By Krizelle Solidum

Though being stuck at home has created uncertainty and frustration for many, it has also prompted people to try “quarantivities” — fun or different activities families can do at home to make life a little brighter. 

Jaime Bricker, head of public relations at White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, was keeping up with her fourth grader and ninth grader’s homework. Now that the school year has ended, they’ve been trying out new baking recipes. Some of their favorites are monkey bread and fried bread. 

Bricker and her kids have also been doing a multitude of arts and crafts projects. A fun one is creating Mod Podge cardboard boxes using scrap fabric which they turn into gift baskets and wrapping paper. 

One positive of quarantine life has been family time with her kids that she wouldn’t get during a normal summer because her children would be out with their friends. Although family time has been great, Bricker said she misses her friends and people with whom she shares mutual interests. 

Anchorage resident Johanna Po loves to go on drives to chase sunsets. She’s also been writing daily reflections, poetry, memories from the past and song verses. 

Her reflections specifically focus around the differences she sees in how other countries around the world have been dealing with COVID-19. She’s been feeling grateful for all the travel opportunities she’s had in the past. 

Working from home full time keeps Po busy. Within the past year, she purchased a house which has given her various at-home projects.

“I want to remind everyone that it’s important to support yourself first, whether that’s physically or mentally, then you can support others. Remember to always be kind,” Po said.

Skagway Mayor Andrew Cremata has been busy doing yard work that he usually wouldn’t have time for if it weren’t for the quarantine. He’s been working on the garden, mowing, trimming the branches and just enjoying the beautiful weather. 

One book on his must-read list is “The Sky’s the Limit,” by Wayne Dyer, a self-help guide on how to positively cope with situations. 

“Everyone’s dealing with a lot of emotional stress and this book helps with dealing with the fear of the unknown,” Cremata said. 

Keeping his work and personal life separate has helped him cope with being at home. Anything mayoral-related he does over Zoom or a teleconference meeting. He doesn’t turn on the TV while working, and focuses on keeping a good balance of spending time with family and friends.  

“This may be the only time in life that we can enjoy a peaceful quiet summer in Skagway,” Cremata said. 

  Adriana Latonio, a University of Alaska Anchorage spring 2020 graduate, has been spending time playing piano and guitar. She’s using this time at home to learn new music by ear. 

“During the pandemic, I began getting back to what I was familiar with, and what made me realize my gift with music, and have been figuring out songs that interest me by ear,” Latonio said.

Some of these tunes are “Don’t Talk Me Down,” by Jojo, “Impossible,” by Christina Aguilera, “God is a Woman,” by Ariana Grande and “Can You Blame Me,” by Kehlani. 

Latonio said being quarantined has been a blessing and a curse. She’s always been the type of person who lives to keep busy and be out and about. Now, she focuses on the positive in that she’s been given time to slow down, take a break, relax and really feel her emotions.

“Always appreciate the little things in life and live life like there’s no tomorrow. You never know when things will change,” Latonio said.

Cody Jennings, director of the Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau office, has been spending time on Netflix. Like many people, she’s watched the latest popular series, “Tiger King.”Not being much of a baker, she’s been trying recipes for different sweet breads like banana and pumpkin. 

Being away from family and friends has been a challenge but “we knew that the alternative could be much worse and that the situation was only temporary,” Jennings said.

Lee Snelgrove, a records representative at Nuvision Credit Union in Anchorage, has enjoyed watching all the “Star Wars” movies on Disney+ with his son. 

He’s also been taking a lot more care of his mother. He goes grocery shopping for her every Saturday to make sure she doesn’t have to go out and risk her health. 

Snelgrove was deemed an “essential worker” so he works at the credit union every day, which is why he wants to remind everyone that the virus is real and to remember to wear gloves and masks to keep safe. 

Bricker said she wants to share her gratitude toward the Skagway community. Specifically, the school district and food bank for their supportive work for so many people.