Becketwood Cooperative
An Active, Independent 55+ Community of Owners in Minneapolis

Then and Now: Creating New Normal

By Ann Lovrien, Becketwood Member

In 2012, I lived alone in rural Kenya for three months. As I was initially shown my little house, Mary, my African mentor, took note of my concerned facial expression. She offered, “You’ll get used to it.” She was right. The dramatically unfamiliar environment became familiar. The daunting conditions became comfortable.

I wrote the following, two weeks into my stay.

I know I’ve arrived at a new normal because:

  • the mosquito net over my bed no longer represents confinement but security
  • daily laps around the pasture are as central to my well-being as sleep
  • I share my house nonchalantly with the smallest of lizards and frogs and the largest of insects

In 2020, we live in the alien world of quarantine and I feel a connection to 2012. As I shopped for groceries this morning, I noticed I felt at ease in my mask and gloves rather than smothered and irritated by them. It reminded me of my mosquito net transition.

I walk around Lake Nokomis nearly every day for my mental health more than for my physical health. Daily pasture walks in Kenya provided the same necessary, elemental grounding in a foreign setting.

Sharing my Kenyan home with creatures took adjustment. Today, not sharing my home or anybody’s home takes adjustment. Five weeks into quarantine, I’m more adjusted than I imagined possible; not a big fan but adjusted.

Human nature needs “normal” and will radically adapt to get it. For this capacity, I am grateful.


Leave a Reply

  • Laura May 6, 2020, 3:08 pm

    I enjoyed reading your article, while in self-isolation in London (the UK has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Europe). Reading is good for the mind during this troubling time. I’d grown up in Viet Nam and always loved mosquito nets over my bed. Many years ago, when I was in my home village, I offered a mosquito net to an American friend. She wasn’t comfortable at first. Then started liking it. Thank you for a nice story. Lake Nokomis you mention makes me homesick for Minnesota.

  • Maura Kolars May 6, 2020, 3:33 pm

    I love this, Ann! Thanks for your perspective! Maura

  • Anonymous May 6, 2020, 5:07 pm

    Eloquently written. You are wise. This was instructive and comforting to me. Thank you.

  • Anonymous May 6, 2020, 8:55 pm

    Yes, wise words!

  • Vanjie Bratt May 6, 2020, 9:40 pm

    A mindful prospective. Much needed these days. Thank you Ann

    • ruthgaylord May 6, 2020, 9:46 pm

      Thank you, An,n for sharing about your experience in Kenya. It’s a perspective like this that is enriching for us all to hear.

  • Terry May 13, 2020, 1:26 pm

    This is a valuable perspective to us all right now. Thanks for sharing.