Things to learn right now

photo by Ricky Kharawala

When LAUSD closed due to the coronavirus epidemic, my kid came home with two week’s worth of schoolwork. Now we are at the end of week two, and have learned the closure will be longer than anticipated. Since then, there have been additional homework packets, online class meetings, science videos to watch (from a specified website), and required reading. Needless to say, we have a lot on our plate. I appreciate all the efforts the school is making to adapt to this change, but my emotions are mixed and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Aside from planning and prepping meals from limited grocery visits, I am constantly refreshing the news on my phone, and hoping for a positive turn of events. Instead, I see death tolls rise and evidence of younger victims. The future of the world is a big question mark right now and there are no answers. The best thing I can do is maintain my sanity. I’m not really sure how “back to normal” will look — a week, a month, or even a year from now. I can’t tell my daughter what grade she will be in next school year, because I don’t even know when the next school year will officially start. I don’t know when it will be safe to hug anyone outside of our immediate family.

I believe traditional education is important, but I know there are a lot of other things we should learn. Right now, my kid is learning the importance of sterilizing surfaces, physical distancing, and washing her hands way more than she is used to — difficult lessons for a very social six-year old. She has to learn that she can’t hug, laugh, or play with her friends. She has to understand why Daddy is sad he is at home right now. She has to understand her parents don’t have answers to a lot of things, but are doing the best they can to keep her safe.

What started out as a simple post turned into ramblings about my feelings. I digress. Here is a list of a few things I want to put on our “to learn” list:

Learn the Metric System

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According to this website (https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/55895/countries-havent-adopted-metric-system), only three countries have not adapted the metric system: The United States, Burma, and Liberia. That article was written in 2014, and at that time, Burma was taking the steps to slowly adopt it. So, in order to stay globally competitive, learning the metric system is the way to go.


Become fluent in another language

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I am guilty of this. I know bits and pieces of other languages but am not fluent (even conversationally) in any language outside of English. Yes, there are translation apps and programs, but to me, speaking fluently is like gold. This website (https://www.lifehack.org/530483/7-most-important-languages-for-english-speakers-learn-2020) posted on March 5th, 2020, says the top seven languages to learn are:

  1. Mandarin
  2. German
  3. Portuguese
  4. Spanish
  5. Arabic
  6. Russian
  7. Hindi

Cooking Skills

My cooking skills stem from: watching my mother cook, following recipes, taking cooking classes, and through trial and error. I can throw some leftovers together to make something edible, and I have a few solid recipes up my sleeve. However, I would never make it as a “Chopped” contestant. I’ve been meaning to read some books such as “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking” by Samin Nosrat, and watch some Julia Child videos. On my list of things to learn are:

  • Skin and debone a fish
  • Master sauce-making
  • How to cut vegetables quickly and skillfully
  • How to build a campfire and cook over it

Finance

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Because, of course.

  • How interest works
  • How to prepare and follow a budget
  • Ways to financially survive
  • How to plan for three months of no income or resources

Family History

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This is important for the fun and the not-so-fun aspects.

  • How each parent “launched” into adulthood
  • Stories about overcoming the odds
  • Skills and achievements
  • How parents met
  • Medical history
  • Psychological history
  • Relatives including stepchildren and estranged family members
  • at-risk diseases
  • immigration stories

On that note, I wish that you and your families are safe and healthy. Until next time.