Love in the time of COVID-19: Lunar New Year

Published February 13, 2021, 12:17 AM

by Alex M. Eduque


Alex Eduque
Alex Eduque

Last night, we celebrated the eve of Lunar New Year at my parents. The table was decked with the traditional round fruits, mini oranges, gold coins, you name it. Though we are not Chinese, it has been something we have always gathered together for – perhaps a more valid excuse to pig out on Chinese food, other than the usual craving that needs to be satisfied. Of course because of the pandemic, as opposed to eating out at our favorite Chinese restaurant, we opted to stay home and order our favorite dishes instead. It was quite the feast if I may say so myself. But more than that, a reminder that it does not matter where we are; what counts is who we are with.

There were times we would even go to Hong Kong to celebrate, which, these days, not only seems like a lifetime ago, but a totally foreign concept with all the quarantine rules and travel restrictions involved. That is not to say we did not have one of the best and most meaningful meals – not only was it sumptuous and delicious, it reminded us of what I now refer to as the “olden days.” Just like Christmas, a tradition that we were able to carry-over despite the current situation. Much more muted than usual with a few changes here and there, but once again, the much needed reminder that everything is all about perspective and outlook. That at the end of the day, the truest of blessings cannot be seen.

I had a moment when I just had to pause to take everything in. For one, all those I cared the most about were gathered round the table – in good health, laughing, and just genuinely enjoying the company of one another. Just being in the same place these days is not only a blessing, but what I consider a luxury I will no longer take for granted. At a time when loved ones are apart and traveling is no longer as easy as it once was, being in the proximity and comfort of your loved ones is something worth celebrating in and of itself. Everything else? Is the icing on the cake.

Whatever it is the year of the ox brings about, or whatever it is our horoscope says, we must never forget that we have a hand and control over making the most out of the situation, and choosing to see the brighter side of life. Yes, the stars align for us on some days more than others, but that is not to say that the darkest of days do not yield any light – they do, if we look hard enough and make an effort to seek it. In my humble opinion, while we may look to what the stars say as our guide and roadmap of sorts, we also have the choice not to allow it to define us, or govern our every move or decision. We must always remember to be kind, and make the effort to let kindness trend over hate and pessimism. In a world where circumstance may have seemingly taken over, let us control what we can, and how we act towards others is definitely one of them.

Never forget, that long after this pandemic has passed, people will never forget how you made them feel at a time when it may have mattered most.