What can we say about the past year? It’s been … a learning experience.
Before the pandemic, my family prided itself on living a bit of a ‘community lifestyle.’ We live in East Vancouver, there’s five of us (plus a dog and a cat) in 1250 square feet. We don’t have room for a lot of ‘extras’ in our house. For example, we have basic tools like screwdrivers and hammers. But if we need anything bigger, we borrow from friends or we can go somewhere like The Tool Library (website). We don’t have a yard, but that’s okay because we live 200 feet from an amazing school playground.
We try to have less at home and use more in our community. And that was working very well for us until a pandemic shut down the world and isolated us from our community. It was, and still is, really hard.
We live in a small six-unit strata. We have 13 kids, 10 and under. The kids are together all the time, either playing outside or wandering from house to house. We laugh at how many times I’ve found kids in my house when I had no idea they were there. (Sometimes my kids aren’t in my house, but my neighbours’ kids are!)
We, like the rest of the world, found ourselves at a loss as to what to do last spring. No visits with friends. No trips to the playground. No more skating lessons. Dance classes went online (nothing like Facetime ballroom lessons). Cancel all trips to Science World (right after we bought a year membership, of course). No play dates. No real dates. No eating out.
Suddenly, it was just the five of us together. All. The. Time. In our 1,250 square foot home, with no yard. No reprieve. No time away.
Suddenly, it was just the five of us together. All. The. Time. In our 1,250 square foot home, with no yard. No reprieve. No time away. (Did I mention we had also just brought our non-English-speaking 6-year-old son home from Haiti a few months before the pandemic happened? That added a whole other element to the lockdown.)
There were a lot of deep breaths, a lot of break-downs, many tears (from everyone!), too many fights to count. Those first four months were honestly terrible.
And some things still are terrible.
But they’re a little less terrible because we’re starting to get our community back. We can play on the playground again. Schools are open! The kids can go to dance and judo again. They’re wearing masks, but at least they’re going! I can go for a socially distanced walk with a friend. I can see my neighbours again, outside and in person, instead of on a screen.
Life still isn’t normal, far from it. And we don’t know when it will be normal again. But as long as we have our community, I know we’ll be okay.
Have an opinion? A story to tell? Something you’d like to get off your chest?
Amy Beeman has been working in morning radio for almost 20 years, first in her hometown of Prince George and now for 94.5 Virgin Radio with Jonny, Holly & Nira. Her interests include running half marathons, dancing in her kitchen, napping, blogging at According to Amy, and going on adventures with her twins, Lucy and Sam, and her son Stanley. Amy loves seeing the world through their eyes.