This post is not to showcase any new beads, although I am including my week of pink and yellow pictures, as I’m currently obsessed with that colour combination. I just wanted to reflect on the one year anniversary since our lives were turned upside down by COVID-19. I hope some of you will add your thoughts about how your life has been affected and whether or not your bead habits have changed during this time.

This week has been full of nostalgia for me. During lunch breaks, my co-workers and I have been chatting (while 6 feet apart) about how we had no idea this was coming. I remember during the week before March Break, people who had trips planned were trying to decide whether or not to cancel. We had teachers who were planning to go to Portugal, Cuba and Florida and my friend Trisha was booked to go to England, where she was going to meet up with some British ladies at a Trollbeads store. By the time we went home on Thursday, our government made the announcement that school would not return for two weeks after our one week break. Little did we know that we wouldn’t return until next September! On Friday only half our students showed up and my teaching partner and I decided to clean the room and to send home the students’ indoor shoes. There were whispers in the halls that the liquor stores were going to close and that we should stop there on our way home. By the time the weekend started, most people had cancelled their trips and we were all in a bit of a daze, not really understanding the significance of what was happening.

I believe it was a few days later that I was unable to get ahold of my Trollbeads USA contact, and after some digging I found out she had been let go. My contract was clearly no longer valid and I selfishly wondered if that was the end of my bead samples.

Once my workplace closed, I stopped wearing bracelets every day and I certainly stopped wearing necklaces. While school did start back up for us online, we were not yet doing the Zoom thing, so we got in the habit of not dressing very well, to say the least. After some time, I was able to find a contact in Denmark for Trollbeads, but it was clear that things were not operating as normal, as was to be expected. The land border between Canada and the USA closed and remains so even now. My friends and I used to take a short trip to Michigan to go shopping every few months, but now we haven’t been for over a year.

Some bead companies, namely OHM, have embraced the concept of staying at home. They started their OHM Studio 2 Go, where you piece together wax parts, which are then cast in silver, in order to create a unique bead. I believe if you are in Bangkok, you can go to their flagship store to try it out. On Thursdays they do a Stay Home and Ohm livestream on Facebook. All the days can be such a blur and I bet this weekly event helps some people to feel a passing of time. I’m actually feeling like it’s February currently, because we had to go online for school for all of January.

So here we are in March of 2021. Many people have struggled with loss, whether it be of a loved one, a job, simple pleasures such as meeting friends for coffee or a sense of purpose. I think for some bead collectors, beads have become even more important in their lives. The act of choosing (mostly online these days for a lot of us), waiting for the mail and then opening the package can be a bright light in what might be an otherwise dreary day. For other people (and I’m more in this camp), beads have become less important as other hobbies or interests have replaced the act of bead play and making combinations for wearing to work. My days consist of going to work, coming home, going to work, coming home. My new hobbies that help me get through the days are playing Animal Crossing New Horizons and building LEGO sets. Even though we can currently go shopping where I live, if I want to go into the Pandora store, there is usually a lineup and they don’t carry nearly the amount of stock they once did. Supply chains have been affected, so collections are not arriving in a timely manner, as they once used to.

With people slowly getting vaccinated, our lives will likely soon gain a semblance of normalcy. I will always now think of the ‘before times’, when we didn’t think twice about going into a store…it was just so EASY.

Please, feel free to share your thoughts about this one year anniversary. How has your life changed? Has anything changed for the better? Are your bead buying and wearing habits the same as before? I’d like to wish you all good health and happiness!