It’s May 16, 2021. We’re beginning to feel like cave people emerging from a cave. Thanks to being vaccinated against COVID-19 and having an amazing vaccination effort of residents in Pullman, Washington where we now live, we’ve begun feeling comfortable entering some local businesses. Although masks are still required and we potentially will continue to wear them longer than our state and local restrictions recommend. It’s been quite odd to have been new residents during the pandemic and feeling quite insulated from the community.
While yesterday was one year since we took possession of the home we rented, it seems like a blur of 12 months in some ways. As with many people, we became cloistered and our routine didn’t vary much, feeling robotic sometimes. Thankfully we had each other plus Jeremy and Michelle as our extended “buddy bubble”. We couldn’t have done it without one another!
Diane wrote many Instagram posts, partly out of sanity and missing social engagement. It was also an attempt to write of our journey and try to convey positivity with others. It’s been helpful to stay in touch with family and friends (especially since we’re no longer on Facebook), but also like-minded travelers, talented photographers, and like-minded encouragers. Through Instagram, we’ve been able to get acquainted remotely with local businesses so that once we were ready to visit them, we knew a bit about them.
In Pullman, we have walked hundreds of miles over, down, and around Sunnyside Hill and Pioneer Hill the past year. It was a great way to get more acquainted with the parks, the neighborhoods, and the vistas. We’ve had walk-up, pick-up, or drive-through coffee, ice cream, restaurant meals, and library book checkouts. For grocery shopping we used curbside pickup, a cottage bakery walk-up, and farmers’ market drive-through nearly 100 times the past year! This has meant so much to us as customers to be safe during the pandemic. How we appreciate all of the employees and businesses who made this possible.
In January and February, we were able to obtain our two vaccine doses through our medical center. For the first dose, we walked into the building and felt an energy that we hadn’t experienced in a very long time. There was happy chattering (somewhat muffled due to masks) smiling eyes (no exposed mouths due to masks), elbow bumps, and applause for the staff. The clinic worked like clockwork.
The past year made it difficult to embrace the normal celebrations in life. There seemed to be collective grief that expanded to a degree not experienced by us before both on a familial level and societal level. Perhaps the exuberance experienced at the vaccination clinic was in reaction to that grief! Losing family members and not being able to physically be present for their Celebrations of Life have been the most difficult. Although being able to view the small service for Diane’s sister-in-law via a video-stream in January at least helped somewhat. Weddings that were postponed will hopefully be rescheduled. Our nephew and new niece-in-law weren’t able to have a wedding, yet married just before Christmas. Christmas virtually with our Denver family was a good bandage of sorts, but not the same as in person. Doggone we miss those hugs! A year ago, our niece graduated from high school. In December another niece graduated from community college. Yesterday our nephew graduated from Indiana University. Thankfully all three graduations were virtual.
As we continue making our way back into society, it will be interesting. It feels counterintuitive to just jump into the deep end. Instead, since we’ve already dipped our toes, we’ll move through the shallow end and gradually wade to the 5-feet section for now. The really deep end may take quite some time!
In March we spent a day scouting for potential places to camp this year. Thankfully we discovered a campground within an hour from Pullman. We returned in early April to spend five days near a river under the Ponderosa trees. It felt “normal” to camp and get out for hikes and walks.
In late April, we met up with a couple who we’ve been “following” on Instagram and they “follow” us. They were camping 30 minutes from Pullman, so we set up camp chairs in a parking lot, nibbled on fresh baked cookies, and visited for over two hours. It was fun to meet new friends and now to continue remaining in touch.
In June we’ll make a trip to Denver with hugs for our family filling the truck bed to the brim. Otherwise, camping in the Pacific Northwest will be our primary travels.
Please let us know how you are doing and managing as many of your activities resume.
Attempting to Live “Life at the Speed of Sanity”!
Diane & Steve