Editor's note: Ace is blogging about being a dad trying to rebound from the coronaivrus pandemic at My Rebound by FOX 17. He desired for his son to feel both pride in and connection to his Filipino heritage, so he founded the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival in 2016. Also a banker, he recently resigned from his position – now staying full-time with his 6-year-old son. He and his wife, son and dog live in Plainfield Township.
My pre-COVID routine consisted of waking up at 5 am, and doing a quick meditation. I made it a habit to read one chapter of the Bible, followed with a 10-minute beginner yoga from YouTube. Then a cold shower to give me a bolt of energy, and a short walk. Afterwards, I would make scrambled eggs and spinach for breakfast or a power smoothie. I recently added tongue twister exercises into the routine, as I heard it helps with speech clarity.
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I also set a 10-minute timer, where I acted as quickly as possible to clean the house. It makes deep weekend cleaning much more manageable. By the time 7 am rolled in, I would put check marks on my to-do list and wake Jackie with morning kisses. As soon as she was up, I would make our bed, put on a dress shirt and suit I prepared the night before and then off to work.
Now my routine is far different, and not really a routine. The day is a myriad of juggling tasks and hours of cleaning and organizing, and waiting for Jackie to get home so I can get out of the house. Is this the new normal?
The other day, I received a call from a friend and found myself reaching out to the community on behalf of the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival (GRAPF). My “routine” was turned all upside down.
As it turned out, the Kent County Small Business Recovery Program was reaching out for support to spread information about recovery grants from $5,000-$20,000. The program would give small local shops with access to grants that I was sure would help. I thought about the ones nearby that I visit and was motivated to get to work right away.
One of the questions I have heard is, what is the catch? And the answer is, Kent County needs our businesses. We need our neighborhood shops and homeowners to make a happy, healthy, thriving community to share in. So Redd and I started by getting out and sharing information right away, encouraging our friends and helping with questions. I also contacted the network of volunteers at GRAPF, and started a group chat to organize our efforts. There was an immediate response and the energy was great.
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Together we helped to manage the work of translating and assisting with applications, making phone calls to share information, and holding a workshop to help answer questions. Thankfully, many people joined in to make the most of this opportunity. I have been wonderfully busy, and still trying to do laundry every three days.
These past weeks I have really enjoyed the excitement of recognizing a need in the community. It was rewarding to help so many people apply for grants and get so much accomplished in such a short time. Real connections that create trust can give us a path toward understanding each other that can overcome need, and I feel very blessed to be in a position where I can help.
I have been slacking off from my pre-COVID routine, but these uplifting activities inspire me to take the first step back to discipline. I love all this time with Redd. But I need to figure out what is next for my career outside the home.