029C4: The DFA Adventure

Two Bowls of Pork Sinigang

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 439

After yesterday's Vesak Day work holiday, both Tobie and I had scheduled some off-time to get our passports renewed. We weren't 100% sure if things would push through since things were sort of touch and go over the past few weeks with the different quarantine levels. But by some miracle, our appointments weren't affected by the rescheduling that had been happening all the way to last week. Crazy pandemic stuff. So we had the day off but it's not like we could relax given we had this big errand that needed to get settled. And everyone knows how stressful dealing with government bureaucracy can be on a good day, what more with the extenuating circumstances of these "unprecedented times".

Of course, the only thing more stressful than considering things might get rescheduled is the fact things were pushing through and so we actually had to leave BGC. This included all the fun little details like how Megamall (well Mandaluyong) has its own specific contact tracing solution that was different from the supposed national system and making sure we had all the needed documents for the passport renewal itself to avoid needless scrambling to get photocopies made at the mall.

Despite Parking Building C surprisingly being closed this morning, we still managed to get to the mall in time to queue for our 01:00pm appointment before 12:30pm. It was still pretty stressful because everyone's idea of social distancing varies, especially when balanced against their eagerness to get into the actual DFA office. And there's just the general fear that comes with being with a bunch of people in an enclosed air-conditioned space in the middle of a pandemic. Tobie and I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible while still accomplishing our goal. Thankfully, we got through the entire process by 02:00pm, so I guess for the most part DFA delivered on its time commitment, more or less. 

Lunch at the Glass Garden

We had a few more errands to settle while at the mall, but there was still a general feeling of needing to rush through things in order to return to the safety of the Sietch as quickly as possible. We did risk having lunch at the mall since they had this interesting Glass Garden setup where they had these isolated tables set up at an atrium and we could order from any of the nearby restaurants. It still felt a little tense, but at least we were definitely far away from other people. 

By the time we got home, I was feeling pretty exhausted even though we didn't exactly do all that much. I guess the stress of being super vigilant about my mask being on trying to maintain social distancing despite strangers steadily inching towards you every time the line has a whisper of a chance of moving. As much as a lot of it is part of what we love to tag as hygiene theater, for the most part, it's all we have given the snail's pace of our country's vaccination efforts and how COVID-19 continues to rage across the country and around the world. I've only had my first Sinovac shot, so I'm nowhere near protected, and Tobie isn't even scheduled for one yet. Going out in public is still a lot to process and I guess it drained me more than expected.

Closed SM Cinemas
I miss our old lives, but we're not there yet. And I definitely feel like I can't quite handle public spaces like the mall unless absolutely necessary. I'd be a lot more open to having guests over at the Sietch occasionally since we can better control our level of exposure, but then our building still won't allow guests, so there's that. I miss our friends but we're not yet at a point where it's safe enough to meet and just be together again. I miss hugging people but we can only content ourselves with weird distant waving as if we were all pantomiming washing windows.

This pandemic is so tiring.