Weekend Reading
June 14, 2020

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Someone asked me this week whether and how reopening was impacting my day to day life. I think the answer so far is not very much. I’m still social distancing and not yet taking public transportation regularly, so my routine is similar to the routine I’ve had through most of quarantine.

There are some tiny differences, though. I made and went to a doctor’s appointment, which involved riding a bus. I’m walking more and feeling more comfortable being outside. The number of people I’ve taken socially distanced walks with is now three (my mom + two friends) rather than one (my mom). And a few coffee shops in my neighborhood have now reopened for pickup. It feels like such a treat to be able to order an iced coffee, pick it up, and sip it under my mask as I walk along the streets that are becoming steadily less abandoned.

I don’t think I would have looked at grabbing an iced coffee to go as an exciting field trip, or the coffee itself as a supreme treat, at any time in the past. But with the bustling city that I love having been dormant for three months now, it really does feel like a gift to run any kind of errand, support any kind of local business, eat or drink anything that I didn’t make myself.

All of this echoes what I already felt about the quarantine experience as a whole, which is that it puts a magnifying class over every small, good thing that I might otherwise take for granted. It’s made me more aware of my surroundings. It’s made me resolve never to take simple acts of affection, like hugging, for granted again. And it’s made me feel especially grateful for my apartment, with all of its little imperfections and things that tend to break and need fixing.

New Yorkers are navigating phase 1 of reopening in different ways; I’m definitely on the more cautious side of the spectrum, waiting to see how this phase goes before I do more. My mom and I still aren’t meeting up indoors or hugging (even though this NY Times article gives good instructions for how to do that carefully), I’m still masking, and I’m still avoiding groups or any socializing that isn’t distanced. With any luck, things will feel encouraging at the end of this month, and more will be possible.

For now, I’m looking at reopening in two ways: first, a tremendous appreciation of watching businesses reopen. Many have been forced to close, and I’m celebrating the ones that have survived and are bravely opening their doors again, even if it’s strange and piecemeal (one little coffee shop I went into is doing drinks to go, but put a sweet sign on one of their dine-in tables saying “dine-in will probably be phase 3”). The thing I’ve missed most throughout all of this, honestly, is the city itself, with its amazing energy and vibe. It will take a long time for that to return in full force, and I’ll be cheering each step toward normalcy.

I’m also thinking back to my birthday post last week, and considering the ways in which this year felt small even before covid-19. As I said, that’s the biggest downside of depression, for me: being unable to do and create and connect, even when I want to. Losing time. I make meaning of this by holding myself accountable to do what I can, when I can, and I hope that this summer will reopen some doors: cooking, writing, approaching my business energetically, reaching out to friends.

Here’s hoping. Happy Sunday, friends.


First, how adorable are these vegan pop tarts?

I love the idea of a tofu Milanese, and this whole plate looks scrumptious (post is written in French, but recipe instructions are translated into English, too).

I tried Jessica’s banana bread mug cake as an afternoon treat this week, and it’s every bit as delicious and easy as it looks.

Speaking of afternoon treats, and bananas, Lisa’s almond butter banana bites are the perfect combination of chocolatey + nutty + sweet.

I’m a big fan of dousing my potato salad in vegan mayo, but this is a lighter spin on the recipe, and it looks delicious.


1. On topic for today, a quick look at the success of self-quarantine—no matter how difficult and monotonous it can be!

2. If you’ve been donating to organizations and individuals who are supporting black people and/or fighting injustice this month, and you feel a little overwhelmed about budgeting and organizing your contributions, you’re not alone. I’ve been thinking about how I can make some recurring donations work, and I found Gianni’s guide (via Instagram) very helpful.

3. When I was doing my acute care rotations, I often conducted patient interviews with the help of a medical interpreter, as it wasn’t unusual to have patients who spoke a different language than I do. We had a phone number to call, which I guess isn’t so different from the virtual medical interpretation happening now. It’s such important work, and I can’t imagine how busy and difficult it has been in the last three months.

4. An interesting look at the lingering symptoms of Covid-19, and another. It’s known that autoimmunity can be induced by viral infection, so it definitely seems possible that such a reaction is happening with the virus.

5. In the New York Times, Siddhartha Mukherjee delivers a thoughtful, narrative-driven look at the possibilities of rapidly developing a Covid-19 vaccine.

I’ll be back soon with a favorite new sandwich. Have a peaceful night, friends.


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