Pandemic Albums: Back to normal?

Claire Bai, A&E Editor

Two years into the pandemic, it feels like it’s been like this forever. When I see people without masks on, even in movies or pictures, I feel uneasy. “Put your mask on!” I want to shout. No one wants to see your nose. Life before COVID is a haze. 

By now, we’ve all read the phrase “in these unprecedented times” way too many times. We get it. We’re all living in this COVID-y world, and quite frankly, I’m over it. 

Everyone is waiting for things to “go back to normal,” but I’m not sure if “normal” exists anymore. I am constantly amazed by the resilience of humanity. We have had to repeatedly adapt to these new conditions. These few years have been a huge turning point in the world, and I don’t think we are ever going to return to how things were pre-COVID.

Two years ago, Zoom and Canvas achieved total dominance over our school lives. Why did taking photos of your homework and submitting it on Canvas become a thing? I miss the times of turning things in on paper, but I think all of these changes are here to stay. So much has migrated online, some permanent and some temporary, as the pandemic forced us to reconsider the way we do things.

In this even more online world, nature became our reprieve. My parents turned to hiking. During quarantine, we accomplished my dad’s goal of hiking all 48 4000-footer mountains in New Hampshire. While it felt torturous to hike up peaks like Mt. Washington and Mt. Monroe, the breathtaking views made up for it. In the summer of 2021, we were able to take a COVID-safe trip to Iceland, where we hiked to waterfalls, saw numerous sheep and enjoyed the fresh air.

To cope with the boredom with only my family for company, I began baking, which was always something I enjoyed, but I never had the time for it. Quarantine afforded me the time to bake whenever and whatever I wanted to. I baked countless loaves of focaccia, numerous batches of cookies and cakes. It’s the perfect way to get your mind off the state of the world and all the stress that’s piled onto you. 

Things have somewhat returned to normal, but our world is not going to go back to the way it was before. That’s a good thing, probably. It’s change, and humanity is used to change. We have all adapted to this new way of life—for children, especially, this is the world they have always known. The pandemic has been ongoing for over two years, and this is simply our normal now.