The new normal: a chat with PIRS staff

The COVID-19 crisis has changed the way we think about, “business as usual”. We now talk about “the new normal”, “post-pandemic”. We’ve all been affected in one way or another, and some more than others. But it has also allowed us some time to slow down and reflect. 

Several weeks since physical distancing has interrupted our “regularly scheduled programs”, we thought we’d give you a behind the scenes look into what some of our staff members are doing and thinking at home.

  • If you could send a message to your past self from January, what would you advise?

Amy Fuletra (Childcare Worker): Keep exploring new things along with your busy schedule.

A (Childcare Worker): I’m glad that you created memories (through stories, pictures, etc) that encourage you to keep hoping for more meaningful ones in the future.

Erika Pizarro (Business Coordinator): Value what you have and be very thankful for everything.

  • What have you found to be most challenging, since the crisis started? 

Amy: Finding a routine. I want to do everything, but I can’t fit it in my schedule 馃槃

A: Learning a lot about technology/apps: zoom/gotomeeting/video calls, google drive/file sharing, slack to call/video call (previously, I only used messages).

Erika: Being at home with different duties, all of them important and needing to be resolved at the same time. 

  • Have you found a creative, unusual, or innovative solution to make life easier?

Amy: Learn and teach and explore new things like music, art, cooking and many other new things.

A: Find a corner in the house where it is comfortable to work consistently/do video calls. Try to be mindful of the start and end of work and home life. Have the mindset that this is the “new normal/reality”.

Erika: Do your best, and take a  break more often than before. Also, I now use my table to practice ping-pong!

  • Have you learned something new about yourself?

Amy: I can train others if I have enough time 馃榿I have trained my son and husband.

A: I’m trying to apply what Charles Swindoll quotes, “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it”…trying to be MINDFUL of how I use my time.

Erika: I’m feeling more empathy for people around the world.  Before, I cared, but it wasn’t affecting me directly, nor my family or my community. Now it’s different. I see those close to me and people in my community suffering. It’s very hard to recognize that before the COVID crisis, people around the world were already facing war, famine, infections etc.

  • What are your hopes for the future?

Amy: I hope to have a positive attitude in life, all the time, in all situations. 

A: I hope for a safer world, more meaningful relationships and more balance in my life.

Erika: I hope I am going to be more aware of my actions and decisions. And care more about others and our planet. I feel that we are all in the same world, helping each other to be better humans and that we can use this lesson to create a better world for our kids and the next generation. I’m grateful for this big experience that has allowed me to have the opportunity to decide if I will be the same person after COVID, or if I will change and contribute to create a better world for everybody. 

  • What’s your biggest craving right now? 

Amy: Explore the outdoors with friends and family, and eat tempting food 馃構馃構

A: Be able to go outside without fear of catching the virus!

Erika: Waffles with ice cream (from “La Foret”) with lots of people around me – without any worry.

And on that note, we want to encourage you to have hope for the future, but to also reach out if you are struggling. Although this pandemic has forced us apart, PIRS continues to support immigrant and refugee women and their families. Please get in touch if you need help – our staff are available to assist via phone or email.

Soon, our programs will be launched online, including a special program designed for young children. Right now we are setting our programs and making sure they will be accessible. PIRS values reaching out to the most vulnerable and isolated and we want to make sure we don’t leave anyone behind as we move things online…