• Behind the Mask

Gratitude — Florida

I remember being in my last class and getting excited after the principal had just announced that we’d get the next week off. To us, of course, it was just an extra week of Spring Break. Which then turned into two months, and then summer, and now, here we are. Everyone has been affected in some, if not many ways, by this pandemic. Here is my story.

Right after spring break had ended, my family and I were going to move to a new house. My sister and I were really excited because the new house had a dock in our backyard that led straight to the ocean and it was just a new change overall. But then, that excitement vanished with just one phone call. I distinctly remember my dad getting a call from the bank the day before my parents were going to officially sign the papers to move in. The bank representative explained that our loan got pushed back and they didn’t even know if we’d get it at all because of the devastating effect COVID-19 had on the economy. This was possibly the worst news we could’ve gotten, because we had already sold our current house, but we hadn’t officially bought the new house because we were going to sign the papers the day after. In other words, this meant we were basically homeless. Luckily, my parents own two condos in Orlando, so we stayed there for an entire month. During that month, it wasn’t terrible, and eventually, we got the loan and everything went back to normal—well, not normal, but we were able to get the house and our lives back to normal.

These events made me realize that we were lucky to have a place nearby we could stay at and to eventually get the loan. There have been so many other families impacted by this global pandemic that may have not gotten their “happy endings.” During the month we were in Orlando, I realized that people haven’t just been affected by the obvious risk of getting the virus, but also through many other ways: economically, socially, and so much more.

Now that we look back, it’s crazy to see that it’s been almost eight months since the lockdowns. Especially in Florida, where there are more and more cases each day, it’s truly scary to see how you can easily be impacted. But I’m also grateful for the time I’ve spent at home. Spending so much time at home has allowed me to self-reflect and be grateful for so many things. I’m grateful for still being healthy. I’m grateful for having food, water, and shelter. I’m grateful for still being able to get an education despite being home. I’m grateful for all of my friends that I’m still just as close to. But most of all, I’m grateful for this experience, despite it being so terrible, because this experience has taught me to never take anything for granted and to be able to quickly adjust to new changes.

— Shefali Vansadia, 15

Juno Beach, Florida


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