Shikha lives outside of Houston and her youngest son has just headed off to college.
“He just turned into an adult. He voted in the primary election and drove our vehicle to college. He said — ‘with social distancing you all don’t need to come,’ but he sent us a video of everything like how he had arranged his room. He wanted to let us see how he was living.”
While she misses the last of her children who just left for college, she is proud to see the young man he’s grown into.
“Because of COVID-19 and social isolation, distance learning has become so popular. I can be in a classroom, participate, and see others participate. It is more social, it’s not even like social isolation.”
In fact, long before she took GetSetUp classes Shikha was re-touring virtual museums in France with her daughter, who lives in another state. They had visited them when her daughter was just a little girl so it was a nice way to bond over Zoom asking what they both remembered of their last visit and seeing what each thought now.
“So far I’ve taken 5 of them and I like everyone. They are skills you use in everyday life like How to use a smartphone productively, or How to take great photos on your smartphone. This morning I just took a Gmail class. It was particularly helpful. I have a Gmail account but I always use Yahoo and I have been wanting to switch. There are so many things you can do in Gmail since it is more advanced. But I don’t use it as often, however, the class has become a motivation to transition to Gmail now.”
“It works on a platform like Zoom. When social distancing is not a concept and there is no more social isolation there will still be distance learning. Of course, I think it can be improved on but now we can talk in classes and chat — be heard, make our observations, and ask questions.”
She thinks these classes can be a particularly important gateway for adults who cannot travel or get out of their homes as it can help them feel included, part of the mainstream, and in touch.
“The instructors are very friendly and they listen. They are attentive to the classes and any questions you might have. The personal element is quite strong.”
In her free time, you can find Shikha listening to global music from Arabic belly dancing tunes to classical music or Indian classical music. At the same time, she may be tending her garden as she loves it despite the challenges the Texan heat can bring.
“I love gardening! In spring and early summer, we have lots of flowers. In the summer heat, just the flowers from the hibiscus are the only ones that are still growing. They wilt by mid or late morning.”
“I am a former network administrator though for the past 10 years I’ve not been actively employed. I’d like to get back to work full-time if an opportunity I like presents itself. For the past 7 years, I have been a substitute teacher and traveled with my husband whenever I could accompany him.”
The local schools appear to be going back to in-person classes shortly according to Shikha who is eager to get back to normal routines and will be available to cover diverse grades and subjects.
She also enjoys taking care of orphaned animals and has volunteered to rehabilitate birds and squirrels. Taking care of fledglings and nestlings in shifts until the next volunteer comes on and the animals can safely be released into the wild was something she enjoyed doing before the pandemic.
Her passion for wildlife comes right to her home. In her home, she has two sun conures.
“I didn’t know they were so loud and demanding. They came in while I was in a class and nipped at my shirt. They don’t want me to be attentive to anyone else, even a person on the screen.”
Shikha hasn’t clipped their wings. They are curious and try to find out what’s going on by flying around the house. They need to be locked out of the kitchen with treats so they don’t get into the cooking. But she thinks the most important thing she has learned from having them as pets is how to be more patient.
“I loved Italy. It was great to go to all the popular places that everyone goes to but the tiny beaches and quaint towns were where we could savor the experience.”
“I don’t consider myself old. This life enriches you and if you can write about it then you can ultimately live for generations to come.”
In her free time, Shikha writes sometimes in her journal and goes back and reflects on what she has written.
“I can go back and see what I learned from a situation and how that integrates with life in general and how things are different from how things used to be in the past. So much of course is different now with globalization and people’s ability to know more about everything!”
Shikha is learning more as her daily routines shifts with more time and her openness to try new things. Join us for a class and add new friends, skills, and tools to your belt!
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