From The Land of Lincoln to Long Island…Moving during a Global Pandemic

BY Emily Palacios –

Recently, people have asked, “I never saw you at Dawnwood before. Are you new here?”  At first, I didn’t  know how to respond. I would have so much to say in so little time. I used to live in Illinois. People always ask me if it was hard moving because of the Pandemic. They’ve also asked how I’ve been settling in and if I’ve made any friends, etc… I’m dedicating this article to the people who have asked where I came from and how I made it this far.

My Life before Covid: Before Covid-19, CoronaVirus, the ‘Rona,’ or whatever you want to call it, life was simple. I was your average student. I had good grades, a good family and good friends; you can say I had a good life. School was getting boring, but every student said that and they still do. Now, life is more complex. 

Schools, restaurants, jobs, factories, public places, and other buildings shut down when word got out that scientists stumbled upon a deadly strain. I managed to finish my school year since they distributed iPads at the beginning of the year. Moreover, I passed with B’s and C’s instead of my traditional A’s. Friends grew distant and my mother stayed home most of the time. I barely ever went out except to the grocery store with my mother. About the same time, my mother and father decided it would be best for me to move to New York to continue my education until I’m old enough to make it on my own.

Traveling double-masked: I woke at 3 a.m to catch the 5 a.m flight to JFK Airport. I remember running around with my mother trying to find my gate so I could finally sit down and relax until the plane was boarding. I remember how crowded the airport was and how people didn’t care about social distancing. I thought wearing a Louis Vuitton mask would be the new fad. I felt like people spacing themselves out would become the new norm. The last words my mother told me was “Adios mija, te quiero mucho.”

New Life: I didn’t want to go to New York, notwithstanding I managed to keep my composure. I’m not going to lie, but during the summer I was inconspicuously miserable. When school started, I met new people who I could relate to and who shared similar problems. Perhaps I was wrong about New York.  Maybe I could break out of my shell that was preventing me from reaching my fullest potential. I still get nervous around some people, but I think I’ve gotten used to the fact that not everyone is going be familiar. Not to mention, it’s harder to speak to people with a mask on. Just another barrier I need to deal with, I used to tell myself. Now I’m a part of a club, have friends, good grades, and a family to come home to.

Where now?     I currently live here with an amazing family. No, let me rephrase that… I live in a circus! That might sound unpleasant or fun depending on what type of person you are.   Hear me out: It’s more like a family circus. My two sisters are the clowns, my little brother is the charming baby who makes the crowd go “Aww,” my dad is the lion while my stepmother is the lion tamer/ringmaster, and whoever comes to visit, is the audience. I honestly don’t know where I fit into the circus yet. I would most likely be the person who promotes the circus’s name since I’m writing about them. I feel basically at home; a very, very hectic home. Even though I have more restrictions, more stress and a new parent figure to get to know, I manage to keep my hopes up about the future. My new friends make school delightful and I actually look forward to going to class. And most importantly, I like life again.

The traditional “school year” has changed.  This year, students all over the world are faced with a challenge that has completely changed the education system. Students who were used to seeing their teachers and friends at school every day have been were stripped of that experience and many other experiences all at once. All caused by the spread of Covid-19, aka the Corona Virus.  

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