What I found after Zoom calls in more than 450 households during the pandemic

What I found after Zoom calls in more than 450 households during the pandemic


This first-person article is the experience of Alia Ceniza Rasul, who moved from the Philippines to Toronto as an international student.For more information on CBC’s first-person story, see common problem.

“I have bad news,” my father said ominously during a Zoom call. Obviously, the 16th century astrologer Nostradamus predicted this pandemic-and it came true. “He also predicted something worse… Zombie Apocalypse!” My brothers and I began to giggle, and my father’s serious expression turned into a contented smile because he knew he had just made his family laugh.

This is a snapshot of a phone call from our family. This playfulness is new to us-since the world has been locked down, it takes an hour or two every day to test the “home zoom”.

My mother announced that we will have video chats every day for the family’s mental health. And we did it. In the past year, I missed a few days and we had some intense conversations, but I really appreciate them.

This was impossible in the “previous” era.

Since the Philippines is the largest labor exporter, it is common for Filipinos to have different family members living and working in different countries. I live in Toronto, my mother lives in Dubai, and my father and brother live in different areas of Manila. The time difference between each city makes it possible to arrange nightmares, and the idea of ??giving up two hours a day during busy work and school-time family chats is an absurd proposition.

The pandemic changed this situation.

I moved to Canada as an international student when I was 19 and lived here for nearly ten years. During that time, my interactions with my family turned into occasional small chats and video calls, reserved for special occasions like birthdays. In my opinion, that is a natural thing. As an immigrant, this is part of the difficult choices you make when looking for opportunities elsewhere: you leave people and relationships behind, and you fall into a certain time bubble.

For many years, Zoom has been the only video conferencing software my mother has used in Dubai, so we have already said things like “Oh! You are still muted!” Before becoming the norm.

Before 2020, video conferencing reminded me of the distance between me and my loved ones. I don’t like it and avoided it. Now that it has been standardized, the distance I once felt has disappeared, and now my family is as close as my neighbor.

My family knows that when my father tells a story, we are very happy.

My father continued: “I think Nostradamus knew these things because he was a time traveler.”

“When do you think he came, pop music?” I asked, playing together.

He answered without hesitation: “Why, the time is up! He came back and tried to warn us so that we could live a better life.”

Watch Patriarch Rasul tell the story of Nostradamus, the epidemic, and zombies to his confused family.

It is difficult to see the state of the world, especially during the pandemic, and say that this is a better life.

But I have to admit that because of our daily conversations, I live a better life. (Thank you mom.)

The biggest revelation my family gave me was a simple revelation. First, any method of storytelling can be cured. After a week of daily Zoom calls, we quickly ended the small talk, so we started telling each other about our experiences, and finally we became comfortable enough to give each other advice (“Yes, you now have enough plants” ), celebrating a small victory (“I finally bought a bookshelf today”) and other daily household affairs, such as helping my little brother with homework (“I don’t remember how hard going to school”).

My second revelation is that the family needs to play. In a world where productivity is paramount, making time silly seems indulgent, but compared to my recent experience, making my parents and siblings laugh more rich and fulfilling than in the past (and I make people laugh for a living As a comedian). Although we are miles apart, we are the closest partners of our family.

Recalling the life in “Before”, I remember that I was very lonely. It is difficult to admit this because I am grateful for my life in Canada. I didn’t realize that this complicated ball of sensations has been bothering me. If I had my father’s Nostradamus time machine, I would go back and tell my 20-year-old to join Zoom early (and maybe invest a little in the stock market).

I am still thinking about it. I have been losing huge support resources. It doesn’t matter, at least now I have it, and I plan to continue Zooms with our family in “After Times” and beyond. So, bring the zombie apocalypse, and my family and I will be ready to zoom.

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