A year of bonding

Students and teachers discuss balancing alone time and family time

Mira Wagner, Staff Writer

The beginning of quarantine that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic proved relaxing for physics teacher Michael Lordan. The extra time at home and alleviated stress from work allowed him and his wife, science teacher Julie Choi, to strengthen their bond through various activities like puzzles and board games, including a board game called Aeons End. 

“When we first went into quarantine, there was a ton of spending time together doing dorky stuff that I really enjoyed,” Lordan said. “I kind of want to get back into having more time like that now, but I feel like the workload is much higher this year, so I don’t have as much time to do stuff like that.”

Toddler (now sophomore) Itai Lavi plays with his two older brothers. Photo by Moriah Lavi // Used with permission (Moriah Lavi)

Sophomore Itai Lavi also began to spend more time with his family, such as playing sports with his two older brothers and having family lunches and dinners. Prior to quarantine, Lavi found that his family members preferred to maintain their independence.

However, while Lordan also sees issues that could emerge as a result of always being in close proximity with the same group, he would still choose to quarantine with family. 

“I do think there’s a lot of challenges to spending so much time with just a small circle of individuals, just one person or a small household of people, just because you’re almost stuck together,” Lordan said. 

Freshman Mia Tsuchida, having a similar perspective to both Lavi and Lordan, notices that quarantine has helped her and her brother connect and understand each other better as they used to fight more prior to quarantine. However, she finds that spending an adequate amount of time by herself is essential, especially during quarantine. 

“I see my family a lot more during quarantine, and it’s important to have some time away from them because before, we weren’t with our families a lot,” Tsuchida said. “So now I think it’s important to have some alone time so you don’t go crazy.” 

Lavi also makes sure to spend some time alone as he realizes that too much time spent with the same group of people can lead to problems, especially since he is only able to interact in-person with his family rather than his friends. As he cannot partake in many of the extracurriculars, like certain contact sports, he participated in last year, he has more time to spend with family, alone or online with friends.

“There are times where you definitely need more alone time because it’s hard to be in the same place with the same people all the time,” Lavi said. “At the same time, I know being alone can take a toll on some people, and I think just finding a balance of how much time you can be alone or with others is the best thing to do.”

Balancing time spent alone and time spent with family is almost intuitive to Lordan, and is an important part of his life. Most of the activities he did alone before quarantine have not changed as he still finds time for video games, jogs and bike rides. 

Graphic by Mira Wagner

“I think it sort of happens naturally that my wife and I are very much always together,” Lordan said. “We’re pretty good about honoring each other’s alone time when we want alone time and spending time together when we’re up for hanging out. I don’t think it’s been something we had to work on specifically, it just sort of happened naturally.”

Tsuchida was pleased to find that balancing her time with her family and time by herself has come more easily than she would have thought. While playing basketball with her brother or watching movies with her parents, she says she is able to feel more deeply connected with her family while still maintaining a healthy amount of time for herself. 

“My favorite thing [about quarantine] is getting to see my family a lot more,” Tsuchida said. “Before quarantine, I would barely see my parents because they would be at work. So now after school I can see them and hang out with them. I’d definitely rather be quarantined with my family [than alone] just because I think it’s important to be close to your family.”

Freshman Tia Tsuchida and her brother pose for a photo in snowy weather. Photo by Cynthia Tsuchida // Used with permission (Cynthia Tsuchida)

Overall, Lordan and Lavi appreciate the extra time they’ve been having and the activities they’ve been able to do with their family members. Despite some emotional drawbacks that can emerge as a result of quarantine, Lordan is able to see both the pros and cons clearly.

“I’ve actually kind of enjoyed certain aspects of quarantining, but I also think that anytime you’re sort of isolated the way that we have been, there’s a potential to have some negative side effects,” Lordan said. “You’re just spending all of your time with this person and even though it’s mostly positive, sometimes that causes strain. I think just having ‘you time’ is good and diversifying.”