How I’m spending my quarantine period

“If you don’t come out of this quarantine with a new skill, your side hustle started, and more knowledge, you never lacked time, you lacked discipline.” @kaizenexecutive

I saw this post while browsing my Instagram feeds the other day, and this hit me right to the core. You see, we have been confined in our homes for more than a month now, but what have we done or accomplished so far apart from eating, worrying and feeling anxious?

As of this posting, it’s been my 47th day in quarantine and all I did were finish one book (which is only my second out of my 40 target books this year), watch Netflix, browse Facebook, watch Youtube videos, finish my thesis draft (which I already submitted for my advisers’ evaluation), worry and feel anxious, which are not helping me at all.

While it’s productive for some to pass time and distract themselves from feeling anxious and fearful, I felt I could have been more productive in the last 47 days had I come into my senses earlier. But now that we are down to another two-week ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine), I decided to up my game and do something really worthy of my time.

I actually started last week since I read that quote. So, I have listed some of the things I’ve been doing and how I am making the most out of my quarantine period:

  1. Learn French online. Why French? Given a choice, I wanted to learn the Korean language since Korean dramas are hit nowadays, or refresh my basic Spanish language, which I learned way back in college, but I need to learn French for work purposes. Actually, we were required by our company to take some online courses and this was one of the choices. So why not give it a try since I’ve been wanting to learn a foreign language.

I’m in my second week of learning French and I never thought this could be really fun. It’s intimidating and pressuring at first, especially if your native French-speaking boss will send you a Private Message to cheer you up and will tell me to take it as a distraction.

“It’s not a pressure, it’s a distraction. Think of all the places that you can visit and practice your French when the ECQ is lifted. That will distract you,” she told me.

Hmmm… well, that’s something I’m really, really looking forward to.

So far, here are some of my favorite French words: Merci, beaucoup! (Thank you very much), Bonjour (Hello), Enchanté (Nice to meet you), Je mappelle Mylene (My name is Mylene), Excuse-moi (Excuse me), S’il vous plait (please), and oui et non (yes and no).

Note: If you want to learn French, you can DM (direct message) me your email address and I’ll send you an invitation. You have to receive an invite from me or those already using the app so you have a one-week unlimited use.

  1. Write Filipino romance novels. My love for writing started because of my fondness in reading Filipino romance pocketbooks when I was younger. I’d spend hours and hours and late nights just to finish one single pocketbook. My favorite pocketbooks were from Precious Hearts Romance (Filipino) and Mills & Boon (English) because they always have happy endings. Same plots, but I love it. I’m a sucker for happy endings.

My dream was not only to become a bestselling romance writer but to also meet the love of my life just like in my favorite pocketbooks. I’m that hopeless romantic.

So, I tried writing my own romance stories. I had so many ideas but only got to write and finish two. I submitted them to publishers before but they rejected them, saying my stories (my babies) were “too juvenile” and I used too many English words. It was disappointing but at the same time, I also got too busy working that I never got the time to write again. I also had my church activities and my personal life to deal with and so on and so forth.

Also, what made it really difficult for me to write and finish another romance story was that it was too hard for me to accept that love stories don’t always have happy endings.

You see, I finished those two stories before without having been into a relationship. But after I got into a relationship myself and had my heart broken a few times that stopped me from writing a romance story, thinking there’s isn’t really a happy ending.

Anyways, I’ll write more about this in my next post.

  1. Read one book a week. Goodreads said I am 9-10 books behind my 40 target books this year so I need to also up my reading. I’ve been so caught up with watching Netflix movies and Kdramas during this ECQ that I missed the joy and satisfaction of reading books.

Here are the books I finished reading so far: Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes and Living Whole Without a Better Half: Biblical Truth for the Single Life by Wendy Widder.

At the moment, I’m halfway reading the Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Power of Favor by Joel Osteen, and The Way of the Seal by Mark Divine. Well, that’s three books every week. Hopefully, I get to finish them before this ECQ ends.

Blue cloth coaster courtesy of Therese D. Thank you.
  1. Learn how to cook. I love to eat, but I don’t really like cooking, to be honest. Maybe because mom always cooks for us, and because I hate the preparation and the agony of having to wait to eat what I want.

However, in 2017, I was forced to cook some of my favorite meals when my parents went to the United States for a year; and my married sister who used to live in our house and was our designated cook went for a two-day vacation.

My mom said if you want to eat good food, you have to learn how to cook one. But I won’t elaborate on that anymore because you can read my entire post on Why I Decided to Cook My Own Meals.

Since this pandemic began, I committed to the 16:8 intermittent type of fasting for religious purposes. My new normal is not eating dinner. So, after going without food for 16 hours, obviously, I will be hungry in the morning.

So, I need to eat breakfast as early as I can, usually, around 6:30 am to 7 am to avoid getting dizzy while doing my daily exercise.

However, if I want to eat early, I need to rise up early as well and cook food for me and my family.

Disclaimer: Don’t expect too much from me. I still don’t know how to cook some of the elaborative meals. My mom still cooks our food, she just lets me help by cooking fried rice, frying fish, meat, egg, etc, making coffee, and let me prepare basic ingredients for our lunch, which I think is better than nothing.

My staple fried rice
Egg omelet
  1. Daily 5-km walks and skipping ropes. We were told not to go out of our house, but I need to get some fresh air and a little bit of the sun, too. Luckily, we live in a neighborhood where there is less crowd. I also make sure that I walk around the village early in the morning for an hour or 5-km, wearing my mask, less contact with people just wave, and then skip rope after.

I used to work out inside our home by doing some high-intensity interval training (HIIT), but when I suffered a severe lower back pain a few weeks ago to the point where I had difficulty standing up and sitting down for three days, I decided to go easy on my workouts and went for relaxed, lighter workouts like walking, stretching, and jumping ropes.

  1. Learn how to market and budget. Since both my parents are in their senior years already, they aren’t allowed to go out during the ECQ so I was left with no choice but to go to the market on my own to buy our food supply for a week or two.
My errand/market girl look

I haven’t been to the grocery for more than a month now because I hate lining up and waiting for hours. Besides, we prefer fresh meat, fish, and vegetables so the wet market is really our only option. We avoid buying and eating canned goods in as much as we can due to its preservatives.

Little by little, I learned how to pick fresh goods and buy only what’s enough for our needs. I am tempted to hoard and buy more food or supplies so I won’t have to go out more often but some food can only last for a week or days. Like tomatoes, you can’t stock them for too long. The maximum is one week or they will be rotten.

Exodus 16:4 said, “The Lord said to Moses, “Now I am going to cause food to rain down from the sky for all of you. The people must go out every day and gather enough for that day. In this way, I can test them to find out if they will follow my instructions.”

The Bible tells us just to gather what we need. If we don’t obey God’s instructions, the food will be full of worms and will rot. Besides, this is not the time to hoard food. We just need to trust God to provide for all our needs.

  1. Lastly, read the Bible and pray every day. This is a must for me every single day from waking up to before going to sleep. I’ve never seen myself so diligent and passionate about reading the Bible and praying as I am these days especially now we are facing tough and uncertain times. No vaccines and medicines were discovered yet to cure this Corona Virus.

 We are facing an invisible enemy, but we have a powerful and matchless God who is our hope, divine healer, protector, redeemer, and savior. But we must seek Him every day and find comfort in His promises that He will save us and help us get through this pandemic. There is nothing impossible with God.

When I feel anxious, scared, or afraid, which I feel every day as many people do these days, I go to Him to seek His comfort and assurance that this situation we are in today, this pandemic will end soon… He will save us and fulfill the number of our days, in the mighty name of Jesus, amen!






Published by Mylene Orillo

Mylene Orillo is a contributing writer at My Pope Philippines. Prior to that, she contributed to the Health & Lifestyle magazine.  She's a former correspondent at The Manila Times; former editor-in-chief of TravelPlus magazine; and former assistant editor of Health & Lifestyle, Zen Health, and DiabetEASE magazines by FAME Publishing, Inc., a company owned by cardiologist Dr. Rafael Castillo who has given her the much-needed break and opportunity in the health industry and medical field.  Her previous job as a Media Consultant at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Writer-Researcher at the Headquarters Philippine Army ignited her passions for charity, volunteering, selfless service, and love of country. As a young girl, she loved reading her mom's collection of Mills & Boons pocketbooks, which started her passion to write romance stories.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Sto. Tomas in España, Manila. She is now working towards earning her master's degree hopefully this year. She loves traveling, long-distance running, reading romance and non-fiction books, watching Korean Drama series, feel-good rom coms, military movies, and documentaries during her spare time. Someday, she wants to meet Prince William and Pope Francis, settle down with the love of her life and have a family and kids of her own; and become a bestselling romance author.

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