Sitting, Waiting, Wishing*, Post 2: A 4th-grader's Journal in Quarantine--Lila Kia-Keating, 4-22-2020

Thursday, April 23, 2020
Lila Kia-Keating

Lila with her pom-poms, bubbles, and leis ready for a school parade to start

Education and Applied Psychology in a Time of COVID-19

*(note the title of this entry was inspired by the song title by Jack Johnson, UCSB alum)

Hi, it’s me, Lila! This week, all the teachers drove by in cars for a Coronavirus parade. When I saw my teacher I literally screamed! I was so happy to see her and all the other teachers. They all looked the same as on Zoom, but better in person! It was so nice to connect.

My friend stood across the street with his family during the parade. It was fun watching together, even though we were 6 feet apart, rather than just watching by ourselves. It felt so good! All of it: the parade, standing with my friend and his family, and just feeling happy about it!

Two police cars and the firefighters were in the parade too. Everyone would honk as each car, one-by-one, passed by. The thing I found the funniest was that a few cars passed by us going the other direction, waving and wondering what was going on. They had no idea what was happening!

The picture above is of me with my pom-poms, bubbles, and leis ready for the parade to start!

This week I have been on Zoom a lot. My schedule is becoming more school-like. It has been going really well. But Zoom can also be a trickster in many ways. First off, whenever I am early to get into online class, there is a virtual “waiting room.” When you're in a waiting room it feels like you're waiting for a long time. Sometimes it feels as if I am alone, stranded on a desert island, except the island is plain and not beautiful. There is only a white sky. No one knows you are even there. And you just wait and wait for a boat to come save you. You wait and wait. Some days it feels as if no one cares. Finally, they let you in. You're stranded no more.

A few days ago, I had Art online, but my computer had such a bad connection that I had to disconnect. Then, when I finally got back on, I saw new faces, and I didn’t recognize anyone. I suddenly realized one person was a friend's younger brother. “What’s happening??” I thought to myself. I quickly pressed on the participant list and all of a sudden realized I was looking at a list of second graders’ names. “OOPS! I am in the second grade art class!” I left immediately, pressing on the link to Science hoping that it was the right class. Waiting room! Seriously?! Why can’t I just get in, instead of having to wait?! Well, I knew the answer to that one. It was just a safety thing, to be extra careful. And luckily, I was finally in the right class.

Today during online school at social time, people began to share things that happened to them at home. One girl said that she baked muffins. When she tasted them they tasted way too salty. Then another girl shared that her pet gerbil, Peanut Butter1, destroyed all her chocolate Easter eggs and opened some of the candies. She stayed mad at him for three days. But, after that, she got over it. After that two boys talked about how often they are watching movies nowadays. A teacher said that her family is trying to watch a comedy movie every single day! Someone else said that they had been riding on a pogo-stick, and said that they know how to do tricks on it! Wow! That gave me a few reminders about what you can do if you really try and I really appreciated it! First of all, because I don’t know how to ride on a pogo-stick. Second of all, because it is hard! And third of all, because it takes a lot of effort.

Lila Kia-Keating with her brotherTo the left is a picture of me and my brother when I was still in Zoom and he wanted to say hello during my class social time.

Ever since the Coronavirus, I have realized there are some special gifts from staying home. I have been noticing more. I have more time to observe nature. When I take time to stop everything and notice what’s around me I realize the beauty in nature. I notice birds and their wings of pure beauty. Quarantine is an opportunity to notice these things. It is the time of the Coronavirus, but as I look outside, I notice that not many cars roll, and more people stroll. Instead of polluting the world with gasoline, people are staying at home. People go on hikes and walks and barely drive. They learn more about nature at home.

At the bottom of the entry is a photo of me enjoying some of the wildflowers that have started blooming and doing a pose in yoga called mountain pose.

I’ve also been doing a lot of reading. Books aren’t just pieces of paper filled with the ink of a pen; they are so much more. They carry stories, journeys, some even filled with information and ideas. Books fill me with imagination. Some are filled with tales that are actually myths, others are filled with tales that tell the truth, and some carry characters that inspire others. All books are important.

Finally, having more time to write is another gift for me. When I begin to write, my mind becomes part of the story, my heart belongs to the plot, and my smile belongs to the hero. Anyone can write, if they try. Writing brings stories into my head. My mind fills with ideas. Every day a new part of the story is being shared.

A lot of people are having a very rough time now, especially the kind nurses and doctors out there, who have to work for such a long time. It is way harder for them in the time of the Coronavirus, rather than how it used to be. They are curing innocent people from an evil disease. They are pretty much like the superheroes in this story.

Later, when I look back at my Coronavirus memory, I won’t be sad. In fact, I think I will be a little happy because instead of looking back at this as something negative, I will look back at it as an opportunity to spend more time with my loving family. It’s not just an opportunity for me. Lots of people are finding ways to support each other through rough times. And when I consider that, I think, “What a magical time for everyone to experience.” 

Happy quarantining! Until next time, virtually yours, Lila

1some names of pets and people have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Lila Kia-Keating is a 4th grader who lives with her family in Santa Barbara. When she isn't reading or writing, you can probably find her riding bikes with her brother or making friends with the neighborhood animals.

Lila Kia-Keating enjoying the outdoors