Pandemic Update Pt. 2 – Take 2 on Pandemic Learning, What we Did this Summer, and Other Life Updates

Well hello there!

Last time we updated you folks, it was spring, Hawaii was under a stay-at-home order, and there were a lot of things up in the air, including what work would look like for us.

We both started the year remotely, however, Cam has been back in-person since mid-September (although with some students in remote learning). Very few breaks. Little to no prep time. Very busy days because he has students in his classroom all.the.time. I hope things get better for him soon because I can definitely see the exhaustion not being great, especially when flu season starts. On that note, we both got our shots a few weeks ago. It was free and very easy. Go get your flu shot. Please and thank you.

I am still teaching from home, and will likely be mostly at home until the end of the first semester in December. My school is inviting struggling students to return in person for this second quarter which would mean being on campus once a week with a handful of kids. All social distancing and containment rules would apply. So I’d have to teach all my distance learning students while supervising a handful of kids in person once a week. Could be a lot worse.

We did end up going to the Oregon Coast in the summer. Hawaii has done a fair amount of flip flopping in its travel reopening plans, and we wanted to have enough time to complete the quarantine when we came back. The summer was the only time we could do that without having to take time off work because we were both supposed to return in person. Anyway…

The Honolulu airport was eerily empty. We flew out early and completed our check in and security in minutes. Our flight was empty enough. We flew Southwest to Portland via Oakland (after cancelling and rebooking our old spring break flights maybe 3-4 times). Middle seats were open and the flight wasn’t all booked up so we sat across the aisle from each other but without anyone else around us, really. Masks all the way and we brought plenty of sanitizer and antibacterial wipes with us. We got some travel sized ones that smell like lavender so you can smell something relaxing as opposed to something surgical that may trigger the germophobe in you.

Being in the Oakland airport was not relaxing. It was super full. It was hard to find seats by our gate and properly distance from people. Flights to Las Vegas were PACKED. We decided to avoid that airport on the way back.

Portland airport was emptier than I’ve ever seen it. But getting around wasn’t difficult and we were on our way out in no time.

We spent our time mostly at home, helping around with housework that is not easy for my father in law anymore. I also had a weeklong training at the very start of our time, and several faculty meetings during the summer. So it wasn’t a usual summer where there is no work involved. Well, we’ve worked both our summers in Hawaii so far so I guess while we are here working is what’s normal. Cameron has meetings on meetings on meetings, so that made the summer not as restful.

On top of that, state parks were closed for a good portion of our time in Oregon. Many places like Depoe Bay were way too crowded for our taste, so we went on some drives but not much else. National forests were open for some of the time we were there, so we went on a few hikes and walks here and there. The nature in the Oregon Coast continues to be breathtaking and very soothing for both of us. It doesn’t get old.

Public libraries also opened for library take out so we have been on a steady diet of library books, which is a good things. Some of our current reads include “The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins (me) and “I will Teach you to be Rich” by Ramit Sethi (Cam).

We are also on what’s possibly our longest workout streak on record, with a Perfect Month (May) on our Apple Watches (all activity goals every day completed) and a number of consecutive weeks of consistent physical activity. Some of the tools/programs we’ve used:

  • Centr – Well worth the money. Meals that are easy to make and pretty delicious (not the cheapest – I do wish they had a “budget” meal plan, but skilled cooks should be able to do some workarounds), workouts that don’t really get old – or easier! – meditations, etc. We’ve been doing the workouts for the better part of the last year and a half and started following the meal plan maybe two months ago. I’ve had people ask if it’s worth the yearly subscription. My answer: yes. During the lockdown/gym closures I’ve completed their 6-week Centr 6 program (only equipment needed is dumbbells) and Centr Unleashed at intermediate level (no equipment).
  • Nike Training Club – Cam has workouts from this app once a week in his rotation. Free to download and the workouts will give you a run for your money. Very little, if any, equipment required.
  • Heather Robertson’s 12 week program – I found this Canadian trainer on IG and did a HIIT workout she posted there once, decided to find out more. Excellent program considering it’s free on Youtube. I would say it’s not for beginners because there are no explanations of the exercises, and there is plenty of plyo (I have knee issues so I modify often but I know how). But every single workout will kick your butt. When you’re happy about the fact that abs are next…well, yeah. I have three weeks left on the program and expect to do it again in about 6 months to see where my level of fitness is then. I need a lot of breaks right now.

Other sources I recommend:

  • Darebee – a whole bunch of different workouts for different goals, for free. We used to do some of these workouts when we lived in China.
  • Sports Illustrated Swimsuit‘s Instagram page – I’ve done some of the workouts with Katrina Scott (from Tone It Up – I think her workouts are on Saturdays) and they are 1) super fun, 2) will give you a serious workout in a short time, and 3) great music-wise because her husband puts together awesome playlists. You can search for her playlists on Spotify under “Katrina Scott”. There are other trainers that post workouts – they will all be under IGTV – of different kinds: yoga, kickboxing, Pilates, barre, cardio, strength training, you name it. Pretty great considering it’s free if you have Instagram. Handle is @si_swimsuit.
  • Tara Stiles’s Instagram page – also a lot of yoga routines under her IGTV, tutorials to make hard poses easy, but most importantly, a focus on doing yoga not for the poses but to feel better. Her handle is @tarastiles.
  • The 7-minute workout – there are a bunch of apps that also have this one with built in timers and customizable intervals. I’ve done this workout on and off while traveling, or while in the DR visiting family. This article link includes an advanced version and links to some of the apps. This is as good as it gets to get a workout that does the job in a short amount of time.

We canceled our gym membership and are quite content working out at home. It’s become part of our days and there’s a lot less “ugh I hate this” and more “let’s get it done”. We both have a more positive mindset towards working out right now, I think in part because it’s provided some consistency during the quarantines and helped us stay focused towards specific goals. For me, the time during which I’m working out is a time when I’m rarely thinking about something else – cause you know, gotta make it to the next rep before collapsing on the floor – so it’s a bit of a break from everything else that sucks.

We also take walks almost daily. We aim for at least a mile. Some days we scrap workouts or make it an active rest day and just go for a long walk around our neighborhood, with a detour on the very empty Waikiki.

There’s more to chat about, but that’ll have to wait until next time. This got kind of long with the workout tangent.

Stay safe. Wear your mask. Stay away from crowds. Show love and light to everyone.

Until next time,


Published by Team McGregor

Living and teaching in the Middle East - previously in China, South Korea, and Hawaii (US). This is our blog dedicated to our travels and life living well as some other fun stuff!

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