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Cailin’s Quiet Storm: Keeping Busy

Illustration of a bird a branch during a windy day with the words

“Cai! Cai!” my mom and grandma screamed, jolting me out of my sleep last Thursday. “The governor is going to shut down the city at 3 o’clock! I need to go get some groceries, now! Like, now-now!”

I grab something to eat, change my clothes, put on my n95 mask to protect my nose and mouth, glasses to protect my eyes, and gloves to protect my hands. I get in my car and drive to Aldi. I pull into the
parking lot and my heart is racing, I tell myself, “Cailin, it’s going to be okay, just relax”. I pull into a spot and walk into the store. As I walk through the aisles, it becomes apparent that we were not the only ones who heard the city was going to close down. Aldi was swamped with people grabbing all that they could from the store’s shelves. My hands shake uncontrollably as I grab tortilla chips, salsa, fruit, and milk. What was supposed to be a quick stock up, became an hour of just waiting in line to check out.

Every night since, I toss and turn in my bed. Blankets go on and off, then on again. My heart races as I think about my loved ones and their loved ones and their loved ones. No matter how many precautionary measures we take, someone we know will, silence. My greatest fear is many of my family members have severe asthma, which makes us high risk if infected by the COVID-19 virus.

On the main floor of the house, I am greeted by my two dogs, Lola and Theo. I say “hello” to them and give them some love. I grab breakfast in the kitchen and walk over to the dining room where my mom and I have our work stations set up. The moment you walk into the room there they are, two giant eye sore TV screens sitting on our dining room table.

Mom and I are both working from home, it’s nice to be able to spend time with her, but we aren’t used to being locked in a house for 10 days straight. I say “hi” to my mom and we chat for a little while. She stresses we need to stay active, rattles off a list of things to do and shares she feels like she is going crazy having to work from home. She also mentioned she would never complain about driving into work again. “Cai, listen to me, Cai: let’s do circles.” Mom lifts up her arms and begins to make circles in the air, I laugh, roll my eyes and log into work.

As a student worker I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to work from home. I look through my emails, check in with my supervisors, and work through the list of tasks I have.

Once the work day is done around 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM, I begin to work on tasks for my extracurricular activities. I am currently the Vice President for the Latino Greek Council and the Media Relations chair for Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, INC. As Vice President, I am in charge of internal affairs within my council. I’m currently working on elections for next year. I’ve developed the nomination form and created an online ballot system so as to hold electronic elections.

Along with the madness of a city lockdown and checking in on the safety of family and friends, I still need to remember that I am a student. In order to stay on top of my school work, I’ve created a checklist in Google sheets to manage my time wisely.

It is surreal to think that just by staying home my family and I are doing our part to protect each other. While on quarantine,  I’ve had to learn how to get back to the basics in order to pass time such as playing cards, board games, yoga, cleaning, and even a virtual Netflix movie party. I find myself not only working and doing school work but also reading for leisure and painting to satisfy my artistic side. Regardless of how stressful this time appears, it really has allowed me to look within for gratification instead of out into the world. Oddly, it took having to be secured at home to appreciate how much my home has to offer; safety, shelter, and the love of my family.

Thank you.


–Cailin Benitez