BOISE, Idaho — Self-isolation and social distancing amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has created a void when it comes to human connections.
Izar Bicandi refused to let that go. She is one of the thousands of Idahoans who have been let go from their jobs because of the pandemic.
However, instead of focusing on that, Bicandi has chosen to direct her attention to cheering up others with her hand-written letters.
"I think we are all thinking about each other," she said. "We're just kind of frozen."
In an effort to spread some warmth, she has been writing letters to various friends and family.
"One is my aunt, one is my best friend from high school, her parents, some coworkers," Bicandi said. "My cousin who's a doctor in San Francisco, he has a lot on his plate right now."
Bicandi considers herself a people person. Sure, she could type out an email or text, but it's just not the same.
"Face to face is different and with letter writing, I feel like it's the second-best thing 'cause you get to see where your hand touched the ink, like every word you're saying came directly from you. So I feel like there's a more personal level to it."
It's a way to connect with others when isolation is the new normal.
"Just letting them know I'm thinking about them and even though it's a scary time, you know, we have each other's backs and it's just helpful to know someone is thinking about you."
But there's more than just kind words in Bicandi's letters. She's hoping others will pay it forward and send letters of their own.
"If you enjoyed receiving this card out of the blue, I hope you will consider doing the same with someone you're thinking about," she wrote to one person. "I've included stamps so you don't have to risk going to the post office."
She included 10 stamps in each letter, so the recipients can do the same for someone else - 10 times.
"I'm hoping it will give them something to look forward to, to sit back and think, 'who am I thinking of that could really use this?' It gives them some motivation to do something positive," she said.
It's a minimal effort, right? You take five minutes or less to write something to someone and I think it can mean a lot to them," she said.
And maybe, we can keep our connection with each other -- or spread it further, faster than any virus.
"I guess this is a really crazy time, but good things are coming out of it," Bicandi said.
Watch more 'Idaho Life'
See them all in our YouTube playlist:
Note: Watch the 360 Idaho Life videos on mobile in the YouTube app for the complete immersive virtual reality experience.