Rachel, Malaysia

I've learned to show empathy toward other races, to be more respectful toward other cultures and to diversity. That's the thing I'm in the learning process of everyday.

In my country we only have one race. There's only Vietnamnese. We speak the same language and share the same culture. When you live in a country with different religions and  races, you think it's so cool but then you start hanging out with the people and you realize they talk shit about other races. I live in an Indian town and they behave strangely toward me just because I'm a foreigner. Tension like this is not cool, especially during this time. I think covid is a test for harmony and how we can get along with each other when put in the same place.

I've tried to adapt to the changes. It's kind of like a roller coaster. In the first 6 months I felt great because finally I had time for myself. I could take care of myself,eat healthy and be more productive. After 6 months, I have no feeling and I start to lose my taste in music and movies because I haven't been to other places so I lose my motivation and passion. I haven't been dating anyone for a year and half and I feel okay with that. I think the whole thing is a very fun yet emotional journey for me. I still have to learn.

The period has made me rethink my relationship with my family and my friends back home. I thought they were just my family and friends before but now I realise they are more important to me than I thought. They are the most important thing in my life at the moment.  There were days I dreamt about being at home with my parents and touching my dog and I was crying. It was very emotional for me to think about my family. Before I thought I could be away from them. I'm an independent woman but I actually need them; they are my roots.

I have learned to take responsibility for myself. Health became the most important thing to me since the pandemic hit. I had the chance to take care of myself, do yoga, work out, and I quit smoking. I tried to smoke again and I couldn't  get used to it anymore. I feel great that I took good care of myself.

I have become more true to myself than ever because of this time. I'm grateful that I've learned  to be independent. I can be with myself and I don't need anyone else. I was craving for an intimate relationship. We were told we need a boyfriend or husband in our life to keep us company and have family but now I feel great to be alone and I don't feel ashamed about it even though my friends joke about it still.