point where every day felt like one long weekend. Often, when I woke up in the mornings, I asked my roommates what they had planned for that day and they would tell me, “Same thing as yesterday, not much.” This complete loss of autonomy bothered me to no end. All of a sudden I was just a kid again, at the whims of powers greater than me and not able to do much to control my life. However, my family was five thousand kilometers away and I needed to grow up quickly and take care of myself properly because nobody was coming to help me if I messed up. I knew that the shadows were out there, waiting for me to make the wrong move. So I stayed home, and I grew up.

Finding things to do

It’s not to say that I have been alone during this pandemic. The coming of the shadows built indestructible bonds between me and my roommates. Together we lived through the most bizarre times and came out stronger people. We spent days upon days playing video games, throwing footballs, and goofing around. However, for somebody like me, staying at home all the time remained quite taxing. In the Before Time, I reveled in sitting in coffee shops listening to music, taking the bus to classes and being out and about. Now that these were taken away, I realized how important they were to me. How could I fill this seemingly endless void in my life? I started taking up many hobbies again to occupy my time. I was not going to coast through this pandemic without doing anything. This would be a period of learning even if I wasn’t going to school anymore. I now had time to really explore the culinary world of baking and develop my photography. If life had lost some of its spice, I would just have to add some sugar to make it sweeter. To the delight of my roommates, that is exactly what I did. I periodically turned our kitchen into a bakery churning out donuts, cheesecakes, pies, and all sorts of sweet goodies. No matter the state of the world. I haven’t been stopped from finding some light in all of the shadows.

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