I’ve been really struggling with whether to post or not. Does anyone want to read more about Covid-19, that f*cking bastard of a virus?
Do you want to read about travel? Prob not.
Honestly, it feels shitty either way.
But I’ve been keeping a journal since we went into lockdown, so here it is. It’s a bit of a mental roller coaster mixed with a lot of funny memes because we could all use some humor right now.
It is emotional. It’s raw. It’s not curated writing. I don’t usually swear this much in my blog, but these times really call for it. If you are easily offended, how about reading my Kota Kinabalu itinerary instead? Because this might get fucking ugly.
A lot of this was transcribed because I was recording into my phone as my feelings came to me. Some of this is jumbled. And I left it that way on purpose. It’s how I felt. All over the place.
If I were you, I’d grab a stiff drink and keep reading.
MARCH 16TH: SWEET FREEDOM – OH, HOW I’LL MISS THEE
Today we heard that at 9 pm, the new Prime Minister of Malaysia would be having a press conference. Everyone would be home listening to it, and we can’t speak Bahasa, so it would be a perfect time for us to pop to the grocery store.
We assumed it would be the calm before the storm, and no one would be there – we’d get in and out.
HA! Not a chance. Apparently, no one cared what the PM was going to say because the place was packed. Not one frozen item left. Not one. The only pasta left was lasagna noodles and choo-choo trains, which of course, I bought. Can you say choo-choo train mac-n-cheese? I can.
People were hoarding fresh milk, more cartons of milk than could fit in two fridges! How the hell are they going to drink all that milk? Not even three generations in one home could slam enough milk to make buying that load reasonable. I’m going to assume they take milk baths – Cleopatra style – because it makes me feel better than the obvious. Which is that they are selfish pricks.
Maybe that is too harsh, and they are just scared. Or maybe not.
Last month, before the madness really took effect here, we decided to stop drinking vodka for all of March. We barely had any cases in Malaysia, and none in Penang, it still felt over there. Ignorant? Maybe. Naïve? Totally. What was I thinking? Vodka would be very comforting right now.
MARCH 17TH: PRE-LOCKDOWN LIFE
673 cases. First two deaths in Malaysia.
Thankfully, I had been picking up groceries over the last few weeks in case the panic buying started. I was freezing protein and buying cans of beans and tomatoes. Trying to be creative with things we had in the house.
Today as we woke up, we heard about the severe movement control order (MCO). Apparently, they don’t want to call it a lockdown, but they aren’t fooling anyone. Schools are closing. No traveling out for Malaysians. No traveling in for foreigners. No religious and social activities.
Only grocery stores, pharmacies, and essential services are allowed to stay open. We need to stay home and stop the spread. We are to stay home until March 31st.
Pay attention people; this is real.
It’s very distressing to find out about a Hindu festival that was held on a nearby beach last week. Supposedly 30,000 people attended.
60% of our cases in Malaysia are all from one religious event called the tabligh, which was held from Feb 28-March 1. 60%!
How could people even think about doing another event?
Why are these irresponsible people being allowed to congregate? I’m so angry. They say it was before they knew about social distancing, which may be the case, but they knew about the tabligh. They knew about how detrimental that one event was to the spread of this assclown of a virus.
How could they think it was ok to hold this event on this little island? And why did people go? Is religion more relevant than health?
In other news, I’ve worn more at athleisure-wear in the last two weeks than I have all of 2020. And I haven’t been to the gym. Ironic, isn’t it? However, I am doing a quick at-home booty work out. I’ve decided that my derrière looks like an 80-year-old man’s ass, and I can’t take it anymore.
Please don’t ask me how I know what 80-year-old-man-ass looks like, I just do.
MARCH 18TH: DAY 1 IN ISOLATION & I’M FEELING FINE
The imposed MCO doesn’t feel like a big difference in my life, we work from home anyway. I don’t feel so isolated. I’m always behind my computer.
However, it’s officially only day one. I can imagine how hard this is going to be for Mark. He is normally out hiking a few times a week. It’s his church.
When I was being good, I would go to the gym a couple of times a week. We would eat out 3-4 nights a week because it’s cheaper and easier to go out than cook at home. But now all of that has changed.
Last night we made the decision not to go home on April 1st, which lifted a massive weight off of me. We bought tickets in early December before any of this felt real. Going home had been really stressing me out, it was keeping me up at night. When I did sleep, I had nightmares about how I killed my family by spreading this shithead of a virus to them.
I really wanted to be there for our families, but I was really stressed about the logistics.
How could we go home and stay with my mom? It’s not like we could quarantine somewhere else. We have no home in the US. What if we were symptom-free carriers and spread it to her without knowing. Gramma was already on lockdown, and we couldn’t see her.
After a couple of weeks in Chicago, we would have to fly to the east coast to stay with Mark’s dad. Another possible risk – we could have spread it to his family.
MARCH 19TH: DAY 2 IN ISOLATION
I can’t believe what I’m reading every morning. Is it fiction? Is this some F’ed up joke? More deaths and more people sick. The numbers here are growing exponentially.
I’m inundated. It is coming at me from Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp. American news, Malaysian news, Chinese news. It’s coming at me from all angles, and I’m getting overwhelmed. It’s really scary.
I am really good at hiding my head in the sand. Although that wasn’t why I named this blog Sand in My Curls. Now I realize the double entendre, how very appropriate.
Anyway, with all of this news coming at me, I’m trying not to go into panic mode. But it’s not easy.
Today I decided to turn my phone off during the day, so I wouldn’t be distracted. I needed to get work done and, more importantly, not focus on the horrors of our new reality. It worked; I got a lot done and will continue to do that. Even after this lockdown subsides.
Every day I get different updates. Today I learned that it can exist in the air, just floating around. If someone sneezes nearby, it floats in the air for a while and can get on me. The problem is, we don’t know the full extent of how this dickweed of a virus is spread. There is so much false info out there, it is hard to know what to believe. Whether it is true or not, it is scary.
The reports scare me enough to prevent me from eating take away.
Food stalls aren’t known for their cleanliness. It’s not like any of the food courts or stalls have hot water to wash dishes. Half the time, they wash dishes in a bucket on the side of the road. Most of the times it’s just soap and water…well, I assume there’s soap.
Amazingly I’ve never gotten sick from food here, and we’ve eaten all the stuff from blood in our soup to duck tongue – which I can tell you isn’t worth it.
Sorry, I’m rambling.
I can’t worry about helping everyone else, I have to put myself first, and it feels really selfish and uncomfortable. I don’t think I’m a selfish person, but right now, I am so scared that I feel like it’s ok to be selfish. I understand why they tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before putting it on others on a plane.
It’s not selfishness, it’s survival.
MARCH 20TH: DAY 3 IN ISOLATION
1030 cases, 32 in Penang.
People aren’t taking the MCO seriously. Time to bring in the big guns. They are putting up roadblocks and bringing in the military to help control the situation. If you are out and about, you will be arrested and fined. I’m totally cool with that.
Malaysia, I applaud you for getting serious quickly before the whole country goes down in quicksand.
Maybe this will scare some people into following orders to #staythefuckhome. Even the front liners are trying to remind people to follow the rules.
The MCO now states no outdoor exercising. No hiking or beach walks. They say it really isn’t a “lockdown,” but if we can’t leave our home except to go to the grocery or pharmacy, what is it?
Today’s update: Malaysia is the 4th country in Asia behind China, Iran, and S. Korea with the most cases. That really scares me since we know how horribly those countries have been affected. Are we next? I hope that we aren’t going to be that severe, but I am fearful and not very hopeful.
Every night I go to sleep hoping to wake up to better news. It never comes.
Then I spend 2 hours reading up on the latest news. It’s overwhelming my days and stopping me from being productive. I need to keep my phone off.
Feel likes every morning I wake up on the precipice. Like I’m sitting on the edge of the world, and the slightest breeze, just a whisper of wind, could throw me off to my death. (Reading that back it seems really dramatic, but that’s how I felt on March 20th).
Let’s Lighten Up a Bit… Shall We?
People are starting to send funny memes and pictures. Trying to find a little lightness in the madness. We are all scared but doing our best to stay calm. Trying to find the good in the horrific.
FULL DISCLOSURE: This gets gross.
SPOILER ALERT: A lot of vitamin C gives me the shits.
We were told that taking at least five times the amount of vitamin C per day could ward off this douchebag of a virus. At first, I was worried about taking that much. I did a bit of research and found out that my body would expel whatever it didn’t need. I assumed that meant I would pee it out, just not through my butt.
Learned that the hard way. Thank goodness we have plenty of toilet paper (sorry friends in Australia and the US).
MARCH 21ST: DAY 4 UNDER HOUSE ARREST
1183 cases, 50 in Penang. 8 deaths in Malaysia.
We are stocked up on all the basics for 10 days to two weeks. I even got vodka. Ya know, preparing for the future… or tomorrow.
Actually one of the reasons we bought vodka, despite our temporary ban, was to support our buddy. He runs a small restaurant and sells liquor as well. Without people eating out for every meal (as they usually do here), businesses like his are in danger of shuttering.
All the mom and pop shops, food stalls, and cafes are struggling to find a foothold. How will they live if they can’t work? We feel a sense of responsibility for the little shopkeepers, as well as to our cleaning lady.
Today we paid our cleaning lady for a week, even though she isn’t coming. She gets RM80 (US$19) for 4 hours and relies on us (and vice versa), so we wanted to help her out. Just like the noodle lady, and our fruit stand man, and our booze dude. We are part of this community and have made this little village our home.
Without all of our support, what happens to them?
MARCH 22ND: DAY 5 IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT
1306 cases, 58 in Penang. First death in Penang.
I feel like I’m settling into the new normal.
Penang’s cases practically doubled overnight, and one person has died here. I hope that will stop people from being lackadaisical about this pisswizzard of virus.
Wet markets and grocery stores are lining people up a meter apart. They are letting one person enter as one exits. Taking everyone’s temperatures before they walk in.
Only one person from each family is allowed out of the house at a time. If we need groceries, only one person is allowed to go. Glad the rules are getting stricter.
I talked to a friend in S. Korea, she said our lockdown is more severe than hers. And I’m thankful for that. I wonder if it is so strict to combat all the assholes that refuse to comply. A lot of old biddies are gathering at the wet market food stalls and ignoring the shopkeeper when he shoos them away. We’ll see what the government comes up with now.
I’m afraid for Penang and think we are in for a massive jump in numbers because of all these religious events that people still went to as of last week.
MARCH 23RD: DAY 6 OF LOCKDOWN
1518 cases, 58 in Penang. 14 deaths in Malaysia.
Mark went out for the first time since Tuesday, and I was so worried. I made him wear a mask and lectured him like a child before he left. While he was there, I was a whirling dervish of nerves. This is why I shouldn’t be a mom, I’d be a neurotic mess.
I’m angry. How in late March are people not grasping the gravity of this? How can people fly into America and not be quarantined? Surely, they should be testing people at the airport before they let them loose to ride public transportation to get home.
At the very least, people need to be wearing masks over there, but they aren’t. If you are a carrier without symptoms, wearing a mask could save someone else’s life. Stop being a selfish fuckstick!
Still No Booze
It’s March 23rd, and we’ve had zero vodka. We’ve barely had any wine, maybe a glass a day. I can’t remember the last time we didn’t finish a bottle of wine in a night, or if I’m honest, in an hour. Now we have a bottle for 2-3 days. We’ll see how long that lasts.
Yes, I am proud of myself for not drinking hard liquor, especially because this would be the perfect excuse to drown my sorrows and quell my fears. But I haven’t really even felt like it up until now.
Apparently, I am pretty strong when I put my mind to something. I should remember that when I am freaking out about goal setting instead of trying to hide under the bed like a dog in a thunderstorm. Imagine the power I have over myself if I just used it correctly.
See what isolation and no booze does… I’m going deep, my friends. Or maybe crazy.
MARCH 24TH: DAY 7 THIS JAILHOUSE AIN’T ROCKIN
1624 cases, 68 in Penang.
I feel a lot like drinking. And like drinking a lot.
I’m finding myself getting really mad. People are denying their connections to the tabligh. They go in for treatment and don’t mention they have links to someone with this assclown of a virus. Now the doctors are getting sick.
A hospital in Kedah had to shut down for disinfection. A woman had a baby there and didn’t tell anyone that her father had it. She put all the medical staff in the hospital at risk and everyone else around her. If people get sick because of her, I say off with her head. Too extreme? Maybe. Maybe not.
People are being socially irresponsible. And I want all the disobeyers to be shut in on Survivor Island, never to be voted off. It’s only fair. Why should I get it because some cockwaffle can’t #staythefuckhome?
One Big Step for Womankind
Ok big step people… I left my safety bubble today.
I went to the little fresh store wearing a mask and trying to social distance the best I could. Not so easy inside a small store full of shoppers.
I needed fresh veggies and had to go inside the walk-in fridge. Normally that is fine, but someone walked in with me. At first, I didn’t think about it, three people inside a walk-in refrigerator, no biggie, right? But then I realized what I was doing and panicked. Cold temps, other people, close-quarters, three strikes. GET OUT NOW!
How do you not panic when you have to go outside? I prefer my bubble. It’s less complicated in there.
MARCH 25TH: DAY 8 IN CAPTIVITY
1796 cases, 68 in Penang.
I wonder if I’m going through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
If so, I’m passed denial and stuck in anger.
I’m so mad and bewildered that the whole thing is being politicized. We all need to band together, not against one another. I’m ashamed to be human when I read about Asians being beaten up because of this muthafucker of a virus. Or that governments are still fighting each other when it’s the last thing the people need. We need a unified message, not more reasons to fight.
Oh yeah, we just found out they are adding 2 more weeks to lockdown. So, it will be a month in total – until they extend it again. I’m not surprised but feel like we need to assess our food situation. Maybe turn on the second fridge and start stocking up more.
I’ve never felt more like a doomsday prepper.
MARCH 26TH: LOONY BIN LOCKDOWN DAY 9
I wonder if I’m going to get numb from all of this. Maybe there are six stages of grief.
I feel like this whole thing is out of a sci-fi novel, oh wait it is. Dean R. Koontz wrote about it in 1981. Where is he these days? Has anyone seen an interview with him?
On a totally separate note, my house has not been this filthy in six years. I so wish I was one of those people who cleaned when nervous or stressed. I’ve begrudgingly mopped twice this week, but it doesn’t seem to be clean. How is that possible? Am I mopping incorrectly?
I’m not cut out for this. God, I miss my cleaning lady.
MARCH 27TH: DAY 10 INSIDE MY HOME HOOSEGOW
2161 cases, 80 in Penang.
Today I watched a video from a doctor in Michigan who went over how to grocery shop correctly without bringing home that dickweasel of a virus.
It feels like nothing is safe.
I thought my bubble was innocuous until I watched this. Now I worry that everything I have ever touched is riddled with that twat of a virus. And therefore, my home bubble has been infiltrated.
Remembering back to when I went to the little store. I was handed a basket, who knows when, if ever, that was cleaned. When was the last time you sterilized your car door, keys, steering wheel, and shopping bags? It’s a snowball effect of epic proportions.
When you think that EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH needs to be sterilized, that is a colossal task.
It’s a rabbit hole that I don’t want to go down. But I feel like there is no choice.
MARCH 28TH: Day 11 IN MY VERY LOVELY PADDED CELL
2320 cases, 86 in Penang. 53% are all attributed to the tabligh.
Today I dove headfirst into the rabbit hole. But friends, I didn’t stop at the hole. I went deep inside the warren.
I went back to the store today to stock up because I couldn’t get that much the other day. I didn’t go into the walk-in fridge today, so I’d consider my outing a success.
I followed the directions on the video I saw yesterday. I dropped the bags off outside the front gate of our condo and wiped down every.single.item before bringing them in.
So, there I sat, on the floor, wearing a mask, cleaning off my bag of mushrooms with an antibacterial spray. And my wine, all 9 bottles of it. We are finishing bottles these days. But still no vodka.
MARCH 29TH: I MIGHT BE LOSING IT ON DAY 12
2470 cases, 87 in Penang. 35 deaths in Malaysia.
I miss you.
Your long lost pal,
Also, I’m vacillating between numbness and disbelief. This fucknugget of a virus is getting closer and closer to us. Until now, all the cases in Penang have been on the southern end of the island. But today, there is a confirmed case in Batu Ferringhi (20 minutes from me) and another in a condo 10 minutes away. A place where a lot of my friends live.
Up until today, I still felt like it was over there. But now it’s here, and I’m scared.
MARCH 30TH: INCARCERATION DAY 13
2626 cases, 88 in Penang.
Today I worked out in our bedroom while wearing a backpack full of canned beans. If you don’t adapt, you don’t grow, right. I can’t keep sitting on my ass while wishing for a nice one. I’ve been hoping for a six-pack for years, let me tell you, wishing doesn’t work.
So I strapped some canned tomatoes to my ankles and did some donkey kicks and wore a backpack full of canned beans while doing squats and lunges.
Here is my booty workout. What are you doing? I need help.
We start the second phase of lockdown on April 1st. Looks like 8 pm curfew will actually be enforced.
Not sure if I’m just getting used to this (acceptance phase), but I turned off my phone today and only turned it on a few times throughout the day. No social media. No news. And ya know what, I got a lot done.
Not as much as I would have liked because I spent 2 hours on with Chase trying to figure out our plane ticket refund. Which didn’t happen.
I feel like I’ve surrendered to this new normal. I’ve figured out how to live while in restraints.
But I feel decidedly more in control of my day and far less panicked… until something changes.
MARCH 31ST: LOCKED UP ABROAD DAY 14
2766 cases, 94 in Penang. 43 deaths in Malaysia (still only one in Penang).
I’m accepting that our MCO (not lockdown) will continue for the next two weeks. I presume it will extend far beyond that and just pray for everyone I know and love to keep healthy.
At the moment, I’m pretty happy not to be in America, but I’m equally as scared for our families and our other home.
I’m also glad that I won’t have to write about this anymore. Checking stats and reading the news multiple times a day is detrimental to my health. I’d like to create some sort of normalcy, which means keeping my curls in the sand. Right where they should be.
I’ll toast to that realization with a big fat homemade martini.
Gotta run, my liquid lover is waiting.
PS: Tell me in the comments how you are handling the lockdown?