Uncertain and Puzzling Times
Establishing New Priorities
The first recorded case of COVID-19 in Thailand was on January 13th. However, we at Vivobene do not speak about it, or its global impact. We are in our own present personal worlds, attempting to cope. I live safely tucked away from the chaotic world beyond the guarded entrance for more than two months. Now, ready or not, I return home.
I leave my sheltered environment on February 12th and enter my home, settling back into a lifestyle I left behind on December 2nd. It is time to jump-start my goals once again. My focus is on regaining balance coordination and strength. Although my days are full of both traditional and alternative therapies, I intend to continue exploring Chiang Mai's treasures and traveling domestically and internationally. Is this unrealistic? Perhaps.
Without wasting time, I suppress angst towards the erratic driving and dangerously broken sidewalks throughout Chiang Mai and venture out with caution.
Since many people leave the city during the burning season, I am not surprised to notice a significant change to the usual vibrant heartbeat pulsating through the streets of Chiang Mai. However, what I am witnessing is many closed storefronts. There is a faint whisper of fear resulting from the lack of hope and an unpredictable outcome. There is a revised priority - to survive.
I peek into an open second-floor door and window of the shuttered shop below. My mind wanders to all the people who have lost or will lose their jobs, and a thin veil of sadness envelops me. What will become of these precarious times? Rumors of a "Lockdown" pierce through the deafening silence permeating Chiang Mai - and become a reality. Many of the unemployed return to their villages. And expats consider returning to their homeland. The uncertainty is not only overwhelming but paralyzing.
I am comfortable staying at home in Chiang Mai despite the ambiguity of the terms to the "Lockdown" and an indefinite timeline. The intensive therapy program I originally devised dwindles with each passing day due to new regulations enforced by the government to control the spread of COVID-19. Planning proves to be impossible, and I choose to live in the moment to remain calm. Occupational and physical therapy are my only constant therapies during these dubious times. The stringent safety codes enforced at the hospital are impressive and comforting.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the global economic situation has changed drastically. As for Thailand, it is with caution the government is reopening the country in phases. To keep a steady pace in regards to the opening of the businesses, we can only hope people remain conscientious and continue with many of the original protocols required during the "Lockdown." With many lives at a standstill, priorities have changed due to uncertain circumstances.
What will happen to all the people who lost their jobs and returned to their families in the villages? What are their expectations and dreams as we maneuver through new challenging times? My inquiries remain unanswered as not only Thailand, but the world remains in limbo: life is limited as I question everyone's future, including my own.