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Practicing Peace Over Panic While Living Abroad Under COVID-19 Quarantine
by Juanita Ingram
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March 24, 2020

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Practicing Peace Over Panic While Living Abroad Under COVID-19 Quarantine

Juanita Ingram and family (Photo courtesy of Juanita Ingram)
Juanita Ingram and family (Photo courtesy of Juanita Ingram)

I am originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and my husband of more than 15 years is from Oakman, Alabama, and together we have two beautiful children. As a family, we moved to Taiwan in August 2019 in support of my husband’s job promotion. It was a huge transition, but it is also our second international experience as we lived in London for a little over four years. Although Taiwan proved to be beautiful, it was definitely a more significant adjustment.

Shortly after the Chinese New Year, at the end of January, we were informed schools were closing, and we were entering into a full self-quarantine. It lasted just under 30 days, and during this time, we were worried, concerned, stressed, and fearful of the unknown in the time ahead. As I learned more about the virus, I became particularly concerned because my son and I both have asthma. COVID-19 is a severe respiratory virus, and the fatalities were much higher for many of those with asthma who contracted the disease. Because of this, we were frightened.

As a family, instead of staying stuck in the flood of anxiety and negative emotions, we chose to view it as a staycation.  

Juanita Ingram (Photo courtesy of Juanita Ingram)
Juanita Ingram (Photo courtesy of Juanita Ingram)

We live downtown, so we are used to everything being extremely vibrant, but at that moment, it seemed like a ghost town after the apocalypse. The first time I wore a mask, I experienced a panic attack because, for me, I felt it was difficult to breathe. But honestly, I was just overwhelmed by the situation. As a family, instead of staying stuck in the flood of anxiety and negative emotions, we chose to view it as a staycation. 

We spent quality time playing games, working on special projects, and organizing our rooms. I even learned how to make TikTok videos with my daughter and how to play Fortnite with my son! They also indulged me by playing Black history trivia games. After all, it was Black History Month, anyway!

Related: Teaching Tools to Help You Homeschool Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

At times when it became too much, we stepped on the balcony to exercise and stretch. This space also became a meditation area. My day-to-day consisted of doing one act of self-care such as a facial, sipping my favorite cup of tea, or journaling. I allowed my children to use technology to stay in contact with their friends. As a result, there were definitely lots of virtual sleepovers using both Skype and FaceTime.

Most importantly, we took the time to sincerely ask God what He wanted us to take away from this experience. My family and I learned the incredible value that nothing in this world matters more than your family and your health. This is what it truly means to be wealthy and blessed.To those currently going through a self-quarantine in the United States and beyond, cling to one another. Focus more on what we are saving, rather than what we are sacrificing. 

We learned the incredible value that nothing in this world matters more than your family and your health. This is what it truly means to be wealthy and blessed.  

Juanita Ingram and family (Photo courtesy of Juanita Ingram)
Juanita Ingram and family (Photo courtesy of Juanita Ingram)

In my experience, by complying with the important government-enforced rulings, social distancing, and using proper hygiene, it all really worked! While we are forgoing what is on the outside of our homes for a certain period, let’s keep in mind, what remains inside of our homes is the most important — quality time with our loved ones and sustaining our long-term health. I know it’s hard, but I urge everyone to take the necessary precautions to do what is in the best interest of society as a whole and refrain from thinking about yourself and your own desires. The Taiwan government has been praised all over the world for its quick, effective, aggressive, and transparent approach to dealing with the coronavirus disease. 

Related: How to Revamp Date Nights in Wake of Coronavirus Social Distancing

The country took the required measures to ensure that we all had access to masks and implemented a host of proven effective actions. These are turbulent times, and as we enter our second school shut-down and quarantine in Taiwan, we remain hopeful, optimistic, and steadfast, adjusting to this new normal once again. Due to the inflow of travelers from the United States and Europe, Taiwan’s early response reiteratively and use of social distancing, along with other provisions, has been reassuring to me. As of March 22, 2020, with 169 cases and two deaths, it is lower in comparison to other countries.

We are ALL global citizens, and the choices we make have a massive impact on everyone around the world. I’m sending strength and good vibes to each person to stay encouraged, partake in the virtual happenings, and remember we are in this together. I am confident that we can and will come out of this stronger than before. Keep in mind, observing the given guidelines is essential to the betterment of every single one of us.

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