Searching for adventure
in a global pandemic
by Dale Burgos
Gavin with my Mom
Taking a stroll in beautiful Nanaimo B.C.
Nice to see you all again! It’s been a few months since I’ve written a Pilipino Express article. To say I’ve been busy is a gross understatement. School boards across the country have been very busy adding COVID health and safety measures to their already busy lives. In April, I was appointed to a Government of B.C. COVID-19 rapid response team covering Vancouver Island. I have been working closely with medical health officers, school board leadership, and environmental health officials. It’s been a great adventure and continues to this day.
My biggest challenge was to find the right balance between two jobs and my home life. To put it into perspective, I had only six days off from mid-August 2021 to the winter break. I lost my evenings and weekends during that stint, and I wasn’t sure how I could sustain that level of work in the long term. Thankfully some new measures and processes have been put in place and it looks like I’ll have a better work-life balance in 2022.
How was your 2021? Did it fly by like mine did? What are your New Year’s resolutions? As I do every year, I like to head into a new year with the intention of staying healthy and visiting the gym regularly. No problem, right? Wrong. The gyms in B.C. have been closed until mid-January. (At time of writing, the Government of B.C. announced enhanced COVID-19 restrictions and may have changed as you read this). Not one to let these ever-changing health restrictions dampen my mood, I sought a solution – daily walks with whomever is willing!
It seems the only thing safe for us to do these days are outdoor adventures. Sadly, we don’t get the same snowfall accumulation as you do in Manitoba, therefore any skiing, snowboarding, or tobogganing is out of the question, unless we head to the mountains. I have to resort to walks and hikes. Thankfully, there is an abundance of options around my area. I also had the bonus of having my “Nay” coming out for Christmas and New Year this year. That’s right, I’ve finally convinced my mom to come out and visit after four long years of being away from Nanaimo! Two of those years were during COVID, so I can’t really blame her for not visiting those years.
We have lived on the West Coast for almost seven years now and it is quite easy to forget the natural beauty this area has to offer. It isn’t until someone visits that I remember just how special this part of the world is. My mom is never shy to tell us that the weather is so nice and that walking outside all year round is a blessing. For me, taking any walk with my mom is a blessing, doesn’t matter where we are.
So here we are. We just finished a 75-minute walk around the neighbourhood with stops at the ocean along the way. Today, Gavin joined us for the little adventure. Next up, maybe a walk among the massive old growth forests around the island. Who knows, if there are no further restrictions, maybe we’ll visit Butchart Gardens in Victoria to see their Christmas light decorations among their already impressive green spaces.
These constant restrictions due to problematic variants, like Omicron, may continue to challenge us for years to come and it can be extremely disheartening. I found myself feeling down on the days the government made new announcements, but I’ll continue to seek out these safe adventures with whomever is willing. It’s the best we can do for now. I hope you have a Happy New Year!
Dale manages the communications department for a school district in B.C.