Bonding in Bidud- Eva Gamboa
No one likes being stuck in one place. This is especially true when you’re in a foreign country with people you’ve never met before. During my first week of AMHSI, which also happened to be Bidud (quarantine,) I made many memories that I’ll never forget.
My first memory of quarantine is when I first arrived at campus. My flight was early, meaning that I was alone in my dorm for around 6 hours. When one of my roommates, named Sammie, finally arrived, we were both exhausted but determined to stay awake until our capsule had all its members. The 4 hours we spent chatting and yelling at each other to not fall asleep felt like torture at the time, but now looking back on it, was extremely funny. I remember halfway through our wait, I pulled out my instant coffee and we began making millions of cups just so we wouldn’t fall asleep mid-conversation. During this time, we talked, laughed, and almost cried for a seemingly endless couple of hours. However, the real fun started once our other three roommates arrived. I distinctly remember when one of them, Becca, sat on the floor while we were eating and kept repeating that she still felt like she was on the airplane. That first night was difficult but makes for a funny story.
Throughout the first two days or so of quarantine, it was sort of awkward in our capsule. Two of the girls already knew each other, so the rest of us were a bit nervous to speak to them. Nonetheless, things quickly changed and all of us began to grow closer. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in a week than I did in Bidud. I was lucky enough to have a hilarious roommate named Maya who managed to entertain all of us by performing dance routines and singing renditions of her favorite musicals. One of my most hilarious memories is when she turned 17 and did a contemporary dance performance to Abba’s “Dancing Queen” at around 1 in the morning; I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard. Being locked in a small space with only 5 people is made a lot easier when someone like Maya is around.
Even though we were separated through comically large sheets of plastic, I also began to bond with some of the seniors in the capsule next door. The windows in our dorm were directly across from each other, meaning that I spent plenty of hours chatting on the windowsill. One of the most amusing stories with the seniors is when we pressed our hands against the plastic dramatically and recreated scenes from films, like “five feet apart.” The senior who I did this with, Sarita, and I continued to have conversations through our tiny section of plastic behind a kitchen cabinet. This lovely group of older girls kept me sane through even the toughest days of quarantine.
The most exciting moment of quarantine was our outdoor time. When we left our dorms, we had designated sections of the communal outside area in which we could sit and exercise. Although going outside always seemed great when we were trapped in our dorms, as soon as we stepped outside we always wanted to go back indoors. It was super-hot out during our week of Bidud and we always managed to get mauled by fire ants no matter where we sat. This short time that we had to enjoy nature was usually spent sitting on picnic benches and staring into windows, hoping to see any sign of life from other capsules. Even just seeing another person who we’d never met before was so exciting, that it was worth the heat and painful ant bites.
Though quarantine was a boring and overall stressful experience, I made so many memories that will continue to amuse me for years to come. Sometimes, being trapped in one place allows for you to grow and bond with those around you, which ultimately frees you from being stuck within your own limitations.