Post 17: #Coronavirus and a global perspective

We’re a group of friends and family in various parts of the world, and we’re sharing our experiences and thoughts while on lockdown, in quarantine, or self-isolation. Join us!

Going Slightly Mad

RafifJ in Malaga, Spain

Day 17 for those of us in Malaga. All of Spain, actually.

More cities and towns all over the world are going on some sort of lockdown. Everyone is hoping for a cure..a miracle…a reprieve from isolation…When will this curve flatten? I found out today that the Spanish government *might* extend the lockdown another 2 weeks, and it’s not an April Fool’s joke.

I can take it. I’m learning to deal with the frustration and claustrophobia pretty well. I have awesome coping mechanisms that I’ll share here. Try them! Share them with your friends and family!

Talk to your plants. A, they will love you for it; and B, they’ll grow faster. They might also respond. A little conversation never hurt anyone.

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Clean obsessively. Your living space will thank you. Besides, playing hide-and-seek with imaginary dust bunnies is hilarious.

Rearrange your furniture, repeatedly. You might find more space if you look really hard. Plus, this is a great workout. Plus, you can use some of your spare time trying to undo the damage to the floors.

Other than these, I try to play ping-pong every night. I definitely use trash-talking as a tactic. Hopefully someone other than me is listening.

The Kafiyeh

RJD in Beirut, Lebanon

At 13, I was in an all-girls English school. My classmates would dress to a T, wear makeup, do their hair every day before coming to school. I used to wear my dirty jeans, a NATO general jacket that I bought for £2 at the Chelsea Army Surplus store, my sneakers, and a kafiyeh. Every single day.

At 16, I was dating a really cute and handsome Norwegian photographer. We went to Hampstead Heath to have my photos taken. And I was still wearing my kafiyeh.

When I went to college in an upstate New York, predominantly Jewish college, I naively took my kafiyeh with me.

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Today, I had to go out again. I saw a woman pass me by wearing a kafiyeh face mask. I was so jealous. I decided to come home and make one for myself.

Why has the kafiyeh been an integral part of my life? It’s because I was a child of the fedayeen era. Leila Khaled left her mark on me. I wanted to be just like her. In Beirut, at 14, I was a rebellious teenager who was the first in line when a school strike was called. At 15, I wanted to defy my English classmates and make sure they knew I was different.

Making statements at a young age shape who we are as adults. I am still a rebel. I am still a daredevil, climbing every mountain and sailing every sea, even at 55!

As I settle into my retirement, after having had to close down my business and during this Corona period, my rebellious, defiant self is looking at the future, as bleak as it is now, and wondering what in the world I will be doing next that is out of bounds? Thoughts again…

I am going back to making my kafiyeh mask now to see where it will take me next.

Virginia Closed for Business Today

Roula B., Falls Church, Virginia

My son knows I’m seriously pissed off when I start yelling at him in Arabic. Then I leave the room and start talking to myself in Arabic (which he doesn’t quite understand). It normally doesn’t happen very often, but it happened today for the first time in months. I swear, if there was a psychiatry franchise trading on the stock market right now, I’d buy a whole lot. This global imprisonment is going to make half the world’s middle class poor, and the other half crazy mad.

As for me, I’m just trying to be the best adult I can be in this household of two without our brains rotting too much as a result of this global human experience. But…I can’t complete a thought. I can’t finish my sentences. I forget what I’d doing minute to minute.

Today, I got my period. Normally I try to schedule as little as possible and relax as much as possible on the first day of my period. I just take it easy and elevate myself to Goddess for the day. I don’t even practice any yoga. This ritual is very important to me. As I write in my own blog, my menstrual cycle is very important to me.

But today, even though there’s really nothing to take off my schedule, I have to homeschool and argue, and feed, and entertain, and tidy, and yell in Arabic.

After I stop mumbling my curses, I notice my son is quietly folding his laundry. He’s tiptoeing around me. Now he’s done putting away his laundry, making his bed, and he’s making his own breakfast.

I’m just keeping my silent fatwa here and watching.

He’s putting butter in the pan, and frying an egg.

Oh, my! He made a breakfast sandwich all on his own! Toasted bread, egg, ham, and cheese.

How long will this last? Who knows, but right now, at this moment, all is good and we’re an English-speaking household again.

What’s Essential???

Tina F. in Fairfax, Virginia

Do a little dance do a little jig because today I’m free. I have been self-quarantining for 2 weeks since I returned from England. Now I can finally go out!  …..well, just for essentials. 

This euphoria is suddenly dampened with the realization that I have no mask and no gloves and I’m running low on hand sanitizer. So I better stay home and order my essentials online. The problem though is that online ordering has caused me so much stress in the past 2 weeks. It appears that the country has run out of many “essentials.”

The other day I was obsessively looking for gluten-free flour which is now hard to find, and yeast is nonexistent. I get this weird feeling in my stomach when that happens. I feel anxious. Which is a real laugh because I don’t like to bake, but now I’m obsessed with finding the ingredients. 

Today I add any gluten-free box mix I find into the online cart. Then I think I really should be getting more important things like rubbing alcohol so I can make my own sanitizer and my family will be safe if they venture out. But wait for it ….. there isn’t any rubbing alcohol to be found. Haha this is funny! Well not really because now my mood is switching to irritable. (Take a deep breath Tina and just go back to the Whole Foods cart and checkout). As I switch focus back to my cart I find that half my items are no longer available and there are no delivery slots available for the next three days. 

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Nothing has changed. My search for essential items has driven me to the brink of insanity all the while my phone is buzzing and blinking notifying me of the various, texts, emails, and headlines I’m missing. 

By the time my family starts showing up for the day I have worked myself into a crazy person. And they scurry back into their holes. 

Tomorrow I’m taking a 3-hour break from the phone and pretend like I’m on a remote island without wifi….. I’ll let you know how that goes.