Matching Colors and Moods

Woman in lavendar garden
Watering garden
Couple with red tree
Couple wearing masks

I am 80 years old, a petite lady from Lithuania, living in an apartment house in suburban Northern California. I grew up in an apartment that is very similar to the one I share now with my husband. When the pandemic was announced, my daughter asked me to wear a mask and we have not given each other a hug since March. I miss the three kisses and a hug we used to exchange every time we met with family and friends.

But there were some wonderful changes in my life that took place. In June of 2020 I was notified that I have received a government rent assistance program called Section 8. I have been hoping for this for the last 20 years! Rents have come down in our area and we moved to a two bedroom place with spacious balcony and a pool, and a wonderful view onto the trees. Our previous bedroom looked out into a parking lot and densely built up street.

We love to dance tango and used to go to milongas in San Francisco at least once a week. So today we bought some laminate floor panels in order to cover the carpet and start dancing in our living room. And we have an activity for Saturday mornings with my daughter: a Russian guide from Rome prepares a talk about a town in Italy on a weekly basis. My daughter and I sit with a sliding door wide open and we listen to a video tour by Anna and her archeologist husband! Their "Promenades from Home" have inspired us to start Italian lessons on zoom with a hiking friend Roberta. She is a native speaker and is as elegant and beautiful as a young Anita Ekberg in Fellini's "8 and a 1/2"! My daughter's family always welcomes me in the garden and watch the flowers and pumpkins, sweet peas and figs grow. We have watched films on a larger screen in the garden. My teenage grandchildren are not in a constant hurry anymore. I saw them lying in hammocks and playing tennis, doing crossword puzzles and biking.

Overall, the pace of life has changed for the better for our family. We are less rushed, more thoughtful about what we eat, what we say, how we dress. I have enjoyed changing my clothes in order to avoid shopping and still have a sense of something new. I have added new pockets and collars from my colorful collection of scarves, cut off sleeves and made skirts shorter and puffier, made masks to match my outfits. And voila! The beautiful autumn is over, the long-needed rains are coming down and hopefully vaccine will be available soon so that we can stop using Zoom. Then we can attend milongas again, and dance Argentinian tango cheek to cheek, drink tea and watch movies, laugh and go to the library, and to Florence, and to a sewing studio, and hug and kiss with hello, good-bye and for no reason at all, happy to see each other without masks.