As I sit in a plane that is taking me across the country, it is giving me a chance to reflect on what has been an insanely strange past few days and brace myself for a totally unique situation I am about to enter.
To say this week has been a bit stressful is an understatement. Despite all the planning we did and all the little tasks we accomplished to prepare for our move, we couldn’t quite anticipate the craziness that would take hold over the last few days in our old house. From last minute packing to the movers coming on Wednesday to the ensuing two days of clean up, it was more intense than I expected. But because of my wife’s take-charge attitude, we came out of the experience (at least the moving out of our old house experience) unscathed.
Since Wednesday night, we have lived out of suitcases at my in-laws. Now that I am gone, I know Sidney and the kids will become more settled and transition into a routine for the next 34 days––at least I hope they will. The fact of the matter is that things have been anything but normal lately, and the move is only half of it.
What can I say about the pandemic we are facing right now? I believe all commentary about the coronavirus is already out there and anything I say from a personal standpoint is just noise. There is no escaping the perpetual weird feeling I have had in my gut as this unprecedented global situation continues to rob us of any shred of normalcy we might have grasped to.
For me, it is going to get even more drastic.
I am about to land in the state of Washington, the so-called epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Minutes before boarding the plane, the Governor closed all K-12 schools in the state through at least April 24. All events of more than 250 people, including church services, are canceled. Universities are transitioning to online instruction for the rest of the semester and most campus events have been scrapped.
Soon I will be experiencing the higher education challenges firsthand. I begin my employment at Washington State University on Monday––what a time to start, right? I only hope that I can positively contribute to the great response already initiated by my new institution.
Yes, my head is spinning right now. But so are the heads of everyone else, right? We are all dealing with the impact of this virus while at the same time addressing our own internal anxieties as well. The circulating call for unity and support should not fall on deaf ears. We need to stick together. Along those lines, if anyone can help me cope with leaving 75 degrees and sunshine for 25 degrees and snow, I am all ears!
In all honesty, I am excited to return to the Inland Northwest and serve WSU. What an opportunity I am blessed with! It has been quite the week and I already miss my family but I know we will be even stronger when we reunite next month. Stay safe and healthy, everyone. Don’t Blink.