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Like millions of people around the world trying to prevent catching (or spreading) a deadly virus, we stayed at home and began “socially distancing.” Truth be told, I don’t like the phrase “socially distanced,” because we were anything but. More accurately, we were “physically distanced” but remained quite social — albeit online.
There were many disappointments this year — some more profound than others, such as not being able to be with my mother as she died in her nursing home — though, being the resourceful human beings we are, we pivoted and made the best of a terrible situation.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF BIRTHDAY
2020 was the year I turned 50, and while our plans for a large party were thwarted, I’m so grateful we had some celebrations before lock-down.
- I had already organized a “girls’ dinner” at Millennium on March 6th.
2. On March 7th and 8th (my actual birthday), David and I drove up to Sonoma county to spend a couple days with old friends.
3. On March 10th, I enjoyed a fabulous dinner with a couple girlfriends at Wildseed, one of San Francisco’s newest and loveliest restaurants.
That was the last dinner I had in a restaurant.
While our lofty plans for a catered lunch for 30 friends in Jack London State Park were canceled, we shifted to a brief online gathering — which of course was capped by everyone’s animals making an appearance.
And that was the beginning of Zoom dinners, drinks, and happy hours — for which I am very grateful. I know many people were Zoom-fatigued because their jobs require them to be engaged and online for meetings and check-ins, but I’m just grateful there have been so many ways for us to stay connected. While virtual calls are far from ideal, they have been life-savers.
- When we scheduled Zoom dinners with friends near and far, sometimes we made an effort to make or order in the same recipes / dishes — just to trick ourselves into feeling like we were at the same table.
- For some dinners, first we enjoyed pre-dinner drinks in one room, then moved to the dining room table for dinner. It just broke things up a bit and made it feel more legit.
- HAPPY HOURS: We have a very social neighborhood and used to enjoy outdoor happy hours on a monthly (sometimes bi-weekly) basis. While 2020 quashed the in-person socials, I started hosting weekly online happy hours, including for 4th of July. (Once the weather was beautiful and it was clear we could meet masked and distanced, these slowed down.)
- SCOTCH CLUB: Our neighborhood Scotch club was supposed to meet the weekend of March 17th, but that was the same weekend California went into lock-down, so we moved it online. It wasn’t the same as sharing our favorite bottles of Scotch with each other, but we still shared stories. Several months later, I hosted another virtual Scotch club and dropped off chocolate truffles to all the attendees so we at least ate the same treats together while we drank.
- WINE TASTING: While drinking together on Zoom was a fairly easy way to connect, on one occasion — to make things a little more special and also to support one of our favorite sustainable wineries — we surprised some friends by having wine delivered to their homes and arranging for a wine tasting with the winery itself.
THE JOY OF VIRTUAL CONNECTIONS!
- We connected with friends from high school we haven’t seen in years and have other meet-ups scheduled. With all of our 2020 travel plans (that got postponed), we had no plans to see these friends at all. The pandemic inspired us to connect.
- We even attended a Zoom wedding, which had hundreds of people from around the world. It was actually quite beautiful and moving.
- We had holiday parties to cap off the year and made it cozy and pretty with Christmas decorations and a glowing fireplace.
- And of course, we loved seeing our friends’ animals, most of whom made appearances. (I have also had weekly meetings with a wildlife rescue group —the best of which include appearances of the rescued animals!)
While there is hope that things will get better in 2021, we expect to have many more Zoom dinners. When I think of the alternative, I’m grateful for this digital option.
Hi! I’m Colleen.
Hello, and welcome. I’m Colleen, aka The Joyful Vegan, and I’m here to give you the tools and resources you need to eat, cook, travel, and live compassionately and healthfully.
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