March – June, 2021

Hey folks, it’s been three months since I’ve last checked in. During these 3 months, Toronto went through an entire cycle of partial opening, subsequent lockdown, and back to partial opening. Looking back at the photos I was surprised to see that we ate out on a patio back in March, which felt like an eternity ago. 

Hiyashi Chuka (cold ramen salad)
Hiroshima-style Oknomiyaki

During this time I did a lot of home cooking. I was especially proud of the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki — not because it was tasty (it was just okay), but rather because of the multi-step assembly it required. Two pans, three flips of a growing pile of increasingly unstable ingredients, and just a lot of patience. It’s definitely too much effort to justify the reward, but I was quite happy that it looks sufficiently like the real thing.

Spring was also the time for flowers, which became one of the few things to enjoy outdoors while most indoor things are off-limits.The Laking Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton was especially nice in June, and it was nice to go outside after an especially dull winter.

Recently, restaurants in Ontario finally opened back up for patio dining, and I confess that we pounced on the opportunity immediately. Call me crazy, but food tends to taste better when it’s still warm, or when you’re not scarfing it down on the seat of a car.

I am glad to report that the wife and I got both of our vaccine shots. I did feel crummy for a span of about 15 hours after the second shot when the 5G cell signals pounded my skull, but now I am a happy member of the hivemind.

…Jokes aside, I’m glad to have gotten this dealt with. I feel fortunate to be in a country with the resources to secure and distribute vaccines with such haste. It truly feels like there is a clear path out of the quagmire of pandemic life, and that feeling is much too easy to take for granted. Whether you are concerned about the disease itself or the societal shocks it produces, much of the world will be living with all of that for some time yet.

Vaccine equity is something I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. While I don’t think it’s realistic to expect wealthier countries to distribute vaccines to other countries ahead of its own citizens, the pickiness over vaccines has got to be the epitome of first-world-privilege. The endless press about rare blood clot risks (and subsequent pause and rejection of certain vaccines) not only delayed the rollout but also fuels hesitancy around the world.

I understand that everyone wants what’s best for themselves on a personal level, and that the governments are under much pressure to make decisions with limited information. But on a macro level, the optics of rich countries cherry picking vaccines while the rest of the world waits is just deeply unpleasant. 

In non-covid related news, I got to see my wife’s niece. I usually couldn’t care less about children, but I gotta admit she’s a real cutie. She was born during a covid spike, so her parents definitely went through the wringer the first few months of her life with limited help from the family. But with a smile like that, I can’t help but to think everything will turn out just fine.

This will hopefully be the last covid diary post. My hope for the future (other than feeling the need to talk about covid) is that the vaccines offer enough base protection against the new variants that will inevitably surface. I don’t expect Covid to ever go away, but if people don’t fill the hospitals every time there’s a covid surge, that would be a fortunate outcome.

As for me, I often think of the finite nature of timing ever since my mother’s passing. I took a long weekend trip to Montreal in the beginning of July (more on that in the next post), and booked a week-long trip to Vancouver in September. I look forward to making up for lost time, which hopefully will yield more interesting photos!

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