Life After the Pandemic Effect Slowly Disappears

How are things after we put our lives on slow mode for the last two years? The world starts making sense again.

– by Shirley Christie

Two years. That’s a long time, at least for an individual to stay put and live in a confined space called home. At one point, we ate, we slept, we exercised, we worked, we played, we hung out, and we grew tired of being surrounded by the same things (or the same people). 

Work from home. A way of life that was once celebrated and dreamt by the older and younger millennials. We dream of the perfect “work-life balance” that will give us the ultimate freedom within our own set of goals and responsibilities. So, when it finally happened in March 2020, we tried our best to keep things the way they were. We worked harder (much harder than we ought to be), and we tried to tell ourselves that we were lucky to have job security and a professional network during the uncertain time. All at the expense of our thinning patience and depreciating mental health. At times, we lost our peace of mind, we experienced sleepless nights, and we dragged our days like the living dead — eat, work, sleep, repeat. Some of us tried to make it up by buying and acquiring more stuff. With more disposable income left due to staying at home, we started buying things we didn’t need; online entertainment and digital items became a necessity, with jacked-up prices we were willing to pay to retain our sanity (i.e., cryptocurrencies, NFTs). As humans, we try to stay in control at least on something.

The year 2022. Most of us in developed and emerging countries have received at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The world starts making sense again. The government bodies will ease some restrictions, in order to boost the local economies. What should we do? Here are some personal suggestions (5Rs) from me:

1. Refresh your mind by traveling within your region/country

I know you haven’t posed in front of the Eiffel tower in Paris or been able to share any photos from Shibuya-Japan on your IG or TikTok after the pandemic but relax, you will be able to do that later. Did you know that travel-related tensions increased significantly during the pandemic? Give it time to cool down, while also helping to revive your local economy. If you have a social account with high reach, you can post your favourite local businesses on your post or reel. 

2. Re-connect with your local network and businesses

Call or visit your favourite shops, cafes and restaurants that were forced to close during the pandemic. Be a good customer; don’t bargain too much or ask for a special discount (especially if it’s your friend’s or relative’s or client’s business). Be ready to learn new skills and take an unexpected route in your own career path. Remember that life is an open door, as Anna a.k.a. Kristen Bell said.

3. Respect health protocols

As soon as I arrived on the Island of Gods, Bali, I realised that my friends were right; I saw 9 out of 10 tourists from other countries were out and about without wearing any layer of mask. For a moment there, I was triggered to do the same. Eventually, it’s your choice to wear or not to wear any PPE, but it would be sad to see another spike in COVID-related cases in the near future. In my opinion, there are some “legacies” we need to keep from this pandemic/endemic, including access to handwashing amenities in public places, hygiene protocols for the hospitality industry, and awareness of personal hygiene.    

People might say I was a bit paranoid or extra careful since the beginning of the pandemic (wearing protective glasses, a mask, carrying some hand sanitisers in my bag, separating clothes from outside, spraying aerosol disinfectant spray on a daily basis, etc.), but I have been free from virus-related diseases within the last two years. 

4. Revive your health

Free from viruses is not the same as being 100% healthy. We have our own struggles, and mine might be totally different from yours. Was it anxiety and sleeping problems for you? Was it an auto-immune problem? Since I was indoors 24/7 in a compact apartment, I was lacking vitamin D and had gained a lot of weight. I did try to motivate myself by enrolling on online yoga or gym classes, buying a punching bag, gym ball and a treadmill, but they don’t feel the same. I need to be in a place where I can interact with other people and smell the sweat IRL. 

When I got my medical check-up results early this year, the verdict is clear; I am overweight. I went cycling around Ubud this morning and was (not) surprised to find out that I was out of breath when riding on a hilly Andong road with my poorly-maintained rental bicycle. Worse than that, I became a regular patient of a dermatology clinic, ever since the rashes on my face came back without a clear trigger or warning. So, yes, it is okay to make health and balance your main priority this year, although that means you’d need to sacrifice some extra things at work. As long as you are working smartly and honestly, you would still accomplish something great. 

5. Re-evaluate your priority

During the pandemic, we have grown a lot (emotionally, not physically *kappa*), even without us realising it. You might not be the same person you were two years ago. Open your old journal, and review your list of priorities. Are they still relevant today (for example, after you have given birth to one or two beautiful babies)? It is never too late to write a new chapter of your life. 

I’m currently writing this while sitting down at my favourite local coffee shop in Ubud, and wishing you all the courage in the world to reconnect with yourself and make progress. 

With love,


What is a Family?

Family is overrated. The concept of having people who’d always love you unconditionally is not wrong, but it’s not entirely true for everyone. There are many people who don’t have a lovely nest to go home to or a warm and supportive upbringing. Not everyone celebrates the big holidays with their family, nor want to be close to their blood relatives.

Once you’re in this category, you’re an outlier. Because you don’t fit the mould. And then you find real connections with similar people who have this thing in common with you. You take care of each other. Some might say we’re broken, I’d say they are wrong. We’re fighters, we’re survivors. #blog #thankGod

View on Path

Soul Searching Tuesday

Finished the day. A bit broken-hearted for a bunch of reasons. But I guess that’s normal in life, you can’t always get what you want. The fact that life doesn’t give you lemons every day is already something to be thankful for.

We’re talking to dozens of people a day but are only connected to a few. We’re looking at many faces at a time, but only enjoy a few to whom we‘re attracted to. We receive a lot of love, but only a few really leave a mark and fill the hollows in our souls. I don’t know the formula for happiness but I know that my way of staying happy is to not be insanely happy about something or someone. Anything that’s not eternal should not be treated or expected as that. A relationship is one that is not to be made to last.

View on Path

Warm Breeze in London

I felt lost, but I am nowhere to be found. It’s always a nice feeling to know that you’re not doing something alone. The world is made after all not just for you and thee. While drifting apart, we find solace. Once in a while, they come like a tidal wave, another time like a warm breeze. This day it was the latter. Just to chat for hours, side by side, with some level of openness that can only be discovered in two nomad travellers who are stranded in a faraway land. I am struck by this newfound revelation.
I still find ambition is a damn sexy trait.

Don’t you agree?

View on Path

Skin Treatment

Getting more serious and diligent about my face treatment regime. Hahaha. If only I started early, of cuz the result would be much better… but I didn’t think I have time to stop and compare products, buy good brands et cetera when I had other more interesting things to do! Now? I actually enjoy each process of doing the routines, while relaxing & rewinding the entire day. Welcome to adulthood 😎🤓

View on Path

Hostel vs Airbnb

Who needs @airbnb when there are plenty of cosy, warm, hostels that would welcome all-year-round and make you feel at home. No frills, 24/7 secured access, easy payment, no hidden costs, and definite locations. Since becoming a hostel fan, I have never thought of booking #airbnb, mainly because:

1. Its price is similar if not more expensive than hotels.

2. It’s subject to the owner’s acceptance and terms (so it could be highly subjective, if not racist or sexist)

3. It never shows us the exact location when we’re booking accommodation. Usually, the locations are at residences and far from public transport

4. It’s highly overrated & commercialized.

This warm hostel in #bangkok, for example, has an open space that reminds me of my compact apartment, but with the additional wooden flooring that I really want someday. I can watch cable TV, DVD, make lunch, play computer, cards, etc., write or just read a book. It even has a nice café downstairs that makes a cup of good coffee for less than 25k rupiah (60 baht).
#traveljournal #asiantrip #solotravel

Personal Finance Tips

Some lessons I took from people who are financially secured:
– Spend less even if you earn more
– Relationship is so much more important than money
– Be generous to others
– Give a portion to God first
– Don’t let money or title define you
– Don’t let other people define you by what you own or wear.

My own personal take: Money is just a number. Increase that number, but don’t hold on to it. You will not die and carry any of it with you. #reminder

View on Path

Life at a Coworking Space

At the workplace:
I waived my ten fingers to my colleague who sat in front of me in excitement, as a way to call his attention and let him know that we can settle for 55 of something (a better deal than the previous one).
The co-founder of that space happened to pass by and that kind & sweet guy just thought I was waiving at him.
He waived his ten fingers back and said, “Hi Shirley!” #coworking #jakarta #april

View on Path

The Art of Negotiation

I was sleepy and tired of dragging my heavy bags throughout the compact city, jumping from one subway to another. Ten friggin hours.

Almost midnight. The friendly Malaysian lady at the transit desk had warned me this morning to check in earlier but between 10pm and 1am. I made a mistake by going to Terminal 1 to reach my transit hotel first without realizing that I must produce a boarding pass to get through immigration. So I went back to T2…

The check-in counter was quiet, but I was ready to enter the departure gate, a tall guy came forward & asked for my boarding pass.

“Are you travelling alone, miss?” he asked friendly.

“Yes,” I said. We chatted a while until he asked me to put my luggage on the scale. Over many years travelling with this airline, I have always passed! 8+5 kgs. I saw it, he saw it.

“You have 3 kilos of excess baggage,” he showed me the picture of a maximum of 10 kilos.

I did leave Jakarta with 8+ kilos, but they didn’t weigh me. Plus, I went shopping all day in the city. But he didn’t know it.

“Oh no. How much do I need to pay? Will it take a long time? I really need to check in to my hotel & get some sleep,” I said.

“Well, you need to pay an extra fee…,” he looked at my boarding pass, and called his supervisor. The third person came and told both of us the same thing we’d already known.

“Miss, you carry 3 kilos extra,” he said.

In my mind, I said I could drop it right there and say OK, but I hate to check my bag & just want to lay down.

“There are shoes there. I will wear my shoes in the morning, cuz now I’m only wearing sandals now!” I said with a big grin on my face.

The supervisor smiled.

“Ok, can,” he said and walked away. The first guy just stared at my pass.

“Well?” I asked.

“Can lah,” he said. I replied with ‘thank you’ and walked away with a victory feeling.

Note to self: Not to be sexist, but this only works with male officials, it doesn’t work when I was dealing with female airline staff in Spain and France. Lol.

📸 the pilot on my last flight