Lockdown Stories (continued)

In this edition of Update, three of our members share their varied experiences of Covid-19 Lockdown.

Class Leader Carl Di Giovine entertains us with his ultimate decision not to travel overseas, Class Leader Jasmine Teen shares her very poignant story of coming to terms with Covid and Member Betty Au tells of mastering technology to stay connected and keeping busy with jobs she had been putting off.

A hard decision

The resolution was passed – It had been discussed over a long period of time.

Carl and Nola at the Taj Mahal in 2019

The conclusion verified – All the reasons for and against had been canvassed over and over.

The commitment made – We contacted Stella at The Flight Centre, Doncaster to let her know that we had made the decision to go.

And the option chosen – Cosmos Tours, September 10, 2020, 24 days, New York to Los Angeles

The trip to the United States of America had been on the radar for quite a while – It included all the famous locations America is known for. I had even set up a pre-trip meet up with a good friend in Georgia for a couple of days.

The balloon of happiness and anticipation was flying high … until it was pricked and deflated by… COVID 19!

What to do…

A resolution was passed – We would not let a virus affect our way of life. We had a choice and we chose to be vigilant and follow the advice given and stay positive.

A conclusion verified – We concluded that our lives need not change greatly. We could still shop for necessities and stay in touch with family and loved ones by different methods of communication. We were able to follow the daily events of loved ones in Milan combatting the virus.

A commitment made – We made a commitment to continue to communicate with ‘new’ friendships we had formed with other U3A members. We continued to be as active as ‘the rules’ allowed and find new things to enjoy.

I was really enjoying ‘Scrabble’ until my partner, Nola, took to beating me every game – We don’t play Scrabble anymore.

And the option chosen – You don’t need a gym to stay active. We walked with ‘Leslie Sansone Fitness Videos’ until we could walk in the open again. We still walk every morning for an hour around Laurimar Lakes.

You don’t need a classroom to meet up with your classmates. I led my Italian class on a Thursday morning, just as I had done in person. I still continued with the ‘Beginner’s Guitar Classes’ on a Friday afternoon.

We chose to continue living.


Carl Di Giovine

It started in March

I thought that Covid-19 would fly past quickly and was actually quite excited that we had an extra term’s holiday…. but as days passed with devastating news every day, it started to hit me that this was not my type of holiday anymore …. not able to catch up with friends over coffee.

Jasmine Teen

So, to pass our time during this isolation, my MCG ladies folded 2000 cranes of Hope …1000 for U3A and 1000 for Campbell Place Aged Care where Mum and Dad live. Things got worse by the day, then week …. then months passed and we were in total lockdown with a curfew, plus compulsory masks, plus one person per household to go shopping within 5km.- no hugs, no holding hands going out for walks, etc…

The news kept escalating with many deaths in Victoria especially in aged care that really shook me. I started to have negative thoughts, which kept flashing in and out of my old brain, hoping and praying for Mum and Dad to be OK.

Flights were cancelled, countries closed their doors to everyone except essential workers with permits… feeling very upset and devastated that the whole world seemed to be in total lockdown… cancelled my trip to meet my son in the UK, cancelled Andre Rieu live concert in Poland, cancelled Mum-in-Law’s 96th birthday in Malaysia and cancelled my trip to Nhulumbuy to catch up with my daughter and family.

Jasmine’s granddaughter in her garden

With a wink of an eye, this rodent year was going, going, gone and happy to usher in the Ox in 2021 where everybody will be working twice as hard and in 2022 our Tiger will come roaring in with a brighter future for everyone!

Over the time I attended four Zoom funerals and one Zoom wedding, but looking at the bright side, my garden looks immaculate and I feel healthier eating our own garden vegetables!

Jasmine Teen

My lockdown experience

During the lockdown period, there were plenty of things to do. I was remarkably busy attending U3A Zoom meetings, up to three sessions on some days. With most sessions, I had to do homework as well.

It took me a few meetings to get used to Zoom and feel confident using it. There was a sense of achievement after I had mastered the skills. The meetings offered us mental stimulation and enabled us to learn new skills and keep fully occupied.

I am grateful to U3A and the dedicated Committee of Management and Leaders for offering Zoom meetings so that we could continue to attend classes during the COVID-19 Lockdown. Zoom meetings have offered us the convenience of staying comfortably at home to attend classes and saved us a lot of travelling time.

During this time, I spent many hours on my old hobby: gardening. Gardening seemed rather therapeutic. I have also got to know our neighbours better, even though we had to talk across the fence.

Something I intended to do ages ago was to convert some videos from VHS to DVD. They were memorable videotapes of our children growing up. I managed to do the conversion and the children were thrilled to get the copies!

I also spent a lot of time organising my photos, including old ones. This is still ongoing!

Betty Au

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