TALES FROM HUMBER: COVID-19 locked down my birthday

Jun 8, 2021 | Opinion, Tales From Humber

This year I realized how important it is to learn to enjoy your own company.

My birthday is on June 7, and this is the first time I’m celebrating it outside of my country of Ukraine. It’s also my first time celebrating it without my parents.

I’ve always celebrated with my friends back at home since my 15th birthday. We would throw parties or just hang out together. But no matter what I’d had planned, I always used to spend some time with family either with a family breakfast or dinner. I enjoyed the cozy home vibes, and the smiles of my nearest and dearest made me feel happy.

This year is a bit different. There is no party, no dinner and no family.

It is a good thing that technological advancements of the 21st Century allow us to keep in touch via social networks. So instead of hugs and kisses, my relatives were toasting me through the phone screen.

Scarborough Bluffs Park, Ontario, June 7, 2021.

Scarborough Bluffs Park on my birthday. Photo credit: Natalie Vasyliuk

I wanted to spend summer in Canada, because I have a job here and I’d also like to travel and explore the country, or at least the province. I would go home for a week or two, but unfortunately, spending a fortune on tickets and a hotel self-isolation in Canada is something I can’t afford right now.

My birthday is one of my favorite days, but not only is it on a Monday this year, when most of my friends are working, it is also spoiled by lockdown restrictions. Weather forecasts promised a rainy day. I wasn’t planning to do anything. That is, until I woke up and saw the sun from my window. I realized I didn’t want to spend my day in my room watching Netflix.

I have a list of places in Ontario that I want to visit, and the Scarborough Bluffs were among them. I just turned 19, and I won’t let anything spoil this day. Moreover, I don’t need anyone else to enjoy my time.

Writing an article and sharing pizza with the seagulls might not sound like a birthday many wish for, but that’s exactly what I was feeling like doing today.

I wore my favorite eye shadow, I put on a cute outfit, bought the snacks I love and took my camera with me. I got tons of birthday calls and messages and had a great talk with my family.

I went to the Scarborough Bluffs at around 2 p.m. Although traveling there by TTC from Etobicoke was not the best experience, it was so worth it. Catching the rays of the sun and enjoying the view of the Lake Ontario turned out to be a great opportunity to relax and clear my thoughts.

I was surrounded by rocks, gentle waves and solitude. And that was enough to realize how grateful I am for the life and opportunities I have.

I am happy to be here, I’m happy to enjoy my alone time, I’m happy that distance can’t break the bonds between my family and I. And I’m happy I can realize it.