The pandemic and quarantine has given us new ways to do things we need and want in life. Our kids and students will be learning online in the coming months. Health buffs who used to frequent the gym, now do their routines at home, sometimes, with their personal trainer online, as well. This is the same with mall rats, who do not have a choice but to, also, do online shopping. Even telehealth is on the rise as a new way to consult with the doctor and continue attending therapy sessions. Prayer meetings, Holy Masses and other religious services are done, virtually, too. We are surrounded with virtual activities! Maybe we ought to try them to connect with friends!
Virtual activities is the way to go to be social, these days…
The extroverts are the ones who got a major blow in the recent turn of events. Most, if not all of our social lives, are on the line as mass gathering is prohibited and social/physical distancing is enforced outside. Luckily, online chats and video conferencing has made it possible to still meet and hone relationships with our families, co-workers, relatives and friends. To add to that, most platforms offer it for free, you just have to create an account and all your friends are a click or an invite away. You just have to be creative and your thirst for interface will soon be quenched.
Most of the suggested virtual activities here can be done in any chat or video conferencing platforms. But with Zoom’s screen-sharing and annotation features, we move a notch up in our virtual talks, meetup, parties and events!
Catching up and sharing the latest news, truly never gets old. This is especially true with very close friends who haven’t seen each other for a while. I have recently got in touch with my college best friends and though we’ve had quite a few seconds of quiet moments here and there, my heart is truly happy we had that chat. For me, college days were when my life really started to get difficult so my college peeps were the ones who stuck with me through those times and they will always have a special place in my heart.
Since we took the same course, almost have the same jobs presently, we also updated each other at how we conduct business during these times. We, neither, used the screen share or the annotation features but I have showed them some of the virtual backgrounds I use at work.
My GC (group chat) with my mom friends from my son’s school is, I must say, the busiest of all. We might miss saying Hi for a day or two but a week never passes that we have not talked about anything happening in our lives. It is one of the things that kept and keeping me sane through this period.
I got this idea from my choir mates, the younger batch. Funny that there are only two groups of people I shared drinks with, in my life: college classmates (yes, the entire class!) and choir mates. And now, I want to try this virtually with any of my existing group of relatives or friends! I guess it’s the quarantine effect kicking in.
But I am thinking, it’s the safest time to drink with friends! You’re at home, they’re in theirs. You won’t have problems of driving or getting home since you are at home. I am also guessing, not only drinks will pour, but also hearts. Since we are all struggling at this time, there can never be a better time to drink your heart out!
Chikahan with pictures to share
Now, you might say its corny. What?! You have to prepare for something before you meet? But this I believe, is the one to share with those you grew up with, those with whom you came way, way back with. They will either be your siblings, your cousins or your childhood friends! Now, I wish I have done this on Zoom but, to be honest, I haven’t yet. What I have with my cousins is a Viber group and we (some of us), sometimes, share old pictures (even, videos) or even those taken just recently. It makes us share a laugh, some teasing and a good old reminiscing.
If pictures (diagrams and other visual cues) make both teaching and learning in a classroom easier, I think sharing them virtually curtails the distance and makes loving and caring easier in other environments such as my cousins GC.
On Zoom, I am thinking that before meeting, everyone prepares a piece or two of their favorite pictures of one another. It would definitely be a hit for everyone to talk at the same time when one of you shares your screen showing your chosen picture. When you have settled, it would be fun to talk about how things used to be in the past and to plan the same happenings in the near future. After all, this pandemic taught us to value our families, relationships and friends over other riches that we have had no use for in quarantine.
A tita and a Filipino, videoke, of course, is a must in this list! You can always do videoke on your own, I know. But, don’t you have more fun when you have to line up for the microphone and wait for your turn to sing your song? Or when a song starts playing and you ask, whose song is this?
For me the beauty of having a videoke at a party is listening and admiring somebody else sing and also showing your singing prowess on your turn to sing. I actually wait for the flaws, either my own or another’s and have a good laugh about it. I also love it when a very familiar song plays and everybody sings!
I could have had videoke night last time on Zoom but my friends chickened out, haha! See, even the planning and invite stage is fun already! Kidding aside, it got cancelled so, I am still just thinking of the way to go about it. You will definitely use the share-screen feature. Maybe you could take turns sharing YouTube screens. But, I am suggesting to use the chat box to list requested songs and to honor the order it has been entered.
I could have done this with my sisters in law, with whom I share curiosity on theater plays. Well, they love it, I am still in the curious stage. We could have watched POTO and Cats together when it live-streamed for free on YouTube. But, it is only now that I thought of it.
Anyway, this could replace our long-lost movie dates with family and friends. Next time we find free streams, let’s do it with friends! Perhaps, we can just play stored copies of movies or even series we like through screen share. Don’t forget to cook popcorn and pour drinks in oversized cups!
For the artistic titas, even those just trying hard to be, this is a soothing activity to do together. Pull up Zoom’s whiteboard and permit everyone to annotate so all of you can make a mark on it while you are talking. You can take turns or you can just draw whenever you want. You can reveal the marker’s identity or you can leave it hidden. Watch what happens! Save it and it will be your Chika Episode Masterpiece! I am certain, it will be one to put in your pandemic capsule.
Getting tita-er by the minute, I am so sorry! But I would really love to try this with a willing soul. I have watched my father play this game for countless hours in my childhood. I grew up playing this myself and I have also taught my son how to play and surprisingly, he also enjoys it like my dad and I! I have to say it is calming and challenging at the same time. Because, really, if you lose at solitaire, there is no hard feelings with yourself or with the cards. So just gather the cards, shuffle and start again. Just like what we have to do after this pandemic.
Let me know if you like to play with me. We’d use screen share and annotate features. This is to try turning this one-player game into a cooperative one where we would take turns to move the cards until the game is won. No pointing fingers. No judgment. Just the game of solitaire, shared by two to three, or more, if they are all willing.
Game Night Games
If you are not sentimental or artistic enough to try doodling, then may be, you can try a drawing game, Pictionary. Decide on categories. For a virtual edition of this game, its best to pool categories that you will use for your team’s turn to draw and the other team will guess. Just provide proof that you are really trying to draw that word.
Like doodling, Zoom’s share screen-white board will be used. You can also use a timer from the internet and share your computer sound so everybody knows if time is up.
You can also play Charades as usual, except for the virtual edition pool of categories, which cannot be common (everybody shares). You have your own set of words with you, which you will make the others guess and they have theirs. This will prevent any cheating bouts to occur.
Share your special occasion
We have seen quarantine celebrations on social media recently. If anything, we learned that nothing stops us to share special moments with our loved ones. Virtually share these simple but special celebrations with family and friends. Have them watch on video call during cake candle blowing, opening presents, even eating!
For my younger titas out there, have a date with your special someone virtually. Like a blind man, whose other senses amplify in the absence of sight, I believe that the other aspects of your relationship will also tend to increase to cope with a limited physical presence. Yours will be a stronger bond, tested by a world-wide pandemic. Use this time to feel fonder for one another, just as the popular saying goes.. Absence makes the heart go fonder.
Basically, any activity together
If we can do videoke or watch a movie together, then, basically, we can do any activity together! Some of my younger colleagues explored Tik Tok and they danced together. My mom friends and I seem to have a support group for exploring and deciding on homeschooling, recently. It depends on what you and your circle of friends are similarly interested in.
Do you want to work out together? Screen share a workout routine and do it together. Are you into baking? Conduct mini-baking lessons with your friends, where you teach them how to bake. Set up a meeting, send the ingredients list and the invite and you’re on your way to a baking bonding! Want to show off the plants you recently grew in your garden? No one’s stopping you!
All in all, let me just say that we have lost a lot of what we considered mundane privileges in this pandemic. We, now, yearn for what we have taken for granted in the past. But, see, we still have the people we care about. And technology. God is good, He gave us this technology that we can make use of today. So, let us not waste any more time. Let us use what we have to care for things and people who truly matter to us.
I have also listed virtual activities for kids. If you have them, click here.