Quarantine Diaries Day 66-70

Quarantine Diaries Day 66-70

Quarantine Diaries — May 14-18

Thursday, May 14 — After my morning yoga sesh, I was looking for Yodi and walked out to the beach where she normally likes to try and catch fish. I couldn’t find her, so I asked my neighbor who was just about to head out on the paddle board if she had seen Yodi. She pointed out to the silhouettes in the distance where her sisters were kayaking and told me that Yodi jumped on their boards to join them on their morning adventure. I laughed and felt grateful for my sweet silly water pup.

Friday, May 15 — Sunrise yoga with Jabs out in the treehouse, while the pups demanded our attention. The sun burst out from the east, shining on us while we got our sweat on.

And later: got in the water for a small flotilla Friday to celebrate our neighbor Sabrina’s birthday in quarantine, and then went to her place to play board games, watch virtual concerts, and eat all the choc cake that Tamiano made.

Saturday, May 16 — We repainted our fridge with a new layer of blue because the old paint was starting to peel off. And I polished our cutting boards with my homemade wood butter. Also, how amazing is the grain on this cutting board? It’s locally made and sourced from a fetau tree, and we had just bought it from our friends who made it.

It started raining; the perfect cue to relax in bed, but the skies cleared just in time for Char to come over for a little girls day with Gab and Traci at the beach. I hadn’t hung out with Char since quarantine started so it was nice to catch up over pizza and wine, and get in the water to watch the sunset.

Sunday, May 17 — I’m so stoked that our house is finally rat-free, or at least, I really hope so! We spent all morning deep cleaning our home, and did a lot of random home projects and chores. Ian installed our new shower rod and toilet paper holder. I cleaned the microwave. Ian got the stickers off all our reused jars we now use as drinking glasses and ran the robovac in the house while I swept the balcony and porch. We also had some papaya and celery about to go bad so made some juice! It was one of our most productive mornings all quarantine.

Convinced that the day was still young, Ian grabbed our SUPs and I grabbed our snorkels and we paddled out to the deep “blue hole”. I was curious to see how our corals were faring in the midst of a coral bleaching alert level 2. Ian and I did a quick site survey as we drift snorkeled back a ways, and spotted 10 small patches that were bleached.

We showered, played cards, enjoyed a bevvy and some bbq thanks to Traci and Ano, then binge-watched Hollywood, Michelle Obama’s Becoming, and re-started Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix. It was a solid great day.

Monday, May 18 — Thankful for another incredible sunrise worthy of sun salutations.

Today is Day 70 since I started quarantining. There have been ups and downs throughout this whole isolation/lockdown/grounding, but thankfully for me, there have been more ups than downs, and I owe a lot of that to my best friend for keeping me creative, and my fiance for keeping me sane and loved.

A little sick but not worried

A little sick but not worried

Hello friends and strangers!

Took a break from daily posting because I’ve unfortunately fallen ill over the weekend. It’s nothing to worry about. Just headaches, body aches, and a bit of congestion. I hate to admit that I’ve been coughing because I don’t want to cause a scare. It seems like everybody and their mommas are getting up in arms any time a person so much as clears their throat, much less actually coughs. So for your information, I’m barely coughing–I promise. And if I do cough, it’s like the babiest of baby coughs. I’ve been sneezing more than coughing. Ha-choo!

Anyhow, it’s been a whole month since I started quarantining at home… maybe a little over a month. I’m very relieved that we still do not have any confirmed cases of COVID in American Samoa – another assurance that my feverish feeling is probably just a common cold. I’ve taken sick leave today from teleworking so I can just lay in bed all day and rest up.

Here’s a photo diary from before I started feeling sick. Socially distant hangout with Gabby at the treehouse, then brunch on the balcony that Ian prepared for us, and Yodi jumped up on Ian’s lap, and it was too cute to not snap some pics. Thanks to Gabby for snapping pics of me, Ian, and Yodi.

xo, Nerelle

Photo documenting the silver linings of my life in the time of COVID

Photo documenting the silver linings of my life in the time of COVID

Social distancing is my new favorite hobby

But first, a quick update:

The island’s borders are virtually closed to the outside world, save for cargo flights and a recent C130 which arrived with some medical supplies.

Only 7 COVID tests have been administered in American Samoa, and at the time of writing 5 have come back negative, awaiting 2 more results. But also, an article came out today that there’s an influx of patients at the hospital with flu-like symptoms, which has a lot of people worried.

We’re still on Code Blue, which means we are on high alert but not freaking out completely…. so that’s good. 

I feel so grateful to have the ocean right as my backyard. To be able to get outside daily, move my body, and still feel safe and sheltered in my small close knit village community

it’s always a highlight of each day in quarantine.

I think I posted similar pics from my iPhone and wrote a blurb about these photos in a previous entry, but I wanted to share some photos from my SLR camera here. I woke up early and Ian was no where to be found. I walked out to the beach and took photos of the rain curtaining Mt. Rainmaker, and the mist in the distance. I saw Ian was out paddle surfing, and I joined him in the water for a dip and chatted with some neighbors at a distance. We got back to the house and showered and prepped for work at 8am.


I wish we could do this every morning.

As evening approaches, Ian and I sit outside for a little happy hour, which involves a cold bevvy and card games on the balcony. A warm ocean breeze whistles through the trees, and we are treated to a tasty rainbow right above us–a gentle reminder that


this too shall pass.

Happy hour snaps of my handsome fiancé. Even after spending every single day at home with him for the past 3 weeks in quarantine, I never tire of him, nor does tire of me, which has me in awe. He makes me laugh every day. He makes quarantine feel like a staycation, and I’m so


blessed he’s my person.

A bit batty

about bats lately. They’re so fun to watch, flying from tree to tree, eating coconut seeds. 

Venturing out

 Is it weird that I’m nervous to leave our house now? We limit going out as a precaution because we secretly dread the news that may come out any day now of a confirmed case here. On Saturday, we dropped off some stuff for Gabby at the VA quarantine facility, picked up some groceries and ran an errand, then came back home.


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Another happy hour of card games and bevvies. I seriously feel like we’ve got a good handle on what retired life will be like. We only hope we are still living by the ocean by then,


happy, healthy, and together.

This photo from Sunday reminds me of how upset I was over some silly thing. Ian was trying to make me feel better, and one of the ways he does that is by getting me

excited about the sky.

He snapped this picture of the sun setting outside and pointed out to me the clarity of the sun on the water creating vivid sunset lines in the lagoon. I looked out and saw what he saw. It was beautiful I was still being a sour puss so I responded with a begrudging “mhm yeah” but I couldn’t help but think my guy is so sweet.

This has kind of been a long post about nothing in particular, but I’ve really just been enjoying this photo documentation of my life lately.

Despite the harsh reality of what’s happening around the world, these little snippets are my silver linings, and are an appreciation of the little things in life that keep me

sane and happy.

Quarantine Diaries: Keep calm and stay 6 feet away

Quarantine Diaries: Keep calm and stay 6 feet away

How to keep calm and socially distant


Make food, and make it pretty. Wash hands.

Eat and enjoy it. Wash hands.

Spend time with fur babies. Wash hands.

Get fresh air. Wash hands.

Let the sun in. Wash hands.

Go for a drive. Wash hands.

Put on a face mask. Wash hands.

Buy materials for home projects. Wash hands.

Go home. Wash hands.

Make something. Wash hands.


Quarantine Diaries: Golden hour reflections

Quarantine Diaries: Golden hour reflections

Today is the first time I’ve felt really just crappy since I started home quarantine. It’s also day 14, my last official day in isolation.

I’m not sure why I feel so ‘bleh’ so suddenly… I did yoga, ate a good breakfast, got productive with some work, and cleaned my room trying to snap myself out of this funk. As I reflect on my time in quarantine, I’ve been really happy about the time apart. Time to myself, and time spent with my fiancé since he just got back from a long trip. I’m staying hydrated, sticking to a routine, finished a book, watched a few shows, journaled, edited photos, deep cleaned the house, worked out, gone swimming and paddling, and posted on my blog a lot. These are all things I love and could spend hundreds of hours doing for the rest of this pandemic.

Still, maybe it’s because my mind has been busy about getting things done, and making the most of this extra time. I guess I just haven’t slowed down too much since starting quarantine two weeks ago. Plus, checking the news daily for updates about COVID and its impacts all around the world might be stressing me out.

I think I just need to clear my headspace. Do nothing, be still. Even just for a little bit. It’s going to be ok… just wash your hands and rest your mind Nerelle.

Hope you are all staying safe and healthy, and getting fresh air and sunshine when you can. xoxo

Self portraits at golden hour
Self portraits at golden hour

Quarantine Diaries: Saving money during coronavirus frenzy

Quarantine Diaries: Saving money during coronavirus frenzy

The coronavirus is causing catastrophe across the world, affecting people’s health, livelihoods, and even entire economies. On the vein of financial impacts, I’ve luckily been able to save money from this whole ordeal.

First of all, I am so fortunate to be able to work from home. I’m truly grateful for a supportive work environment that’s allowed me to find safety and solace in both my income and my health.

Normally, in any other given month before the coronavirus, I’d spend money on: groceries, eating out maybe twice or thrice a week, little knick knacks that I probably don’t need but buy on impulse when I’m browsing through a store, online purchases, and gasoline for our truck to commute. Now that I’m at home 24/7, and apart from our other basic monthly bills like rent, utilities, and internet, I’ve only been spending money on food supplies to sustain ourselves. Oh, and I did buy one new e-book too for $9.99, but that’s about it.

Ian and I are on mandatory home quarantine, and are not allowed to leave our home, minus the occasional swims and SUPs to get exercise and fresh air. So we really can’t drive anywhere, saving us money on fuel, eating out, and the random impulse purchases.

Through this all, I’m still mindful of my local economy. I prioritize buying locally grown produce like Taputimu Farm eggs or Tutuila Greens’ lettuce, and buying local from businesses that keep money invested in our home economy, versus buying online where my money leaves the island and likely never returns.

Another way we are so fortunate is to be surrounded by a very supportive community. Ian’s supervisor at work has been so gracious and kind to do our groceries for us the last two weekends. We gave him a list of our essential food staples, which he’d buy while he was out doing his groceries, and then he dropped it off to us in reusable bags which we’d then disinfect and return. Our neighbors are also always checking in on us when they make the occasional grocery run to see if we need anything. It’s such a blessing to have people you can turn to, and of course we would do the same for our community members in need.

Photo from this weekend, after we got our groceries and deep cleaned our kitchen.

Celebrating my birthday in quarantine, social distancing outdoor movie night with friends

Celebrating my birthday in quarantine, social distancing outdoor movie night with friends

March 18, 2020

I just want to start by saying that every new day is worth the effort. Despite the craziness happening around the world, it has always been important to me to make every moment count, whether it’s in celebrating a milestone, resetting, or finding healing.

That being said… yesterday was my 28th birthday! …also my 6th day in quarantine… BUT we made the best of it!

Being in quarantine made celebrating my birthday a bit tricky because I hadn’t left my village in almost a week, and hadn’t even gotten in my car to get groceries or see friends/family. Luckily, I have a great community of neighbors and friends around me, and we got together for a pandemic-social-distancing-quarantine themed outdoor movie night. We watched Contagion, which was intentionally ironic because that is essentially real life events right now. We stomached it without too much cringe though.

Initially, I had zero plans for my birthday. I’d been spending most of my quarantine evenings either blogging (so much time to blog these days, I love it!) or watching movies on our rad new projector that Ian’s parents gifted us for Christmas. I thought it would suck to not do anything at all, and asked Ian if we could do an outdoor movie night. He discussed with our friend and neighbor Traci, and we were a go! Ian sent out a message to a few neighbors that we share our yard with so it would still be considered a “stay at home party”. Plus we all practiced social distancing and situated ourselves at least 6 feet apart.

The view, and our cute simple set up: white fabric and string lights taped to a shipping container

Traci and Ano’s cozy couch set up, with Officer up on top

Made some bomb fish lumpia, which Ian was mmMmm-ing so hard lol

Ian was even disinfecting the camp chairs with Lysol hahaha

Photos of me and Ian taken by Traci

Can we all have your immunity, Matt Damon?!

The friends/neighbors all keeping their distance from us hahah

Thank goodness WHO let the dogs out… Yodi snuggled so hard with us during the movie

From earlier that day

 I was in the middle of a conference call for my annual employee performance review–which I’m pretty sure I nailed–when Ian came in with this lovely brunch spread for me! I waved him away while I finished up my call, then Ian came back and snapped this cute flick and told me to open up my sweet gift… also pandemic themed, organic patchouli soap! I’m definitely the type of person that truly appreciates handmade natural bar soaps, so I love that Ian gets me.

Also during my conference call, my supervisor wished me happy birthday and asked for my favorite order from Ruby Red Cafe. Apparently my coworkers were planning to get food from there to deliver to me! I love that my team always celebrates birthdays, regardless of how busy we are,  or if we’re not at the office, or even  during a dang pandemic haha. That was so so so sweet. Sefa and Bel stopped by a little later, and Sefa cracked open his door covering his nose and mouth with his shirt all cautious, and I busted out laughing. We are in quarantine and so it was good that he did, but if you know Sefa, he’s simply hilarious. He put the food down (and brought my yoga mat from the office) and backed away slowly back to his truck. I thanked them, laughing and waving goodbye. They got food for both me and Ian, satisfying our power bowl craving from Ruby Red! ahhh
After clocking out from work, Ian and I head to the beach for a little fresh air. Ian went SUP surfing while I hung out in the hammocks under the pier with a bevvy for a bit. Then I swam around, and Ian was showing me his swimming techniques because I told him I wanted to get better at swimming. 


I’m truly so grateful for this man coming into my life, loving me the way he does, accepting me for who I am, and wanting to grow old with me too. 

Happy birthday to meeeee!