Tenzin Palzom

Written by Canmore Museum

What does an average day look like for you right now?

“I’ve been laid off from work ‘til December. I work at the Banff Centre, so all the businesses up there are closed. I’ve spent most of my time in my room doing some LinkedIn Learning and a bit of meditation as well. Part of the lockdown has given me a lot of time for myself, self-realization, going around for walks, taking part in community work.”

How are you getting along with your close relationships? 

“Me and my friend have been roommates since 2015, since we moved here from India. We arrived on the same day, on the same flight. Ever since we’ve been roommates. Our understanding has progressed over the years and we are getting along. She has work but she was laid off a little bit. Between us it’s all good. It’s nice to give each other some encouragement during this time.”

What’s been the hardest part of this for you?

“Hardest part was the groceries… before we don’t need to sanitize them, [now] we have to wash everything again when we get the stuff from groceries. A lot of sanitizing, I think. I don’t want to use the chemical sprays, but we have to use it for precautions.“

Is there something that turned out to be a secret blessing from this experience?

“I think its kind of a slowdown. It slowed me down, I think. Normally on my regular days it’s work, and it’s a lot of hard work. It’s hectic. Since I’m laid off, I choose not to work for time being. Just adjusting to that schedule took me a little time but it’s all good because I’m giving time to meditation, a little bit of cooking. Since [my roommate] goes to work I prepare the supper all the time, so it’s ready, warm and on the table.

Normally I cook rice, lentils, veges. Momos are steamed dumplings. Chicken doesn’t taste that good but beef in the dumplings as a stuffing goes very well. Whenever it’s the weekend we try to make it when my roommate [isn’t working]. Kneading the dough by hand, flattening them, putting the stuffing. It takes quite a lot of time. My roommate bought a particular steamer all the way from India so we can make it. It has 3 stacks so you can steam them at the same time. Most restaurants in India serve it in the bamboo steamer.

Thukpa is like a noodle. It’s very hearty and very warm. During winter especially when there is a huge heavy snow pour, we try to have thukpa. You can make it vegetarian and with eggs.”

Is there anything you are afraid of?

“At the beginning yes sure. I was working a little bit. When the lockdown started in March I was working ‘til June. I went to work with the same fear but as long as you keep going, with like, following the precautionary measures and keeping up your immunity, there’s not a lot to worry.”

At the beginning there was a lot of questions, but later I started thinking it’s like, I feel like this shall also pass as long as you keep yourself strong. Fear doesn’t bring that much good in you. I didn’t think it would last this long, all these extra measures. Businesses closing, loss of economy.

What do you think you will remember from this time?

“Being in a small community like Banff, I think we look out for each other a lot more. Like, if you’re in a city like Calgary, I don’t know… Everything is ok, people reach out. We reach out. People ask us if we need any cultural food… everything is already expensive in Banff but with the layoffs it’s even more. Jill from Banff has been helping.”

If you could speak directly to somebody in the future, what would you want them to know about this time period in your life?

“Stay strong!”

Anything else?

“My roommate has been trying to get to her husband who lives in Boston. Because of COVID, all her paperwork was in stop-still. She’s really trying, and waiting to get back to her husband.“

The Stories of Resilience project offers deeply personal insights into the lives of Bow Valley residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. They each share their unique challenges, fears, hopes, and lessons learnt during this unique time in history. This project was brought to life by a collaboration of local organizations: Bow Valley Immigration Partnership (BVIP), artsPlace Canmore, Kristy Wolfe Photography, Canmore Museum. With special thanks to Community Connections in the Bow Valley.

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