Banana cake to soufflé pancakes
More than 10 years ago, Mel Mao lay in a coma stricken by a viral illness.
Ignoring doctor’s advice to switch off her life support, Mel’s parents instead had their daughter baptised. The 22-year-old recovered.
Last July, the Catholic Voice shared the remarkable story of this Hong Kong-born high achiever, a pianist who knew six languages and was studying accounting and law at the University of New South Wales while working part-time in her father’s finance business.
It was on a 2008 flight to Hong Kong for a family holiday that Mel fell ill. Doctors discovered encephalitis, an acute inflammation of the brain that can lead to permanent brain damage or death.
After six years recovering in Hong Kong, Mel returned to Australia in 2014 and settled with her family in Canberra.
The church plays a big role in Mel’s life, particularly her parish of Mary Help of Christians in South Woden.
Here, Mel, 33, writes about her ‘Zoom’ progress during the recent lockdown and her gratitude for life.
Being stuck at home all day can be very boring. I can’t go to the gym, the church or buy groceries like I used to.
It is a good thing I have a decent Wifi at home and an iPad. I have always liked to meddle with all things IT and my life seems to revolve around Zoom and YouTube these days.
The instructors at YMCA and Active Recovery are both using Zoom for my physio sessions, using ‘equipment’ around my house like the kitchen bench, wardrobes and chairs for push-ups, leg presses or sit-ups.
I am doing some walking and cycling at home too, on my exercise bike.
My singing group, Mixed Bag, has moved to Zoom. And I have made new friends as some new members have joined. They had always wanted to come but lived too far away.
I am also dabbling in a bit of baking, just cookies and cakes so far. I have made a plain banana cake and am looking into soufflé pancakes next.
I have been continuing my CIT study and am in the middle of an IT Certificate course.
To keep up my faith, I have subscribed to a few Catholic channels on Youtube which also send daily inspirational stories and quotes. I have been attending weekly online masses but they cannot compare with physically going to Mass with Fr Richard.
This outbreak has reminded me how small we human beings are and how precious life is, while at the same time, so disposable.
No matter how rich or clever we are, we cannot outsmart nature. Who would have known this coronavirus would come and kill so many people, spread so fast and last so long?
I feel very lucky and grateful to be alive and healthy every day (having ‘regained’ life once already) and that my life is safe and happy.