The trials of quarantine
2020 was a year that brought on moments of great pain and little joys for many of us. One of the greatest challenges we faced was understanding how to adjust to our new normal, and finding contentment. From quarantine birthdays to weddings, our most momentous occasions required modification. Yet, despite all of this, it took a global pandemic to really inspire little wonders and spur creativity in our hearts and minds. One of the ways in which this was truly seen was through the celebration of birthdays.
A birthday fiasco
Summer 2020 was a rough one for me. I was a pharmacy student, in an accelerated program, testing every week, virtually. Yes, there were times in my program when birthday celebrations were just not possible. To make matters worse, my birthday fell right at the peak of the Summer fun- early July. It’s the time when everyone is firing up those BBQ grills, getting those fireworks ready, lounging by the pool…I could go on. However, these lovely moments, as enticing as they are, were not my reality. I had a major exam the day before my birthday AND the day after. I spent all day studying, taking little breaks in between. During those little breaks, I added insult to injury by browsing through my social media to see how others were celebrating their quarantine birthdays. The creativity was astounding. From beautifully colored backdrops to replicated vacation destinations, it was just amazing to see how others managed to still celebrate their birthdays. However, all this admiration soon got to me.
I absolutely adore birthdays! No matter what, a little celebration is always necessary. However, being in school all year round can make this difficult. My birthday was coming in less than a week, and so were my exams. I called up one of my friends to vent about how this birthday was going to be, for lack of better terms, disastrous. She sweetly advised me to just get through this time, and that at some point in the future we could celebrate. I swallowed my pride and just figured I’d power through my studying. Maybe that would take my mind off my upcoming birthday.
My big day
The day finally rolled around. My mother made me the most delicious birthday smoothie and brought me some balloons. It was a lovely surprise that really pulled me through, as I sat in a corner revising my notes for my exam in Pharmacology. My notes looked like a war zone, so that smoothie was a needed distraction.
Later that day, I received a phone call from another friend asking if I was going to be home that day. I found the inquiry a little strange, but I said yes. Some hours later, as I’m sitting by the window, I see two people sneak into my backyard. Ready to alert the police of intruders, I ran outside to spot these suspicious characters. Lo and behold, it was my two friends – the one whom I had spoken to over the phone a few days back, and the other who called asking if I was home. Holding a balloon in their hands, they claimed they were here to surprise me. They told me to go back inside the house, and not to come out for 1 hour. My mother went out there to see what these ladies were doing, and before I knew it, she was helping them to plan the surprise.
Birthday party – quarantine style
When I was finally able to go outside, I saw the most beautiful display. It was simple but absolutely breathtaking. With just a few knick-knacks here and there, my friends were able to recreate the most beautiful little quarantine birthday for me.
With our masks on our faces, we popped the bubbly and celebrated for a few hours. We listened to the sweet sounds of Caribbean music, and danced as much as we could. We also lit up a birthday cake substitute (cupcakes), and I made my wish.
Honestly, it was one of the best birthdays I had ever had. I never imagined with just two people, in my own backyard, I could have had so much fun. I think the flowers in my garden added a little extra touch that gave it a secret garden-like feeling. This goes to show that even in the worst of times, we can create the best of times.
A quarantine birthday isn’t all that bad after all.