Delay to The Bay

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Delay to The Bay

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My plans to visit San Francisco in 2020 came to a halt with the outbreak of the Coronavirus. As a high school teacher, I was looking forward to my long awaited-spring break. It had been quite some years since my last visit to the San Francisco, and I knew a trip to ‘The Bay’ was long overdue. I booked a flight, hotel, and waited patiently as the weeks went by.

Spring was coming up and there were heavy concerns about COVID 19 spreading into North America. I was slightly concerned but figured I would be safe to make this trip. As news broke out about cases emerging in San Francisco, the nation went into hysteria. I was not skeptic about the hazard of Coronavirus, but selfishly planned to proceed with the trip. Then my father called me.

My parents, both in their seventies were definitely at risk, especially my mother who struggled with health since my childhood. My father asked me kindly not to go to San Francisco. Without hesitation, I canceled my flight and hotel. I had booked everything online through a third party and was unable to receive any refund. Bummed out, I knew it was the right thing to do.

Coronavirus spread, schools shut down and my spring break prolonged. At first I was spending time kayaking, but the weather in Phoenix got so hot I had to stay inside. The Phoenix summer of 2020 had record breaking heat with 55 consecutive days of 115 degrees plus Fahrenheit temperatures. I was miserable. With concerns of my mom’s health, social distancing, living alone and bored, I was very unhappy. The unjustifiable killing of George Floyd caused anger, and rightfully so, across the nation which contributed to more hysteria. The only positive that came from that hot summer were my experiments in the kitchen. I would then deliver tasty meals for my parents. This was the one thing that made me happy.

Unfortunately, my mother did not survive past the summer of 2020. She passed away in her sleep peacefully due to an unrelated COVID cause. I was on an all time low. Sad, empty, missing my students, and missing normal daily life. We had no idea how many people would die and when things would normalize. It was truly scary.

Fast forward to 2022 and things were much better. I figured surviving 2020 made me stronger and much happier. Vaccinated and boosted, I decided to pursue my trip to San Francisco. I made the best of this short trip. I went to a party outside the Chase Center for the NBA Finals, in which the Golden State Warriors played against the Boston Celtics. For the first time, I took a ferry to Alcatraz. In China Town, I saw locals dance with dragons, in which one bopped me in the face while I was taking photos! Caught by surprise, I did not take offense to this. Observing how the dragons behaved with mischief, I knew it was all for fun. This made me laugh. This was a much-needed trip indeed.

2020 affected everyone around the world. With global hysteria, people getting sick, people dying, racial injustice, everyone except pandemic deniers and those oblivious to political issues resonated with fear. Passing through time, my 2022 trip to San Francisco was a rebirth. A rebirth to normalization. A rebirth to my passion of exploring culture. A rebirth of sanity, and a rebirth of controlling fear. A rebirth to laughter. With dragons, noodles, basketball, and Ghirardelli, the delay to ‘The Bay’ will forever be a golden memory.

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This item was submitted on February 1, 2023 by Roberto Matiella using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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