In the time of COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed many people’s life. We cannot go to office, cannot go to restaurants or meet friends… It is also the time to change how we live. Here are 5 ways of adapting to change in the time of COVID-19.

1. When the gym is closed in COVID-19

I always had the scary thoughts, what could I do if the gym is closed. Gym is one of things that I cannot live without. In the gym, I jog on treadmill, take cycling class, take Zumba class, play racquet ball, and swim.

At march, the gym sent an email saying that they were closed. I had been expecting this to happen, but was still shocked that it actually happened.

The first thing I did was to order a bike. I searched online for a bike with a reasonable price. I found one in Walmart’s website. I made the order on Sunday. They delivered on Friday. I remembered it was a rainy day. The delivery lady rang the bell and left. I opened the door, and saw the package of the bike on my front porch.  A big “Thank you!” to the lady from the bottom of my heart!


I setup the bike to face the TV, so I can watch TV while riding the bike. In this way the time would pass quickly.

I watched a lot documentaries in this way. One of them was “Dirty money”. During the whole time, my heart was sinking. I could not believe the bankers, the businessmen, the law makers would go extra miles and shamelessly steal regular people hard-earned money.

One of episode is called “Guardians, Inc.” Near the end, the old man, whose properties were taken by the evil-minded lawyers and law enforcement officers,  said sadly  “This is America… ”, “I cannot believe how America became like this…” Tears rolled out of my eyes immediately.

I believe he spoked for a lot of people,  who came to this country with great expectation. Things had became ugly in recently years …

Let me talk about some shows that are uplifting!  I always like to watch travel program, especially there is food involved. I used to watch Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts unknown”. The shows opened my eyes to the places that I knew a little about. Recently I watched “Street Food”, in which I got to know women I regarded as my heroines.   

Those women grew and lived in a very cruel environment. The living conditions were brutal,  the work was arduous. But they uphold to the land and survived. No everybody was born equal, and not everybody was treated fairly.  I used to say to myself “you are not the lucky one”. After watching that, I say to myself “shut up, look at them, you are the lucky one ”.

Before the gym was closed, I used to take spinning class twice a week. Now I exercise on bike eight times a week, thanks to those TV shows!

2. When the restaurants are closed in COVID-19

I love food. I especially love Italian food. When I lived in the west side of LA, I used to go to an Italian restaurant, called “Louis’s ” every weekend. I loved the atmosphere there. The paintings on the wall brought me a sense of gracefulness and joy.

louis painting

Above all, I like the garlic bread there. it is hand-made, I can see the marks of finger pressure on the bread. The bread is served with the black sesame oil and olive oil. I always had 3-4 pieces as appetizer, probably another 3-4  as dessert.

louis garlic bread

I also like their seafood cioppino. it is combination of  shrimp, mussel, fish, cooked with tomatoes. When I ordered, I asked them to take out the noodles, so that I had room for bread.   

Since COVID-19, many restaurants were forced to close. Even they were allowed to open, people could not have meal inside. The only place to get the food is grocery store. After a month of quarantine at home,  I had this craving for garlic bread. And it didn’t go away for days. I didn’t know how to cook. I had to come with some “creative” solution…

Before the grocery shopping, I normally wrote down the shopping list. I added the “garlic bread” in my shopping list. When I was in the store, I stopped at frozen section. I scanned rows by rows to look for the bread. I discovered they did have garlic bread. I picked one box.

When I got home, I put couple of pieces in the microwave. Minutes later, the wonderful smell filled the kitchen. When I took a big bit, the familiar garlic taste kicked in. It  was not exact the same as what I had in “Louis’s”, but I felt content and happy. The craving was cured.

The grocery store has become  happy place for me, and probably the only place I go now. I discover many other things that I didn’t “see” before. I have found my favorite “French rolls”, favorite “cake”, favorite “spicy source” etc. I think I will be fine even the restaurants are not allowed for dine-in for another 6 months.

3. When you have free time on your hands

When we were busy, we always said we wish to have time to take a break, sleep or go somewhere  far away. COVID-19 gives us free time generously. I believe this is a gift, I can use the time to pick up my French again.   

Three years ago, I started to study Spanish, because I wanted to live in Spain for a while. There were many greatest artist coming from Spain, such as Picado, Dali and Miro. Miro is my favorite. His painting has no logical and playful. They speak to me somehow. I thought Spain must be a special place,  and maybe I could get some inspirations if I live there.

Finally two years ago in 2018, I got the opportunity to visit Spain. I did a web APIs project for a tech startup there. Most time I explored the places. I visited many art museums and tried different food. I enjoyed walking in their narrow, stone paved streets. The shadow from the houses keep me cool in the hot summer, the tower with clock appeared then disappeared in every block.

Gradually I discovered the dark side. I didn’t feel I was welcomed in the restaurants, in Barcelona, in Malaga. The waiters passed by in front of me, I was transparent to them. They were nice to other English-specking customers, but not me. After this happened a few times, I realized my face didn’t look like an American to them. I left Spain after two months’ stay.  

On a side note, what happens in US (eg George Floyd’s death) is much worse version of the same situation. It is sad to see racial discrimination became public and acceptable under the current US government.

After I came back to LA, I started to study French. However I was too busy to keep it up last year. This year COVID-19 came to mess up everything, it is perfect time to pick up again.

When I get up in the morning, I spend an hour to study French. Spanish and French share similarities. But French pronunciation is more difficult because of the liaison sound. Two words put together sound very different from saying  individual word separately.

study french liaison

Speaking in “French way” seems crucial for other people to understand. So I  look up every word and sentence in the “translate” (app) and repeat after their sounds. The approach prolongs the learning time, but I think it’s worth it.

This is my story of how to use the time during COVID-19. You probably can pick something else that interests you, painting, house DIY, or study computer programming. It is your gain. 

4. When the business is closed at physical location in COVID-19

Since March, many stores have been closed. Some are closed permanently. The one that survives is the one that do business online. Looking at Amazon, Walmart, their businesses are better than ever. If you are a restaurant owner, and be able to let people order online and deliver, you have better chance to survive than those who depend on dine-in.

online menu

Build a website for the business is a must today. No matter it is a restaurant,  a store, a school or services, you need to build website.

I had website, but I was working on and off for a while. The pandemic woke me up. I realized I better be serious doing it. Early this year, I found my site was extremely slow. I decided to move the site to another web hosting company. I spent more than a month to tune the performance. More details can be found here. Since then my website’s speed score had doubled.

Meanwhile I’m trying to add fresh content. What happened before, I  was always in a hurry to finish. The  posts were short. Now I am willing to dig in, write a long, in depth post. I use “search console” to find the pages that had less traffic, and write new content to replace them.

source code

Nowadays building website is far easier than before. It doesn’t matter you are a tech person or not. The first option is to hire somebody do it for you. For example, you can go to “Upwork” to find the freelancers who build website. The second way, you can build by yourself. There are platforms such as wix, and WordPress, which make it possible to build website by simple clicks. You don’t need to know any programming.  The last option is to learn to code so that you have more control. If you are interested in coding, there are plenty of free online course or videos. You will learn to program as a pro.

It is the trend that you will have to do business online or remotely. Adapting to change early is the only way to avoid closing business for good!

5. When bad news pop up on TV every day

COVID-19 has been with us for 6 months. The United States of America is seeing one of its darkest time, pandemic, riots in the street, bad justice, bad leadership in the White House. I live in California. California is experiencing the worst wildfire in the history. I haven’t seen blue sky for a week. And it seems the wildfires are not going to stop anytime soon.  

I remember the quotes from the movie Stripes – “We’re all very different people… we’re Americans. With a capital “A”, huh? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world…”

I want add this – we are resilient. USA is the only place we can stay, and we have to make it better. For the first time in my life, I registered to vote.


6. Conclusion

COVID-19 brings burden and harshness to many people in US. But there is silver lining, if we can see the positive sides and adapt. Here are my 5 ways of adapting to change in the time of COVID-19:

  1. Exercises at home
  2. Cook at home
  3. Study foreign languages
  4. Build website
  5. Vote!   

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