My Week in ESTEEM: Quarantine Diaries, Pt. 4

Author: Risa Takenaka

Risa Takenaka ESTEEM '20Risa Takenaka ESTEEM '20

[Editor's note: Departing somewhat from our usual "My Week in ESTEEM" format, current student Risa Takenaka shares her experience, candidly and with humor, since learning that Notre Dame's classes would move online. This news came on March 11, just as the class was finishing up their Spring Break week in Silicon Valley.

This is the fourth post in the series. Check back often for new installments.]

The Extrovert's Take on Quarantine 

As for myself, I must admit I am going a tad bit crazy not being able to physically be with others, and it’s been especially hard to not engage in my favorite activity: giving and receiving hugs from friends. But I have been keeping myself busy making snail mail, journaling, crafting, and my kitchen table looks like Hobby Lobby threw up all over it. I even picked up this wild hobby that every raves about, called yoga, and I’m honestly getting pretty into it. It’s only been a week since I started practicing, but I feel like a new woman now that I can touch my toes with ease. That, combined with my daily exercise routine of 10+ trips from couch to fridge has me feeling quite accomplished. 

Trying to get my housemate/sister, Yuri, to hang out and talk to me has proved to be a difficult task that I don’t have the motivation for most days. But I’ve found that if I annoy her enough she’ll usually cave in and agree to her version of hanging out, which consists of us sitting across from each other at the kitchen table like we’re colleagues, doing our respective arts and crafts. If I’m lucky she’ll talk to me once every hour or so, usually asking me to pass the snacks. Ugh, gotta love her. 

As truly exciting this lifestyle is, I’m looking forward to a time when social distancing and quarantine are a thing of the past. Until then, I guess I have no choice but to continue unlearning the habits of a people person. Next on my overly ambitious to do lists: Learn the choreography to Motivation by Normani, read a few more of the books that I’ve been “working on” for months, and who knows, I might even mess around and learn how to do tree pose in yoga. 

In all seriousness, the purpose of this series was not to downplay the gravity of this situation, but to shine a light on how my classmates have spread the positivity of lighthearted quarantine activities in order to stay sane and support each other. Abby O’Loughlin's family Zoom call was initiated in support of making sure her grandpa isn’t lonely in isolation. Anshul and Nick’s messages challenging us to get up and get movin’ are actually really important for our mental states! These are all acts of solidarity and comfort that we can celebrate. As we weather the storm together, let’s remember to keep building each other up, to continue caring for those around us and especially those who are most vulnerable, and to show gratitude for our essential workers across several industries, who work tirelessly while putting their lives at risk. That’s all I got for now, but thanks for reading -- bless your attention span if you actually made it this far -- and stay safe! Stay tuned for more updates!