Rebeka Rafi reaches new heights in quarantine

Managing Editor & Advertising Manager

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COVID-19 EDITION OF THE HIGHLANDER IS OUT NOW!

My work can be found on the following pages:

  • News: “Local losses loom large”- Page 10-11
  • Cover Story: “Life on hold”- 17-21
  • Humor: “Spring break staycation”- Page 24

CLICK HERE TO TAKE A LOOK!

Day 40→ 63- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Wednesday 4/15/20→ Friday 5/8/20

Hello Blog,

The last 24 days have kind of been a blur. I know this is going to sound unbelievable, but I have been super busy. Whether it’s college stuff, AP Exam studying, or other projects I’m working on, the days have been going by WAY too fast. 

Anyways, here are some highlights from the last couple of weeks:

My sister asked me to make Keto brownies. She asked, and I delivered. 

No one told me I had to deliver well.

I have never been so appalled and disappointed in my entire life.

I swear what I put in the oven and what came out had to have been two different things. The batter actually tasted so good, so I was really excited to taste what I spent so long making.

The brownies looked kind of off, but kind of good at the same time. I first served my parents, and usually I get a “wooowwww” or a “this tastes delicious” from them whenever I give them something that I cook/bake. 

As I walked away, my mom was silent and my dad’s expression turned to general delight to a face of confusion/seriousness. 

When I tried the brownie, I made eye contact with my sister because I knew she saw how fast my face changed as well. 

Then just immediate laughter followed because I realized I had baked an actual atrocity. What I made was truly a travesty.

The breaking point, the moment when it actually sunk in was when I saw my dad attempt to sneakily throw away the rest of his brownie. LIKE WOW!

I have never seen my dad not finish his food because he is the least pickiest eater I have ever met. 

I took this as the most personal offense. Like I knew they were bad, but just wow. Also, my mom tried to make it seem like they were good and my sister came around eventually too.

Moral of the story, it is very hard to substitute Keto sugar because it turns out, believe it or not, sugar is the main ingredient of any brownie recipe. 

Anyways moving on from my tragedy it is time to roast my sister.

While I was making crepes, after I spent two hours finishing the savory omelet crepes, she came into the kitchen. 

I TOLD my parents to keep her out because I wanted to make them by myself (plus I thought it would be faster). However, despite MANY attempts to keep her out, I finally relented and allowed her to help me make the sweet crepes. 

I handed her the peanut butter and we let the sweet crepe batter sit in the pan. One minute later my sister is telling me that the crepe smells like it’s burning. 

I was like “I have been slaving away all morning making numerous crepes and YOU are telling ME that they are burning??”

Soon I smelled the burning scent in the air too, but the crepe was clearly not done. And then I saw it. My eyes FROZE as I did not know how to react.

An immediate burst of laughter escaped my lips as I saw the jar of peanut butter melt on our stove top. 

I did not let her get off too easily. I told her that there is so much counter space, yet you had to place the plastic jar on top of a burning hot stovetop?? (I was cooking the omelet in a separate pan on that stove and she did not know it was warm… but still). 

I just thought that it was the funniest thing ever because I then went to my parents and said “I told you guys to keep her out of the kitchen.” 

Don’t worry, she was laughing too.

We banned her from the kitchen for the rest of the day and that was the end of that. Might I just say, the crepes I made could have been served at a 5 star restaurant. 

Stay tuned for more kitchen fail and success stories!

Day 39- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Tuesday 4/14/20

After defeating my mom in numerous Just Dance battles, in a quick turn of events she crushed me in the last dance. I do not know how she gained the ability to do that, but I can confirm she indeed does have the “Moves Like Jagger,” song courtesy of Maroon 5.

Day 38- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Monday 4/13/20

School was canceled AGAIN and I think this is the funniest thing ever. We don’t need to pray for snow days anymore, but simply for technical difficulties.

We love technology!!

Day 30→ 37 Life of a QuaranTEEN: Sunday 4/12/20→ 4/18/20

Well. I knew it would happen eventually. It was bound to happen so here it is. My life story blog may be possibly transforming into a food blog. So here is a gallery of some of the food I made with my sister this week.

I forgot to take pictures of the other food we made.

Now that I think about it “attempt” is a fitting word to describe my week of cooking/baking. Not my peak culinary skills. Stay tuned as I attempt more recipes!

Day 29- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Saturday 4/11/20

 

Dishes, dishes, and more dishes.

 

Washing the dishes would be an activity I would loathe before quarantine. But now, all you see me doing is washing the dishes. I do not know why.

 

Since we are all at home now. Dishes are continuously being put into the sink. Every time I go into the kitchen, the stack of dishes continue to rise. 

 

After spending two hours washing and drying dishes, I go to my room, come back to the kitchen, and BAM! A whole new pile forms.

 

BUT HOW!?

 

The rest of my family members are either out grocery shopping or going for a walk.

 

There could only be two possible explanations:

  1. I am literally living in a TV sitcom
  2. The dishes in my household are conspiring against me because they are constantly being used

 

There simply cannot be any other explanations… right?

Day 28- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Friday 4/10/20

 

For the past couple of days I have been helping my parents clean up around the house for the past couple of days and we were able to empty out some old bins that we used to store stuff.

 

And by helping them clean, I really mean turning the whole house upside down and doing some DEEp cleaning.

 

I always joke around with my family, claiming that I am clearly adopted since I have seen a very minimal amount of print pictures from my childhood. However, I have seen so many pictures of my older sister. We have one of those frames that is like two feet long where you can fit multiple pictures in it. Literally ALL of them are of my sister and parents when she was a kid. 

 

So the other day I brought up the ‘me being adopted’ joke again and I think my mom took that as a personal attack. I have heard the excuses before: “Video came out around your time and it was more popular then,” or “I have all of your pictures in the storage bin.” 

 

“Mhmm” I always say with a raised eyebrow. 

 

Anyways, I don’t know what triggered it this time around when I brought up the photos because a determined mother Rafi literally brought ALL of our storage bins out into the living room and was set to find photos of me while cleaning up. 

 

After a few hours, it was like she had struck gold. “AHA!” she said. “Here you go.”

 

I might have been exaggerating when I claimed I never have seen childhood photos of me before. I’ve seen a few, but I feel like there was a gap in my life that I cannot recall or have seen photos of.

 

My mom handed me albums and piles of photos of me and might I just say, I was ADORABLE. Like I was getting emotional looking at a young Rebeka stare back at me. 

 

Anyways, my mom has confirmed that I am indeed hers. All I have to do now is get on my dad’s case about these supposed videos of my childhood that he has talked about.

Day 27- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Thursday 4/9/20

I am convinced that we have all been lied to this entire time. 

Disney World is NOT the happiest place in the world- it’s Trader Joe’s.

Disney parks were the first to close in response to this outbreak (which was def the move).

I respect Trader Joe’s’ grind as they continuously put smiles on customers and sell goods during this time.

I had to go on another grocery run and the cashier was talking to us like there literally is not a pandemic going on, simply focusing on the positives. 

I feel like it must be pretty legit to have a 17-year-old willingly praise a grocery store that sells organic products. Once again, if anyone from Trader Joe’s is reading my blog, just know that I literally love you guys and thank you.

That is all. Traders Joe’s is the new Disney World. You can try to prove me wrong but Walt has nothing on you guys.

Day 26- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Wednesday 4/8/20

Today I almost had a very big Uh Oh moment because I thought I had missed my online AP Gov class which still took place during this break. However, I was soon put back to ease when I realized that we are technically on Spring Break.

PHEW!

I can’t start my online class career without keeping my attendance game up.

Day 20→ 25- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Thursday 4/2/20→ Tuesday 4/7/20

I have been incredibly busy with journalism during my time at home. I am really happy that journalism gives me something to do, or else I would not know how to spend hours of my day.

However, on average, I have been spending 6-9 hours a day this past week on writing, editing, and Zoom meetings so I have been fairly busy. 

I know that all this hard work will be worth it because our final product of a project we have been working so hard on will be coming out soon!

Stay tuned to find out what it is!!

Day 18→ 20- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Monday 3/30/20→ Wednesday 4/1/20

Throughout this week we have been interviewing candidates for our future leadership staff for The Highlander newsmagazine. I don’t know about the other interviewers, but I survived the hours-long interviews with some more whipped coffee. 

Congratulations to the future leadership members!! Woohoo!!!!

Day 17- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Sunday 3/29/20

 

Guys. It is literally the end of March. WHERE DID ALL THE DAYS GO!!??

 

To start off the day, my sister and I cheffed it up in the kitchen and made a beautiful omelet. Ms. Jordan, my eighth grade Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, would be impressed with my culinary skills. 

What more can I say other than just “what a beaut.” Haters who don’t eat veggies can stick to their boring cheese omelets.

 

I was inspired by TikTok and made my family whipped coffee. Let’s get one thing straight- I do NOT vibe with coffee. I am literally a two year old stuck in a 17-year-old’s body. Caffeine and I do not work well and the taste is not my cup of tea. Now tea, I like (yes I do realize tea has caffeine but I hope you guys understand that coffee caffeine hits so differently).

 

I do not vibe with coffee, however, this. This I can do. It was very much so adequate and I think this break will spark my addiction to whipped coffee. My family was impressed that I was able to create such a drink. 

 

See. Who needs Starbucks when you have Barista Beka in your own home?

Day 16- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Saturday 3/28/20

 

I can’t remember if I read The Hunger Games series but I do have the books. I used to be SUCH a bookworm, but as my academic and athletic load increased throughout high school, it became extremely difficult to find time to read. 

 

I also did not watch the movie, so I can’t really remember the plot too well.

 

I have been rereading nostalgic books, The Hunger Games included, so WHO WAS GOING TO TELL ME HOW GOOD THE BOOK IS. 

 

During this break, I have been staying up as late as 2 a.m. to read the book. Like why is it having this type of effect on me??

 

I was legitimately scared when I was reading about how Katniss was surviving her first day in the arena. I apologize if I spoiled anything, but it has been 12 years, (if I did my math right, it’s been a while since I’ve done math tbh) get with the program people. 

 

I have not finished the book yet so please no spoilers. My money is on Katniss. Jennifer Lawrence is a queen.

Day 15- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Friday 3/27/20

I have set up my old consoles and I have never been happier. This quarantine has given me the opportunity to go back to previous interests that I truly enjoyed doing when I had the time. 

I am proud to say that I have successfully beat CPU players 1-4 in Wii tennis. I will be accepting challenges anytime because my schedule is pretty clear for the next 3-18 months. Serious challenges only. My email is located in one of the earlier days of quarantine if there are any legitimate challengers.

Day 14- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Thursday 3/26/20

 

Today was the day where I ventured out of the confines of my home and went grocery shopping with my parents. I was convinced that I have forgotten how to drive once again, so I wanted to test that theory. 

 

I know what you are thinking: how brave must one be to fight for their lives trying to find a package of toilet paper? The answer is simple: I am not sure.

 

Was I willing to be the savior of my family by volunteering myself to risk my life and step into a grocery store that contained the precious commodity that we all suddenly desire? No. Absolutely not. 

 

Was I forced to go grocery shopping with my parents because they did not feel like driving. Yes. Absolutely.

 

I will willingly volunteer my mom or dad to venture through the grocery stores to scavenge for whatever the other consumers have not depleted the store’s stock of. 

 

But risking MY WELLBEING!? It is one thing to be tasked with adulting and going grocery shopping for my family, however, competing with other grown-ups who are determined to get every last package of toilet paper in a store in order to feed their hungry families, is just a whole other challenge. 

 

It is a daunting task. The CDC regulations regarding having people stay six feet apart is definitely to my advantage as I weave my way through customers pushing carts full of random items. 

 

I would like to take this time to appreciate Trader Joe’s. I have never felt more comfortable grocery shopping, than in that store especially during corona time. The line extends outside of the store; four people are allowed in when four people leave the store and an employee hands you a wipe and a cleaned cart when you enter. Once I got in, there were maybe 15 other customers, allowing me to stroll through every aisle at my leisurely pace. 

 

Despite having long legs, I have been known to take my time while walking (my friends always remind me of this) because I like to take my time. I mean, it’s not like I have anywhere else to be during this time. 

 

After gathering my items, I waited in line, and got this, they literally marked the floor with tape EXACTLY six feet apart from the person in front of you. 

Organic grocery store, Trader Joe’s, takes extra precautions in order to ensure the safety and well-being of its customers. Six feet distanced tape markers help customers follow CDC guidelines.

So honestly, 11/10 experience. Trader Joe’s never disappoints. Thank you for taking the anxiety out of corona shopping. Also, Trader Joe’s, please sponsor me and I will write the most lit review of your store I STAN you guys: the workers and store itself.

After risking my life, we went to another store to get some cleaning supplies. This is where things get interesting.

 

My dad and I were waiting in line with the supplies when a nice man, probably in his 60s or 70s, was chatting with us and making jokes about the items he had purchased and how they were all to make his wife happy. I believe his name was Mike, so I will continue referring to this man as Mike. 

 

“You know why I get this?” Mike said as he pointed to the pints of ice cream. “Because of her,” he said as he pointed to his wedding ring. 

 

“You know why I get this?” he points to even more ice cream.

 

“Probably because of her” my dad light-heartedly finishes the joke for him. 

 

“Because of her” Mike raises his pitch and laughs as he points to his wedding ring again. 

 

My dad had gotten out of line real quick to get a last-minute item then re-entered. He did not realize that there was another man behind him, keeping a decent amount of space that made my dad unable to realize the man was in line. Two seconds later my dad turns around and apologizes, then the two have the nicest “No, please, you go ahead” exchange ever. Until finally my dad stayed where he was, thanking the other man.

 

Mike began pointing to the cameras and jokingly said “Did you get that? Did someone record that? That is true kindness.”

 

Another cashier had opened their line and once again, the man and my dad began exchanging their signature “No, please, you go ahead,” until the man finally submitted and went to check out his items with the new cashier. 

 

Mike had finished checking out the items he got for his wife and began going towards the door, saying goodbye to the cashiers by their first names because he seemed to be a frequent customer. The cashiers smiled and waved goodbye.

 

We were finally checking our items our and the other man who went to the other line was wrapping up his purchase.

 

Mike returns and says “The generosity that you both have shown, truly shines a light during such dark times. It’s people like you who give me hope in humanity.”

 

Personally, I was so touched that this stranger was praising my dad. My dad responded and thanked him for even noticing such things and wished him the best for Mike and his wife. The other man was smiling and also thanked him.

As we are leaving, I do not know where the heck my mom is during this 20-minute exchange and wait. I hear my name and turn to her holding a four-foot net saying “Rebeka! We should get this net for our goldfish when we have to scoop them out and clean the fishbowl.”

 

She literally could not stop laughing and I found it extremely funny as to how the two situations contrasted so dramatically. I am sure you all can imagine the facepalm I did, without actually touching my face, while laughing. The fact that she found it so amusing made the joke literally 9,782,739,204,783 times better.

 

She was able to hear a little bit of the conversation, so as we were leaving, I was explaining to her what had happened. Mike was loading his car with groceries then we hear him say “Look, we are car neighbors!”

 

As we are about to pull out of the parking lot, he approaches our car and reiterates what he was saying in the store.

 

“What I witnessed between you two gentlemen today was true kindness,” Mike said. He was almost in tears. I was starting to get emotional because he was so touched by a simple act of kindness.

 

He kept going on about how we need more people like them in the world especially during times like these and I was touched by the impact the interaction between my dad and the other man had on Mike. 

 

This was definitely an eye-opening experience and I hope you all are doing your small acts of kindness, or social isolating at least… or at most. Social isolation seems to be the move at the moment.

Day 13- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Wednesday 3/25/20

 

The fact that us seniors would not have another normal class day finally hit me when one of my junior friends reached out. 

 

We usually joke around all the time so I did just that while responding to her text. But then we continued talking and she was being very sincere and genuine. 

 

When she said that she will miss me and the seniors in our class who always joke around with her, that is when it hit.

 

I am not one to get emotional or anything but the words “I will miss you” triggered something that I could not ignore. 

 

That is the moment when I realized this indefinite school closure was going to be difficult for us seniors who could not end the year saying goodbye to those we really care about. 

 

It’s not the people I text or hang out with outside of school that I miss, but the people in my classes that I enjoy interacting with. *Sidenote* for those that I text and hangout with: love you guys, but I know we will make the effort to see each other soon and keep in contact.

 

It seems that every day, someone new reaches out to me saying the words “If I don’t see you again…” 

 

Like WHY ARE YOU GUYS DOING THIS TO ME. if you are all trying to make me emotional then mission accomplished. 

 

Stay tuned as I tally up the number of people who send me goodbye messages that make it seem like they are going off to war or something. 

Day 12- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Tuesday 3/24/20

 

Today is the day where I dethroned the Cake Boss. He’s got nothing on me. I turned a bland yellow cake recipe into this:

Baker Beka turns this bland and plain vanilla cake into the following masterpiece.
Baker Beka then spends a whole 92 minute of her evening dicing pears and grapes into small pieces, coating the cake with a hand-made buttercream frosting, and carefully placing halved almonds outside edge of the cake, only to receive mixed reviews from its visual appearance. Most found it visually appealing, others were conflicted about the grapes.

 

And no, despite what the haters said, this is not a bagel with nuts on it or even a decorated donut. It is hours and hours of my work as I made myself busy after letting the news sink in that I will no longer be a high school senior. 

 

It’s vanilla cake coated with an attempted buttercream frosting, with cut grapes and pears, surrounded by almond halves on the sides. Despite what the critics say, it was hands down DELICIOUS. My family was in awe as they tasted a dessert that I handcrafted with love, which actually tastes good. I am glad to report that it was very much adequate, so haters can back off… or bake-off, whichever you prefer.

 

Well, now with all of this time on my hands, I might as well kickstart my baking career. Also, this quarantine is doing weird things to me. I am actually ENJOYING doing the dishes. Like before the quarantine, I would do them, but during the quarantine, I am more INTRINSICALLY motivated (brushing up on my psych terms) which is just weird.

 

Day 11- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Monday 3/23/20

 

At 2:02 p.m. our lord and savior, Ryan McElveen, announced that school will be closed for the rest of the year.

 

My peers and I are actually devastated that the time where we were supposed to make the best memories, has been taken away from us.

 

The end of senior year is full of so many monumental events that we can no longer have.  

 

Day 10- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Sunday 3/22/20

I just played some basketball today. Nothing too special.

Day 9- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Saturday 3/21/20

 

I feel like I have been surprisingly productive this week, considering there is literally nothing I am expected to turn in for school. I have done some chores: washed the dishes, organized my room, vacuumed the living room, etc. I still just feel like this whole situation we are in is so strange. 

 

Like how will people return to their everyday lives once this virus has been contained?

 

It feels so weird that after putting our lives on pause for weeks, we will have to return to our normal lives. 

 

All of the things that have been canceled and postponed, we are actually missing some key events.

 

On a less serious note, I was talking to someone and I thought that it was an easily agreed upon topic that out of all of the grades, seniors have it the worst because of COVID-19. However, she thought that juniors have it worse.

 

I think all seniors can agree that school had JUST started to become slightly enjoyable because our coursework had eased up a bit and most college decisions had been released. 

 

I had just finished my unit tests for some of the most difficult units in my courses, the weather was getting warmer, I had stopped stressing over hours of homework, just when things were starting to become almost perfect… the PLAGUE hit.

 

Now seniors may be missing some keystone events that we can never make up.

 

Yes, I understand junior year is crucial in regards to building resumes, taking the SAT/ACT, and AP exams, however, since the WHOLE WORLD is facing this issue, I am sure that colleges will understand.

 

Freshmen are complaining that their first year in high school has been ruined, but they have three more years to make it up. 

 

Sophomores are just chilling if I’m being quite honest. You guys have no right to complain… Please don’t come at me. I am just speaking the truth.

 

If anyone thinks otherwise then just go online, 110% of the memes and TikToks online agree with this factual information.

 

If any of you juniors are upset that you are getting a break from your stressful AP classes (even though I WISH I got a month off from AP Lang… I am SORRY Ms. Donoghue but I literally spent 80% of my energy on that class and the other 20% was evenly divided between my other APs and athletics), then just create a vaccine for Corona and I am sure that ANY IV school will accept you… easy, right?

Day 8- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Friday 3/20/20

 

TGIF! One week of quarantine has officially passed and it was both one of the longest and shortest weeks I have ever experienced. It felt like time had gone by so fast, but at the same time, each day seemed to be longer than the last. 

 

On the positive side of things, today is Persian New Year (or the first day of Spring)! Also known as Nowruz, this holiday typically involves outdoor activities with large gatherings, so unfortunately, I was not as excited as I usually am. It simply did not feel the same.

 

My family is pretty Americanized, however, we do celebrate this holiday and we set up a table each year that is culturally important on Nowruz. The table consists of seven items that start with the letter “s” in our language, each representing a different symbolic definition. For example, we put apples on the table, also known as “sib” in my language, and this represents health. 

 

We also have pet goldfish on the table, so in case you were looking for some pet goldfish and PetSmart happened to be out for some reason, just know that around the start of Spring it’s all thanks to us… because I am sure you guys were in the market for some goldfish recently. 

 

Although it was kind of an unfortunate start to our New Year, I hope that everyone has a year of health and prosperity!

Day 7- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Thursday 3/19/20

I am starting to wonder how people entertained themselves when technology wasn’t a thing. Much respect for those people who kept themselves busy. 

I think that after countless hours of scrolling through TikTok I am inspired to kickstart my TikTok career. After having a Just Dance Battle with my mom, she came up with the genius idea of posting a TikTok video of us dancing. 

Stay tuned to find out if we go viral tomorrow… I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up but this soccer player has some movessssss.

Day 6- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Wednesday 3/18/20

So word has been going around that events like Prom and even GRADUATION might be canceled because school closures may be extended for the rest of the year. 

I would like to reiterate my original claim on Day 1: COVID-19 really did say “NOPE” to our senior year smh. 

Stay tuned to see if Prom will be held on the Club Penguin Dance Floor or if we will be holding our 2020 graduation through Skype. Diplomas will be sent via email.

Stay tuned to see whether Prom is on the Club Penguin dance floor. Club Penguin is a website that was a fundamental component of our childhoods.

Day 5- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Tuesday 3/17/20

Day 5 was the day I have been dreading ever since I found out about the quarantine… I mean break from school.

Today is the day that I will be receiving a decision from one of my top schools in D.C. If I had school, I feel like it would have done a better job of taking my mind off of my pending decision. 

I have avoided opening my email all day because I did not want to see the notification that I have received my decision. 

To get my mind off, I FaceTimed my 6 and 8 year old cousins in California. For the past few weeks, I have been teaching them how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. They decided to get into cubing because I showed them my solving skills this past summer. 

Considering that it has been over a month now of FaceTime calls, I am sure you have been able to conclude that it has not been going well. I would walk them through solving the cube one layer at a time, and they were successful at solving the first layer, which I found to be impressive. 

However, EVERY TIME we would get to the second layer, their cube would get mixed up. I am sure you can imagine a little part of me dying each time we spent hours on FaceTime, re-solving the first layer, just to mess up the second layer time after time again.

It only took our sixth, hours long, FaceTime for my uncle to realize that my cousins were doing the inverse of what I was telling them to do for the second layer because they were following my moves instead of my directions. 

  1. It requires an immense amount of patients to teach someone else to solve a Rubik’s Cube when your fastest time is 1 minute and 26 seconds
  2. Imagine teaching a 6 year old how to solve a Rubik’s Cube
  3. THROUGH FACETIME.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed doing it because I love my cousins and I enjoy working with kids because I tutor, coach, and I am a camp counselor in the summer, however, this experience tested a whole new limit that I did not think I had. 

I have not received a FaceTime since we discovered that there is literally no hope in teaching my cousins how to solve the second layer. Since my Spring Break trip to visit them in California has been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances, *ahem* COVID-19, I have made the promise that I will teach them to solve the 3×3 Rubik’s Cube before the end of 2020.

P.S. I have been informed that they have already invested in 5×5 Rubik’s Cubes, Pyramid Cubes, and other shapes that I didn’t even know existed… wish me luck.

Whoever created this monstrosity has some serious explaining to do. This is AT LEAST 276 hours on FaceTime with my cousins just to figure out the top layer.

Day 4- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Monday 3/16/20

Day 4 and I should be at school right now. You know how we were able to harass our former School Board Member At-Large Ryan McElveen into closing school last year because we got #CloseFCPS trending on Twitter? I was able to draw parallels between our harassment back then to how we bullied our Superintendent into closing schools for the Coronavirus.

You know, I don’t have Twitter, so are you guys happy now?? I understand that we are in a state of emergency, but you couldn’t even let us finish the week before getting schools to close??? 

I know for a fact that most students WISH that schools reopened because now we have to deal with the boredom that has resulted due to social isolation.

To deal with this boredom, I have been able to go outside more frequently, and might I just say… I have never seen so many people exercising before when I went outside to play sports before this plague hit. Who knew all it took was a fast-spreading virus to get people to utilize a fun and free setting: THE OUTDOORS.

Although, I do find it quite amusing that people are doing the opposite of what is expected. Instead of staying home and avoiding places that contain more than 10 people, more and more people are heading towards parks, sporting fields, and trails. 

Since I was going to have more time on my hands as a second semester senior, I was going to kickstart my tutoring and soccer coaching services again. However, I feel like having interactions with these kids is currently not the move due to COVID-19.

So if any of you have any recommendations as to how I am able to beat the boredom with minimal human contact, that would be very much appreciated, my email is provided in Day 2. 

Day 3- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Sunday 3/15/20

If you have reached this point in my journey, then just wow. I am honored to have even a three-person fanbase because I don’t think my family members have even reached this far in my blog… probably because they are living it with me.

Day 3 in the life of a QuaranTEEN and I am convinced that all of my friends have gone insane. I have received numerous texts from my friends who have clearly lost their minds. I would like to remind you, that it has not even been a complete weekend yet, but I would be lying if I told you I was living the life, cooped up at home, unable to see my friends. 

I am happy that I have been given the opportunity to go outside more because I love playing sports. During school, I spend an average of 4-6 hours EVERY NIGHT doing homework. I know what you are thinking… there is literally no way. But I assure you that I work so hard to receive the grades that are on my transcript right now. 

“I don’t remember the last time Rebeka has been able to watch a full episode of The Voice with me,” Momma Rafi said. “I don’t think she even knows that Adam Levine is no longer a coach on the show this season.”

“WHAT” I screamed. 

After recovering from the fact that there will no longer be constant bickering between Adam and Blake Shelton on the show (which is my favorite part) I went outside to play some soccer.

Soccer has been a huge part of my life for the last 11 years. I am now 17 years old and I continue to play for the same league that I have been on since I was in elementary school. This upcoming Spring season will be my last season playing with some of the same people I have known since the second grade. The possibility of the season being canceled due to the virus is high. 

I can’t believe that COVID-19 will be canceling my U-19 soccer season. 

To get my mind off of this possibility, I have been going to my community soccer field, tennis court and basketball court. I have been doing this since second grade as well, so every time I play a sport with the same neighbor I carpool karaoke with, it is a way that I am able to relieve stress before starting my 4-6 hour feat with my homework. 

If my soccer season gets canceled, then I will kickstart my tennis career. If you don’t believe me, here are some of my highlights taken from a video I had to make about speed and velocity during my sophomore year: 

[Link TBD once the montage I created downloads… it has already been a day and it is halfway there].

[*Update* this video refuses to export, but once it does… prepare to be wowed].

[*Update 2.0* (4/10/20) for those who are still waiting for the video… so am I. It refuses to export so I promise that I will get to making a new vid… eventually]

Day 2- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Saturday 3/14/20

It’s PI DAY everyone WOOHOO! As I was standing in the middle of my living room, reciting digits of pi to my audience of three whole people (my mom, dad, and sister) I realized that being my own competitor did not hit the same as the one I experienced in the sixth grade. 

My adrenaline pumping. My heart beating so loudly that I thought the people around me could hear it. The quick-thinking on my feet as I completely blanked halfway through. The panic that rushed over me as I saw four full days of hard work and social isolation slip away as my memory began to fail me. My classmates’ blank stares as they all judged, despite only memorizing an average of ten digits. 

The satisfaction of remembering and presenting all the digits I memorized as the whole class cheered because they thought I had beat the class-know-it-all. When she looked at me and whispered “I think you won” only to soften her probable defeat as our teacher counted our digits. Only to hear “Rebeka Rafi” as the second place winner. 

Although experiencing a devastating defeat that I continue to dwell on to this day because my elementary school enemy continues to remind me of one of the worst defeats of my entire life, the whole experience was a thrill that I simply cannot experience in the comforts of my home. 

After realizing that there is literally no point in celebrating Pi day, I decided that a plague was not going to keep me cooped up at home all day. I felt like I had forgotten how to drive because I haven’t touched a steering wheel in TWO DAYS. I went up to my mom and told her that I am willing to sacrifice myself in order to feel the thrill of carpool karaoke once again, with my neighbor. She seemed fine with it, probably to give her a moment of peace, and gave me errands to run. 

Can I just say, you guys are really cleaning out the shelves of the grocery stores pretty nicely. Like I am aware that more places are beginning to disinfect and clean their stores more often, but guys, by cleaning the shelves, I don’t think they mean purchasing literally everything in SIGHT. If you want to help out, then grab some Clorox wipes and start WIPING. There is no need to purchase the entire TOILET PAPER AISLE. 

What? There is an air-born virus that is spreading across the world and symptoms include coughing, fever, and shortness of breath?? You know what will help? Rolls and rolls and rolls of TOILET PAPER!!… No. absolutely not.

Is there a new function of toilet paper that I am missing? If so, can someone please tell me? I don’t want to get the Coronavirus just as much as any of you. So please, if I am missing some key piece of information, feel free to contact me at [email protected]. I respond in less than 24 hours… usually.

Safeway, Giant, Harris Teeter, Walmart, Shoppers– you name it, and I went there. NONE of these places carried toilet paper. At one point I saw a video of two customers fight over a roll and all I could think of was: have we gotten to the point where a 20 something-year-old woman is fighting an 80 year old for toilet paper? We have really evolved into sophisticated human beings.

At one of the stores, I saw a worker wiping down all the carts before customers took them. However, why is this practice being done now? It had to take a plague to have people practice basic sanitation behaviors? I feel like virus or not, wiping down carts or baskets should happen because, honestly, you don’t know the other people who touched them before you. 

Anyways, I would like to report that I successfully found cleaning supplies… and toilet paper. But I will not report the location because I am afraid that you guys will wipe out the entire store if I disclose such information.   

I know what you were thinking… don’t worry… I was able to return to my family and bother them some more when I returned home (hopefully plague free). 

“I wonder if you are this talkative at school,” momma Rafi said. “I am surprised none of your teachers have reached out to me about you disrupting your class yet…”

“ME??!?” I exclaimed. “Nononononono. I could never,” I lied.

Stay tuned to find out if I ever reach my family’s breaking point and follow me on my journey as a QuaranTEEN… I may disclose the location where I purchase my toilet paper if I’m feeling nice…

Day 1- Life of a QuaranTEEN: Friday 3/13/20

I could not believe it. I simply rejected the idea that Dr. Scott Brabrand, FCPS’ Superintendent, would close all schools because of COVID-19. At first, two weeks out of school seemed like A LOT of free time, but when the update came out that schools will be closed for an ENTIRE MONTH I could not believe my eyes. 

I turned to my family members in absolute shock, while receiving blank stares from my mom, dad, and sister. Little did they know, they would have to deal with my constant presence for the next 30 days.

“I have literally no idea how you are going to manage to deal with me,” I said.

My sister immediately started laughing, my dad still completely confused as to what I was talking about, and my mom knew what was coming when she said “Oh no.”

“OH YES,” I said. I had to break the news to them gently because I can be quite the handful at times. I was going to make it my personal mission to provide comic relief at a time of such distress in the Rafi Residence whenever I had the chance. 

Rewinding a bit, I had conflicting feelings towards school closing. Don’t get me wrong–having a break from an intense 5 AP course schedule is exactly what I needed–however, the situation is bitter-sweet because it is my senior year of high school. A lot of “lasts” will be missed and the last moments with people I have been going to school within FCPS since elementary school seem to have been taken away from me. 

I feel like right when I started to get this high school thing down and under control, the literal PLAGUE appears. COVID-19 literally said “NOPE” to the Class of 2020. 

My courses seemed to calm down quite a bit as a second semester senior. Although, the timing to close schools the DAY AFTER I had to take an AP Psych test on the same day as an AP Bio test was quite inconvenient. Ms. Percival and Ms. Murdock, if you are reading my blog, I promise I tried my best on those tests:)

On Thursday afternoon, the day before schools were shut down, I heard rumors that the school will close, so as a joke, a few of my friends and I went to say goodbye to our math teacher who is pregnant and is due during our actual Spring Break. This meant that if schools were to close, (which we ended up being correct) then we would not see Ms. Braswell for the rest of the year. 

“We just wanted to say that if schools close forever, it’s been real, no cap,” I said. 

“See you in virtual graduation,” senior and fellow student Athena Le said. 

“Rebeka, I will see you tomorrow,” Ms. Braswell said.  

Ms. Braswell, if you are reading this then we were right, periodt. (I created an article where I quizzed my teachers on slang terms that us QuaranTEENS are using nowadays, just in case you didn’t get the slang references).

Ms. Quarry, my Pre-Calc HN teacher from last year is more of an optimist and believed that a school closure was definitely a possibility. 

Considering that I challenged all of Ms. Quarry’s classes to a pi competition on the Friday that school closed because Saturday is 3/14 (3.14 are the first digits of pi), I am disappointed that I was unable to prove my superiority over her Multivar classes (the highest level of math). Also the Friday the 13th timing freaks me out a little bit, not gonna lie.

In the sixth grade, I blew all competition by reciting over 150 digits of pi. If sixth grade Rebeka can memorize that many digits in four days, imagine what high school Rebeka is capable of. 

Ms. Quarry, if you are reading this, just know that I will come back on 3/14/21 to uphold my promise of crushing other students’ spirits, the same way my spirit was crushed when my archnemesis in the sixth grade beat me by 7 digits… and chose to take home the pie I hand baked with love, as her prize. 

Getting back on track, I have to find a hobby because a person can solve the Rubik’s Cube so many times before their fingers start cramping up. 

Overall, I hope that all of you and your loved ones are healthy and surviving Corona. Try avoiding public places with a lot of people. Listen to the CDC. If you are sick stay home and WASH YO HANDS. 

If you want to join my journey and find out how I am keeping myself busy for the next however many days, then stay tuned for more blog posts!