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Half a World Away

I’m a junior in high school who is currently living in Hong Kong. Since February, I’ve been dependent on online school to stay safe during the outbreak. The virtual period was first introduced for a duration of two weeks, later increasing to five weeks, and now, we may not be able to go back to school for the rest of the semester. I can’t fight the feeling of being stripped away from the outside world; my only contact with my friends has been through Zoom calls and Facetime.

What I miss most is the normalcy of being at school: laughing with my friends during class, making new connections on sports teams, and being able to say last goodbyes to my senior classmates as they embark on their journey towards college. As a yearlong athlete, many of my tournaments and practices have been cancelled. Instead, they’ve been replaced with hours of staring blankly at a computer screen during classes. For me, athletics has always been an outlet that has kept me sane throughout the year— I honestly can’t remember a time that I wasn’t playing a sport. Without my regular pastime on a basketball court or a softball field I feel out of sorts and distant from my teammates.

I’ve been most worried about my family, particularly my older brother who is finishing his second semester of his freshman year in college in Virginia. My parents recently cancelled our summer plans, opting to stay in Hong Kong and leave my brother 8220 miles away. My brother has always been a close figure in my life. We share a love for sports, food, Legend of Zelda, and most importantly, binge-watching “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Over the summer, I looked forward to reconnecting with him and spending entire days watching our favorite drag queens on TV. Now that I won’t be able to see him, our annual viewing party will be online as he remains half a world away.

This quarantine period hasn’t been all bad though. For instance, I’ve been able to spend more time with my family in Hong Kong. My dad has been working from home, which means that I’ve been able to see him more often. During the week, we often enjoy playing board games and spending movie nights together. I also have a lot more time to bake - which has been a major passion of mine - and I’m able to share my recipes with my family and some of my neighbors. Although these last few months have undoubtedly been uncertain, I’ve been able to find joy in spending time with my family and chatting with friends. And whilst I may not be able to see my brother this summer, I’m reminded of how we are still connected through our love for Rupaul.


Written by: Alina Fowler

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