When I couldn’t travel in March, I was happy to pour myself into COVID-19 disaster preparedness at the hospital instead. In April I tried to make up the vacation time, but besides not finding a great time when others weren’t off or needing to consult me, most of the places I’d normally travel to in Malawi were closed. So when May rolled around and I started looking for time to take off, it was a real wakeup call when one colleague suggested that I just wait until Coronavirus was over and then take vacation. That shocked me because now it seems like this virus will be an issue for us all year. Two months ago I was shocked when a doctor colleague asked about my plans for combating “preparedness fatigue.” Now, I felt like I was limping along, very much in need of time away.
So I checked in with management and colleagues, cleared my schedule, promised to check phone and e-mails once a day, and set off for a 10-day staycation. The first few days weren’t easy – I found myself in the hospital at meetings and responding to texts late into the night. But then I hit my stride. Greg and I constructed a running track around our yard, and I enjoyed running with the dogs every morning, stretching and reading, and often taking a bath or a nap afterward. My average tea consumption went up to about five cups a day, and I also made sure to eat plenty of fruit. We ate breakfast on the front porch and on the back yard swing. We spread out a picnic mat and enjoyed the supermoon one night. We took walks to enjoy the sunshine mid-day and projected movies and calming views from past vacations on a sheet in the yard at night.
It was just the reprieve I needed. I read Victorian romance novels. I chatted with friends but avoided in-person social gatherings. We dipped homemade chocolates. I gardened. Though my attempts at bonsai trees are not going great, my lawn and rose bushes are starting to look better. We discovered potential for a bamboo garden and finally hung some pictures on the wall. We played ping pong and practiced waltzing in our living room a little. I ran with some friends, watched TV shows, and played online games. I even started getting into better prayer habits and methods for memorizing Bible verses. We slept in until 8 or 9. We took a date into town and bought pastries and sipped tea and came home with pretty flowers for my garden. We had a lavender footbath. I think Greg was impressed that I was able to rest so well. I’ve been practicing using my weekends well, after all. As I’m writing this, I’m interrupted by a man at the gate selling fresh honeycomb. Time to take a break for a chocolate matcha latte and some delicious honey straight from the comb. I will need to remember these days when the more difficult times come. But at least now I know how to take time to rest with the simple things at home between the difficulties of work.