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COVID-19 in Texas

This is a map of counties in Texas reporting cases of COVID-19.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1DIXP-RZCszCYhuDYzKQREH0z2Y2S97mm&usp=sharing

They say staying at home is one way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In this time, we’ve all found ourselves exploring new things or trying to keep some sort of schedule in our routines. I myself have come to discover that no matter how much time I have on my hands, I truly cannot find the motivation to work out as much I thought I would if I had more time. I go for four mile walks every now and then, but even that takes a bit of a push from my mom. Unlike myself, there are those who have found that working out is their best form of meditation. My friend from Harker Heights, Texas, Justin Borja is one of those people. “In this time, I’ve been focusing on my health and working out frequently by challenging myself to do what I couldn’t do before quarantine,” said Borja. “I took advantage of the time by setting meal plans and exercising to succeed my ambition through quarantine.”

On the flip side of things, others have chosen to take this time to enjoy their home and binge watch Netflix. Ariana Brown, my friend who lives in Marble Falls, Texas, shared how Netflix has become her main focus. “I have suddenly become very aware of Netflix’s top 10 and have watched shows I normally wouldn’t care about. I’ve rewatched some shows and knocked old shows that I meant to watch off my list,” said Brown. “They tend to be leaning more towards the comedic, lighthearted side rather than the drama side.”

Then there are those who have taken a plunge into exploring their passions. Tony Klepsis, a friend of mine, has been utilizing his kitchen to make delicious dishes. “I’ll admit, it’s a lot harder to stay healthy. I feel obligated to help my local places and order from them, but when I do cook, I’m trying to do things I’ve never done. I love to cook and bake so I’m always looking for something new to do,” said Klepsis. “Back in April I made biscuits from scratch for the first time and they were so good! I’m going to make them again soon!” Klepsis also admitted to breaking quarantine this past Mother’s Day, but the experience with his family was one to remember. “I went home to see my family and we made fresh pasta for the first time! It was long and time intensive, but you can’t even compare it to dried, box pasta,” concluded Tony.

Like Tony, I have been doing a bit of baking myself. I am interested in learning how to bake sweets from scratch, and I know now would be the perfect time to learn, but I still find myself baking from the box. Nonetheless, it is still a treat for my family and I and it only lasts for a few days before I’m back to baking more.

There are those who are still trying to focus on certain tasks such as school. An old college mate of mine, Katie Lepkowski, has been working on getting her master’s degree in social work. She shared how this time has been helpful in helping her focus on what she’s trying to accomplish. “I’ve been interning from home utilizing Microsoft Teams and Zoom to facilitate parenting classes and do case management reaching vulnerable clients,” shared Lepkowski. “I also have completed 16 hours of master’s level coursework switching from in person to online. On my off days I go running or FaceTime friends.”

While others are still trying to finish up school, there are some, such as Ashley Ruiz, who have finished school and are focusing on their work at hand. Ashley is a DJ at a radio station in Giddings, Texas, and has luckily kept her same schedule. “I’ve been really fortunate. I work in radio, so I’ve been able to keep working during this pandemic. In a way, I feel like I don’t completely feel the gravity of the situation because my routine has mostly remained unaffected,” said Ruiz. “If anything, I noticeably hang out with my parents at home more so than I used to.”

As for myself, quarantine has been relaxing. I have been catching up on a lot of missed sleep and have been watching much more television than I usually do. There are shows on Netflix I intend on watching, but I am also a graduate assistant, so that means there is still some work that will need to be done in this time. I have plans to travel to Virginia come July, but we’ll see if that will be pushed back once again. For now, I am staying home and only leaving when necessary. I haven’t visited my family, but I think once Father’s Day comes around, I may surprise my dad in Waco. We’ll see…

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