When 2020 started, I was in high spirits...after two years of so much growth and good news, I was optimistic for another year.

In January, a high school friend's grandmother in Pennsylvania passed away suddenly due to an intestinal hernia. I wouldn't have even really known this grandmother if it weren't for a project her daughter (my high school friend's mom) started and reached out for my help with earlier last year. This dear grandmother was Kimiko, the star of the book "My Wacky Mom" that was published last year. I was asked to translate the book into Japanese for her to share with her family and friends in Japan. Through this book I was able to enjoy many laughs and make an amazing connection with Kimiko. At the end of the year, I sent her a New Year's card with some Japanese snacks and mementos I picked up at our local market. Chinami also enjoyed writing her a letter in English and Japanese. Kimiko lived a long and happy life until the ripe age of 90, but nevertheless I was still saddened to learn of her passing. 
A few weeks later, we lost another wise and fun-loving soul from this world. My dear Sensei, who was like a grandfather to me, passed away from pneumonia suddenly on February 14th. He was a teacher, mentor, and friend to many and kept the beautiful traditions of Japanese court music alive so that his children, and others in generations beyond, can carry on the wisdom and rich heritage. I feel so honored to have been able to learn from him and to have fond memories of him to look back on. We had a small memorial at the classroom at University of Hawaii the following Sunday. 
After this, news reports from other places in the world started to trickle in about our rough flu season and a new virus somewhere in China. Most of us tried to downplay it, as the virus itself was terribly similar to a flu, and was mostly contained in China....until it wasn't. 
Nearly a month later, there were talks of "self quarantining" and "social distancing". The kids were starting Spring Break on Monday March 16th, and there weren't any guidelines in place, just vague suggestions, as plane loads of tourists still arrived by the thousands every day. So on March 15th, we enjoyed one day of fun at our son's 4th birthday party, which was attended by a modest crowd of 20-30, spread out amongst a whole 80+ capacity restaurant we were lucky enough to be able to use for the party. 
From March 16th, we voluntarily stayed in, keeping distant from friends, only going to the supermarket sporadically for essentials, and going on walks or to quiet beaches where we didn't have to interact with others.
From March 23rd, our mayor issued a shelter in place order, and from there it progressively got more strict. On March 26th, they issued a 14 day quarantine order for any travelers to the islands, and Japan followed suit with their airline arrivals as well, which was the last nail in the coffin for the Japanese tourism industry here. Most of the hotels and travel agencies closed for business with most of the Waikiki and Ala Moana retail not far behind. And following even more regulations for social distancing from our Lt. Governor, most of the supermarkets and stores that are open require masks, and only let in a small amount of customers at a time.
Like all restaurants, Yasushi's workplace has closed their dining room and converted to takeout/delivery only. The wait staff and a portion of the kitchen staff was laid off. My job has suspended most of their contracts, but there are still a few partners who we take calls for, although the calls are few and far between. All of us from the answering service now work from home, on reduced hours. Of course, when I was first informed that my hours would be halved, I was a bit worried. And now that I go through my shifts with the phone not ringing even once, I'm still worried. However, the bright side is even though I only work 16 hours per week, I'm blessed with a high hourly wage. We have a company bonus in April which is not effected by the pandemic, and we have our tax refund, and the stimulus coming our way over the next month, so hopefully we won't be struggling as much as we thought we would. I'm also using the extra time at home to pick up more freelance work and explore more remote working opportunities around the whole homeschooling thing.
For the first couple of weeks, we just tried to enjoy Spring Break as usual, having movie nights, lots of living room jam sessions, some video games, and we did some Spring Cleaning as well and got the toys all reorganized and more personal storage for Chinami up by her loft bed. Since we live in a 2 bedroom condo, which we rent one bedroom of to a roommate, both our living room and bedroom have to serve lots of different needs. Our bedroom is a play room, a family bed, and Chinami's reading loft/personal library. Our living room is a work space, family/TV room, music space, play space, and a dining room.
From last week, I gradually started to introduce some homeschool curriculum for Chinami and get everyone on a loose schedule. Chinami is in no danger of falling behind in her regular schoolwork...over the last week she actually finished the 2nd grade math course and moved up to 3rd grade, and she has been reading novels from 3rd grade level and up since the beginning of this year. So she's using this time to get ahead, and to catch up on Japanese as well, starting to really learn to read and write kanji at the Japanese 1st grade level.
So now, we start our 4th week of isolation. Schools are closed until April 30th, and pretty much every event and festival that we were looking forward from early March until June or so has been postponed or cancelled. Libraries, museums, and even parks are completely shut down. Living in an urban environment means shared green spaces and social events are such an integral part of our livelihood, so having everything shut down and our daily routine changed so drastically was definitely a shock for us. But as always, we are trying our best to just adapt and make it our new normal, and take everything one day at a time. Even if we don't have community events and social interaction to look forward to every day, we can still make the most of this family time and use it as an opportunity to make ourselves stronger and gain some different skills. 

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