Despite being physically apart from my friends, we still managed to show our affection in different ways.
If COVID-19 taught me anything, it was how different people went out of their ways to show they cared through this quarantine season.
When news of the circuit breaker first broke, I went ballistic. The mere thought of being cooped up in my house 24/7, unable to hang out with my friends, was something I never desired.
However, the inevitable came and I was forced to stay home for the safety of my health and others. Weeks of having to communicate everything online turned into months. Waking up, having online school or work, and only eating at home, all merged into one mundane routine.
Because I had to stay apart from my friends for long periods of time, it gave me time to notice and realise how different friends would try to keep in touch.
My friends who valued quality time would often ask if I was free to call and catch up with them. When the calls came around, we would talk and laugh for hours, often playing online games such as skribbl.io together.
Skribbl.io is an online game where players have to guess what others are drawing, with limited hints.
PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM SKRIBBL.IO
Spending time playing games with friends online felt much more refreshing than browsing the Internet alone. It was definitely a great alternative to meeting up as we could still bond and have fun together online, instead of having fun alone.
As for those who were big on giving gifts, I would occasionally receive food delivered by them to my house. It was a pleasant surprise when I opened my door to delivery men sending drinks, cupcakes and churros that I did not order.
A close friend of mine delivered cupcakes and cookies to my place in celebration of the start of circuit breaker phase 2.
PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/SHANNON
Since everyone had to resort to online means of communication, it was also easier for my friends to express their words of affirmation.
If I was struggling to deal with group projects online, my friends never failed to send me messages of encouragement. Seeing their text messages sending over some positivity made each dreary day a little brighter, knowing that I had friends to lean on who were just a text away.
Texts asking about my mental well-being showed that they cared.
PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM WHATSAPP
While physical touch and acts of service were definitely harder to show online, it was something my family did not lack.
My mom would hug me at random points of the day, despite my grumbles. She would also try to help out and give me ideas for my assignments.
Whenever I was overwhelmed with work, my dad would cook meals I liked and bring them to my desk. He also enjoyed ruffling my hair when he saw me working hard.
As for my grandma who lived with us, she frequently offered me plates of sliced fresh fruits even though I hadn't asked for any.
Offering sliced fruits is a common form of endearment in Asian households.
PHOTO CREDIT: KAROLINA GRABOWSKA ON PEXELS
She would also wordlessly take my dishes when I was done eating, and help me to wash them. Despite her insistence that she only does so as she doesn't trust me to wash dishes clean, I know my grandma truly means well.
Everyone shows love in different ways. Just because there are more physical limitations does not mean that we cannot show we care.
After experiencing how all my friends kept in contact with me in various ways despite the distance apart, it made the whole situation much more bearable. Every little action showed their concern and that they were thinking about me.
In return, I would try to give back to my friends the way they cared for me. I delivered food to those who I knew skipped meals due to stress or lack of time, and would often hit up my friends, asking them how they have been.
As a close friend had to celebrate her birthday at home due to COVID-19, a group of friends and I sent cake and drinks to her house and held a virtual birthday party.
PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/SHANNON
I also grew to be more tolerable of my parent's physical affections and constant questions about what I was doing, as I knew that they treasured the rare moments where we were all together as a family.
Not only does receiving love feel good, giving back feels almost better.
With COVID-19 dulling everyone's spirits, we should make the most of this opportunity to spread love to those we care about and remind them that we are all in this together.
BANNER AND TEASER PHOTO CREDIT: EDWARD JENNER ON PEXELS
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