By Dr. Martin Aróstegui

A year ago, in early March my wife Roberta and I were returning from a great fishing trip to the Colombian Amazon. Even before we got home, we already became aware that the Corona virus had arrived in this continent and we were being asked at the airport in Colombia if we had traveled to China recently. By this time, we already knew that the virus was in full force in Europe as well. Little did I know at that time that our liveswere going to change so drastically and for so long. Within a few days we were in full virus control mode and now a year later we still are.

This past year we stopped going out to dinner, visiting friends, going to gatherings and parties and also completely stopped traveling. I wear a good mask every time I go out and practice social distancing. All of these changes caused considerable anxiety and depression on most of us. How have we survived?

Roberta and I took to gardening as a major pastime and it worked very well. In early October my good friend and magazine editor Pedro Diaz brought me a few cachucha pepper seeds which I planted and cared for for a number of months. My wife Roberta grew tomato plants which are now producing many tomatoes. Roberta also grew different kinds of lettuce. We are eating great salads every night.

All of these tender plants require watering twice per day as well as tender loving plant care which is time consuming and exactly how we spend countless hours in our garden.

The cachucha peppers are doing very well and have grown quite tall. I actually don’t know what I am going to do with all the peppers.

A month ago, we got fully vaccinated and while we feel more comfortable, we still are wearing masks in public and practicing social distancing.

We hope to travel this summer within the US but are sad to report that traveling to other countries is still too risky to take a chance.

In the next few months most of the US will be vaccinated and this is a very good thing. We will achieve herd immunity and all of us will be protected. I worry about other countries where vaccinations are lagging and many people are getting infected with virus strains that are more infectious and more lethal. I hope things improve for them very soon. Once the world gets immunized, then we will be able resume our quest for fishing in far away places but not before. In the meantime we will be tending to our plants.