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COVID-19 Changed My World

Gabriele Apodaca

Participant (born & raised in Germany)

Intercultural Senior Center

August 7, 2020

           Just as soon as I was settling into my routine and felt like my life was going well, COVID-19 came and changed my entire world. When the coronavirus started gaining attention, I immediately started wearing a mask to protect myself from the virus and increased my thorough hand washing. During the beginning of the pandemic, things were still normal for me. I was still able to attend the fitness club I had been attending for the past 10 years and still was able to attend the Intercultural Senior Center on a weekly basis. Normalcy didn’t last long though. First, my fitness club stopped its activities and I couldn’t attend those. Then ISC called and told us that they had stopped their in-person services as well. I felt like my world was falling apart. I was already limiting my outings and avoiding gatherings of people, but now I was finding myself staying at home by myself more.

            I knew that these organizations stopping their services was for the best during the pandemic, but I was extremely saddened by the news. While the Intercultural Senior Center was closed for in-person services, they still made sure we were taken care of. Pretty quickly, they started the weekly phone calls to check in on me and the rest of the participants. They continued to offer our food pantry delivered to our home making sure neither of us were exposed to one another. The conversations we had on the phone made a difference because I was so happy to talk to someone. The ISC staff was patient with me and I did not feel rushed when chatting with them.

            After a couple of months of staying in touch on the phone, they called to inform me about new outdoor exercise classes they were starting in small groups. I decided to join and loved the feeling of normalcy that came with being around people I know. I was able to chat a little with the other participants before and after class and it helped improve my social life all while practicing social distancing. The class also helped me remember some words in Spanish that I had learned before as the exercise instructor gives the class bilingually.

            The services that ISC offers, as well as all the staff, are something special. They are things and people I am not taking for granted. ISC takes care of our mind, soul, and body. It’s all one package. I’m most grateful for the center being here and for everyone that works there. They are always cheerful.