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The COVID-19 Lockdown Has Created A Tradition for My Family

The pandemic might be temporary but this tradition will last

By Chau TrieuPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
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The COVID-19 Lockdown Has Created A Tradition for My Family
Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

I have been living with my brother and sister-in-law in an 86m2 apartment in Hanoi, Vietnam for eight months. Before July 2021, I was the only one who stayed at home regularly because I work virtually. My brother and his wife both had full-time jobs and had to work at their office. 

Then the lockdown was issued to prevent COVID-19 positive cases from increasing day by day. The citizens of Hanoi have been practicing social distancing for a month, which means working from home is now is a must. 

Before, the three of us only saw each other at dinner. After having our shared meal, we would go back to our separate rooms, be glued to our electronic devices, and wouldn't see one another until the following evening. 

From July, we had to spend all day at home, working, eating, exercising, and not talking much.

Then, on the Saturday evening of our first week of lockdown, my sister-in-law said: "Let's watch a movie."

No one opposed that idea. We all needed a break from our laptops, tablets, and phones. So we turned on Netflix and chose a random horror movie.

Since then, we have been religiously having Movie Night at least once per week, usually on the weekends when all work-related concerns and worries have passed. 

As a traditional Asian family, even though we're relatively young, we are not touchy-feely and don't talk to each other much. 

Like most Asian households, we are the "show, don't tell" type of family. If someone is upset, we offer them cut-up fruits. To tell our loved ones that we miss them, we make a huge homemade meal and invite them over. If we want to express our affection, we resort to actions rather than words.

Over time, it has been incredibly difficult for me to ask my parents or sibling if something has gone wrong. It is easier to cook a big pot of phở and hope they would talk about their problems over dinner. I wasn't taught to act like this, but my parents never discussed their problems with me and my brother, so we don't tell them and each other ours.

I do not totally agree with my upbringing. Using actions to show someone you have their back when they're in trouble is great, but this also means you can only come to their aid when there's something to deal with, and vice versa. This way of living taught me to shy away from heart-to-heart conversations, which is why I find it so challenging to tell my parents a simple 'I love you'.

There are some problems that a bowl of fruits cannot solve. There are things about your family members that you will never know unless you communicate with them. There are layers of emotions that can only be unveiled by talking about them and facing them head-on. What is the use of signaling to your family that you will always be there for them if they need you, if no one is comfortable enough to come forward and ask for help?

This is why Movie Night is such a big deal for me. Just by staying in the same room, sitting on the same couch, watching the same movie, and discussing our thoughts, our communication is already much better. We get to know each other's mindsets, ideologies, and perceptions on a deeper level. We debate other people's difficult matters to realize how empathetic we can be, and hence, grow more confident to come to each other for our own difficult matters. 

All it took was: 

Let's watch a movie!

immediate family
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About the Creator

Chau Trieu

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