All right, if you're going back to school this fall, How do you feel about it? Not safe I don’t – I don’t -- I feel like people are going to be sick and go there not know that they're sick. And the mask, sometimes I can’t really hear what the masks but I can't I can't really hear through the mask that well. So do you think that you would rather stay home and learn online? Learn online! Learn online! Learn online! You don't think that you would miss your friends and your new teacher? Yeah. Yeah. So what kind of things they do you think that you could do to be safe if you had to go back to school in the fall? Social distance. Social distance. Do you think that might be hard at school? Yeah, yeah. Can you think of anything that they could do at school to help you be more safe? Put the desk apart, It's only half the group at recess. Just a little group at a time. Do you think everybody should be wearing masks? Yes, but sometimes I can't hear them. That's going to be tricky. Yeah, really tricky.
I think that one of the things that I was thinking about that kind of relates to being at home, is that the — if you think about some Disney princesses like Rapunzel and Elsa and Anna, I really like those Disney Princesses and those Disney Princesses had to stay home. For example, cause they were — like they had to stay home, and Rapunzel was locked in a room for a while. But there's a song in the movie Tangled which is when “Will My Life Begin” and it says all the things you did that day make us a really big inspiration because if you think about it, there's a lot of things that you can do even at home, and if she could get by I bet we can too. And nonetheless, yes, it’s very — can be very boring. But I really think that like that's a good inspiration song even if it's probably it was made way before any of this happened, it kind of relates.
So it's beautiful day. I had — decided to walk downtown in our little Zeeland, and buy myself a new puzzle because I spend a lot of time doing puzzles. And I want to give our local toy store the business as opposed to ordering one online. So anyway, I walked downtown, and when I got to the toy store, I looked in the window and I saw kids inside kind of running around the toy store looking at the toys with no masks. They were maybe ten, eleven years old and it made me a little uncomfortable. But dug my mask out of my purse put it on and I went, open the door. And there's no sign on the door saying “wear a mask, social distance”. This is a tight store. So I was uncomfortable and I thought: “okay I'm going to give him another chance I'll open the door and if there if the employees are wearing masks I know exactly what puzzle I want I want to give them the business I'll do it.” So open the door, the employee’s behind the counter. He looked happy to see a customer. "Hello!" No mask. I turned right around and walked out. So I got home, I told my husband about it and he said, “Call them. Let him know why you were uncomfortable to shop in his store.” So I did, I just called him and this is not something I do. But I voted with my feet and I let him know why he wasn't going to get my business. And I believe in giving business to the local people but I'm going to go by my puzzle online now where it's safe.
Is there anything you are particularly grateful for this week? Yes, I'm actually grateful for being able to get working on some of the papers that I have been working on for years, and I'm trying to get it published somewhere, with one of my professors. And I am also grateful for getting a ticket, so I finally I can fly back home after graduation. You know after the COVID crisis started, things are not normal and I just got a ticket from the Saudi government for flying back to Saudi Arabia. So yeah, I guess there are so many things that have been so difficult to live with during this COVID crisis, from working from home, trying to just create your environment where you are surrounded by your kids and stuff like that where you need a very peaceful, calm, quiet, place to just work on writing let's say. It is hard for also just working on trying to teach our kids at home. That's also hard. Has been so difficult for me, I haven't dealt with that before but now I'm experiencing that same difficulty that teachers go through.
I feel like some of this [taking down statues] again was inevitable, with the Black Lives Matter. And we need to figure out a solution. Again I don't know what that is. I've always wanted to, and I need to find out who to communicate this to, but we need to erect memorials — and we're in a time of destroying the symbols of white supremacist thinking and our ugly past. I enjoyed in Germany how in Berlin they had evolved there. Some — I mean a lot of their you know, it's very symbolic, you know, when a regime is changing, you know to pull down Stalin and Lenin and all those kind of things and to tear those down or take the heads off or whatever. But if the point is to learn and remember things from our history even that they're ugly, you know, I think I think it's an interesting concept to change, keep the monument there and add some art to it to indicate that we've evolved from this other old way of thinking and that's what I would like to see some creative art person erect some kind of statue or monument to recognize our ugly past and recognize those who have died as a result of slavery as a result of the genocide against the Native Americans against and other cultures that we've so badly treated yet tried to take from their culture.
As somebody who identifies as nonbinary and asexual — and my fiancé does as well — We both normally celebrate Pride, whether that means like going to some of the events that are usually like usually happening because of it. Going to a friend's drag show or something like that, or even attending whatever pride festival that we're able to. We haven't been able to do that this year, but something that has been really really heartwarming to see is the queer community online being supportive of each other not being able to do things and also talking about how important it is to follow social distance guidelines and things like that. One thing that I can think of less related to Pride, but still about the queer community, is with all of the racial Injustice in the protests going on lately with the most vocal and at least internet active groups that I've seen out there, is the queer community talking about Marsha P. Johnson, the plight of trans people of color, the plight of trans people in general in 2020 and just bringing up all these valid points of intersectionality and the ways that the culture of people of color and queer culture intersect and have always intersected since like 90's gay drag ball culture to Marsha P. Johnson's activism back in the seventies with the Stonewall riots. So that's just been really nice to see.
I'm excited for school again. I'm a little bit nervous though cause I don't know how it's going to be or if it's even going to be like -- how just like how they're going to set it up. I'm most excited to see my friends again and even people I'm not super close friends with I'm excited to be able to talk to. I'm starting to spend some more time with people outside my house my friends by social distancing. We're like being six feet away. We hammock a lot together or face masks and stuff. I don't have a specific term for people that I’m not isolating with.
Tell me about some things that you did outside this week. Well, I played… We played Adventure Girls and singing and we pretended Grandpa was Zeus and Grandma was Hera. And then what did you what were you guys doing? We were singers slash Secret — slash Secret Adventure Girls, slash singers. So we go on adventures when we need to or when somebody finds something.
So the question is “what did I do outside this week?” Well today I've been playing outside with my brother doing Bubbles and also going on with the bike rides and have going on long walks with my family. And then yesterday I went on a Pokemon go walk with one of my friends."
Changes in the neighborhood, yes big time. We notice obviously all of the signage that has to do with the protests and black lives matter and George Floyd and everybody else affected by the recent upheaval. Huge support in Ann Arbor for this, which is not surprising given the education level, given the liberal leanings of the city. We noticed this popping up on our neighbors houses and we can tell where they were not yesterday that they are now. And pretty much every day my wife and I will walk along our roads here and point out, “Hey, this is, you know, this wasn't here yesterday.” These flowers have bloomed. There’s a bear, a huge Costco stuffed bear that one household in our neighborhood puts out, dresses up and various costumes and masks and puts out in a chair in different poses. And we've so far seen at least half a dozen positions for the doll. So yeah, I think we've actually become a lot more mindful and a lot more observant just because it's now turned into a routine, and I think it's just something really cool. If there are ever silver lining to these things this is certainly one of them, that we’re becoming more familiar with the neighborhood and that we are noticing these little changes.