Speckles of light in a pandemic

When I’m living in San Diego, my mom and I talk on the phone practically every day, so I wasn’t surprised when I saw a call from her come in at 9pm on a Wednesday night.

“Did you see the picture?” was the first thing she said when I picked up. I raised my eyebrows in mild concern at my housemate, who was seated cross-legged on my bed (we had been studying for our respective upcoming exams). Then, I put my mom on speaker and opened our text conversation to be met with this:

Meet Milo, a gorgeous yellow lab puppy that needed a new home. A friend of a friend adopted him but their circumstances changed, and through a whirl of WhatsApp messages, he found his way to my mom’s inbox.

“So we’re getting the dog, right?” My face hurt from smiling. We had lost our first dog R2 to cancer back in June, a little over three months into the pandemic. My mom, sister, and I had decided we wouldn’t think about finding a new dog until I was back in the Bay Area, and we knew wanted to adopt from a shelter. But we missed R2 every day since he passed—he was such a calming presence in our home—and this yellow lab puppy seemed to have fallen right into our laps.

Our phone call ended with her resolving to call his first owner to figure out next steps. A few minutes later, she rang me back to tell me that she and my sister were going to meet him the next afternoon.

Long story short, Milo came home with them just four days later.

This pandemic (as it has for everyone) has weighed heavily on me in the way it’s changed my school, work, and life from what I was used to. However, I’m privileged to be safe and healthy, and I’m trying to focus on resting for myself so I can support the people around me—and in doing so, I’ve been telling myself to intentionally seek out speckles of light every day. From the photos of Milo sleeping under my mom’s feet as she works to my sister’s excited texts about introducing him to our neighborhood streets, it’s been pretty easy to do so lately.

Some other speckles of light that have floated around recently:

  • I presented my summer project at my first-ever conference (and was recognized, which is cool)
  • I put up some new floating shelves in my room that now hold my tiniest plants
  • My housemates and I have successfully nailed down our Trader Joe’s grocery shopping routine (with all three of us sharing a singular cart… we’ve become scarily efficient)
  • I get to present my project at another research conference early next year—stay tuned!

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