“Have you ever been Christmas caroling?”

Have you ever been Christmas caroling? I don't think we have. You've never been Christmas caroling? No, I have no idea what that means. You don’t know what Christmas caroling means? It means to sing to people in a group. You go Christmas caroling -- Actually I did in school once. Oh, that's true. You had that last year. Yeah, that was last year. But that was kind of more of like a pageant. That’s true. Do you have a favorite Christmas carol? That I sing? Yes, or just whatever. It doesn't have to be you, but. I can make up one. You can! Cool. Let's see it. Let's hear it. I think I need to work it on when I play Among Us because it's gonna be Among Us holiday theme song. Oh, okay. Well, what's your favorite Christmas song? Jingle Bells. Jingle Bells.  (singing) Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way.

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“Looking back at the beginning of all of this, it was really surreal for me.”

This audio contains language that has been redacted in the transcript but not in the audio file. Looking back at the beginning of all of this, it was really surreal for me. Because I, at the time was living in a really rural area, like back in the beginning of this year, I was in Southern Illinois, and so like -- a lot of it just didn't really feel real. I was like what is going on? Like what's going on in these big cities? Like what is this disease? I really distinctly remember sitting in my bathroom and playing Plague Inc. I think is the game, like on my phone. And this is like early -- early March, maybe late February, like back when it was like, maybe we had the first couple of cases that had come to the states. And I was just like oh s***, like --excuse me--just kind of had this like oh s*** moment of like this is -- this is gonna get big, and this is a problem.

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“I think that our adaptations are kinda working as best they can.”

Okay, let's see today, uh, this week. One thing I've been really grateful for is I've been thinking about all the ways that we have been able to connect. I, um, gosh at the beginning of the pandemic we started -- I started a book club with a couple of other women, and I think we've met in person outside once, like at a bonfire. But I'm realizing that all of our meetings have been over zoom, and it still felt like a really good connection with people I might not have been otherwise connected with. So, when we started it we were like, "Oh we'll just do this meeting by zoom and maybe next time we’ll", you know, I had no intention of -- obviously no knowledge that we were gonna just do everything by zoom for nine months. But anyway, it's been really nice and um, I know, like, my mom has like, had a lot of zoom meetings with her sorority sisters from college that she had lost track of. And they've really been very, um, committed to meeting once a month. And just really, it's developed some really good relationships there I know for her. And, um I think that our adaptations are kinda working as best they can.

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“So we’ve got some really awesome makeshift ornaments…”

This featured diary story is from one of our student team members, Lindsay Moore. And so we -- I go home and I get this Christmas tree and bring it to my house and we set it up and then we get into a decorating spirit. And my roommates and I just start grabbing everything in the house that could possibly go on the tree, whether it’s got a string attached or there's a hole that you can fit a branch through or maybe it's light enough it can just set on the tree or cause it's a fake tree, it's wiry we bent the branches around to hold things. So we've got some really awesome makeshift ornaments like we put some of our kitchen utensils, like a pie cutter or we have some sewing scissors. And yeah, we have random pamphlets we've gotten in the mail. Just anything we could find is on the tree. And so yeah, I actually really love the tree. I think I'm gonna decorate my tree like this every year because the tree is, it's still really beautiful and it's still at first glance when you walk you just see this beautiful Christmas tree. There's -- there's enough Christmas like ornaments like we have like a Snowman or Santa Claus on it, but we also have like a pie cutter and so it's at first glance when people see it, they always go. “Oh you have such a beautiful Christmas tree,” and then you hear people go “Oh wait, hold on a second,” Like “is that what I think it is.” And so it adds to the excitement. Like now I want people to see or tree and enjoy what I'm looking -- what I made with my roommates.

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