Post 74: #Coronavirus and a global perspective.

Today’s topic: If this were 2019…

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 74.


Head in the sand

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

It’s May 2019, and I am weeping uncontrollably. My countries are a mess and there’s nothing I can do about it. The land of my parents is embroiled in a conflict that has killed at least hundreds of thousands of civilians, while the international community has watched, impotently, and clucked sympathetic yet meaningless drivel. The struggle for power in #Syria just fuels hatred and sows fear while civilians are literally dying to be free.

Meanwhile, the land of my birth, once (to me at least) the bastion of freedom, the land of equal opportunity, the upholder of human rights, is descending into authoritarianism, the kind we see in the land of my parents. The ongoing racism and increasingly blatant hatred in America have chipped away at any belief I once had that the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were sacred for all Americans, not just the White ones. Since January 2017, I have been watching a power grab that sows hatred and fear in America, while people of color are literally dying because they are not free.

It’s May 2019, and I cannot stomach the thought of another revolution. The one in Syria was already too much for me. I apply for a long-term visa to Spain. If I can’t be effective in either of my countries, at least I can figuratively stick my head in the beautiful, peaceful, soothing sand of the Costa del Sol.


Silver Lining in Every Cloud

Charlie, Metro #Washington, DC

What was I doing with my life this time last year? I was swigging Dr Pepper. Eating pre-digested, nutrient-free junk food, engorged with every petro-chemical-laden flavor enhancer. All this high living was topped off with me watching 24/7 news 24/7.

Today, in the time of corona, I haven’t had a Dr Pepper in three months. I only let homecooked, fresh foods pass my lips now, so my digestive system’s doing the happy dance 24/7. And 24/7 news binge watching? Off the menu. I refuse to let the words of another broadcast opinionist, who’s posing as a journalist, hit my eardrums ever again. And this is coming from someone who used to be a member of that tribe. It was once a semi-proud profession. Now the Founding Fathers are wondering about the wisdom of the First Amendment. They may be thinking someone should open a good old-fashioned can of Second Amendment whoop-ass on that tribe.

No longer watching the news has given me all the time I need to work with a business/publishing consultant to put the polishing touches on a book I’ve written. Comes out in a few weeks. The consultant’s also guiding me in retooling my business, which corona has taken its toll on. But that’s okay, because now I created a better…pandemic-proof…business.

So, even when the lockdown’s lifted, I’m staying in. Except for going to the hair salon. This time last year my hair looked pretty fetching. Not so much today.


May 27, 2019

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

If this were May 27, 2019, it would be Memorial Day and my family and I would be gathering at my friend’s pool for the annual “official start of summer” party. There would be around 25 adults and teenagers for a special kefta BBQ. We would be eating, drinking, and swimming all day. Whilst a few brave souls attempt to sing karaoke.

But it’s May 27, 2020, and it is Day 74 since the Covid shutdowns began. I have been at home celebrating for the past 2.5 months, eating and drinking every day. The public pools will not open for the season this year and it looks like my friends pool will not be open to non family either. But don’t worry about me, after several cocktails I will shake the dust off my bikini and attempt to wear it on my overweight body. Then I’ll go running through the sprinklers in the front yard singing Shake that Money Maker at the top of my voice. That should spice up the neighborhood gossip.

Retrieved from pinterest.com

Italy, work, family, work

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

Every summer, I visit my family in Virginia for a few weeks and then my husband and I go on a trip for a month. Usually, Italy is on the books for 10 days, somewhere during that month. 

Last year, we spent 3 weeks in Tuscany and Cinque Terre. Blissful, peaceful, quiet, beautiful. 

I always used to worry about my work back in Beirut, because during the summer the workload was lighter and we usually did some housekeeping. I had to stay on top of things and could not disconnect completely from Beirut. 

But what I do, when on these trips, is spend time alone walking the streets of where we are for a few hours, go to a spa, and immerse myself in the culture. In Italy, cocktails before dinner is a tradition. Sitting at a bar in the local piazza with a glass of Prosecco and big giant green olives is heavenly.

During that time, I scan through my phone to locate the best way to walk to the restaurant, where we will have dinner, taking the longest way possible to enjoy the sounds of the town, look into the shops, and talk to the natives. 

I can just hear it now, the sound of people chit-chatting, walking their dogs on cobblestone streets, stopping by to say “ciao” and there is always the one guy who knows everyone and is the loudest! He also always has a dog!!!

Oh, how I miss Italy, my work worries, my family, and my life in 2019. And oh, how I look forward to visiting Italy and my family as soon as possible. Meantime, I do also miss my work and my ex-normal life. Yes, I am adjusting to 2020, and 2019 is nothing but a distant memory in my otherwise busy head. 


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Post 68: #Coronavirus and a global perspective…

…on staycation versus quarantine.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 68.


Staycation, quarentincation! What’s the difference.

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

In the late 1970s, early 1980s, my parents lived in England. My youngest brother was still living at home and my older brother and I were teenagers attending separate boarding schools a few hours away. We only went home on school breaks. I looked forward to the Christmas holiday, when my brothers and I would reunite and spend a few weeks at home. We literally stayed home for 2 of those weeks. All the shops and restaurants were closed and there was nowhere to go, so we made the most of our time at home.

My mom would help us stock up on all our snacks and goodies. We took time going through the special 2-week edition of the TV Guide, circling every program, show, or movie we wanted to watch during the holiday break. The broadcasting companies made an effort to bring home new and exciting programs for Christmas, and with four channels on TV to choose from, we didn’t want to miss anything. We spent several of those days in our PJs well into the afternoon, watching TV, snacking, and playing board games.

I know it sounds very similar to the current situation we all find ourselves in due to the #coronavirus. But back in those days, the shutdown was self-inflicted. It was Christmas and the tradition in England was that everything would close for at least 10 days to 2 weeks. Also the dates of the closures were defined. From December 23-January 3, the country was pretty much closed for Christmas holiday. Then by the time everything reopened, we were ecstatic about going out again and shopping. Those are some of the fondest memories of my youth.

Fast-forward to March 2020, and I find myself in a similar situation with my family. Everything is closed. I’m in my PJs till the afternoon, I have stocked up on everyone’s favorite snacks, and we all watch a lot of TV.

I secretly had a romanticized view about being shut off at home, but now 2 months later, we are still here at home trying to wrap our heads around our changing world. Is this a quarantine or a staycation? Who cares? Some days it feels like a fun vacation from the real world, but most days it is very painful because it is endless. The end is not designated on a specific date so we cannot prepare for it to be over and move on.

With that being said, I would love to go back to the days when holidays were sacred and everyone took time off. In this country, we set the standards for opening late or even 24/7, and the UK has slowly been following in the US’s greedy consumeristic footsteps. They even have a Black Friday sale! And they do not celebrate Thanksgiving, for heavens sake!

Unfortunately, our society has become so used to working ridiculous hours and receiving instant gratification for all our needs. When we were asked to stop and slow down, we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off. I agree this is too long, but from now on, let’s all fight to get more time off in our lives and take time to stop and relax – not just from pure exhaustion, but because we want to.

Retrieved from dictionary.com. No copyright infringement intended.

The difference is choice

Norma B. Wallace, Bend, #Oregon

I have always looked forward to a Staycation as an opportunity.  It was an opportunity to do those things in an area that I lived in that usually only tourists do. So many times, we would get bogged down with work, housework, and schoolwork, and not enjoy where we lived. Right now I live where outdoor activities are boundless, there are usually plenty of outdoor concerts in the summer featuring both local and more famous people. There are spectator sports, as well as many sports to participate in.  Actually, I have been fortunate and have lived in 10 states around the country. All of them have most of these activities in different forms. It was always nice to take a day or week, and just enjoy and not do any work at home. 

The difference between a stay-at-home order, lockdown, or quarantine and a staycation is that the first is mandatory.  Just the fact that I am required to stay in makes it difficult. The expression, “we are all in this together” isn’t true. During this time, I could go out for a walk while others could not.   Whatever individual restrictions were—they were restrictions. Who wouldn’t have enjoyed a day by the fire with nothing to do as a rest from the rat race, before the shut down? In quarantine that day inside is mandatory and all that can be thought of, especially at first, was what we needed to be doing. Now all that can be thought of is, “what’s next?”

Is it possible to try and trick our minds into enjoying our time in quarantine? Can we treat it as a staycation? Probably not all the time, but try some of the time. I have seen lots of videos in which people are doing inventive, fun activities. I have seen lots of family time enjoyed. 

Let’s try to remember the good times of being together (forget the annoyances of being too close 24/7 or learn from them).


Good day, sunshine

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

I think back to the “early days,” when we thought lockdowns and states of emergency and panic and crippling anxiety would only last a couple of weeks. But today, Day 68, I can say, with certainty, two things:

  1. I can’t believe it’s been 68 days.
  2. Quarantine is no staycation.

Remember when we would stay up half the night to watch news, and sleep most of the day? Remember when we panicked because the rapid spread of Covid-19 surely meant the end of the world? Remember when it was cold and rainy and the weather was lousy and everything was miserable?

Yeah, all that anxiety seemed to evaporate as soon as the restrictions were eased here. It’s finally a staycation! The sun is out! The sky is blue! The remaining days of lockdown are hopefully few, and will seem like a distant memory soon.

Now that everyone can go outdoors [almost] at will, the smiles have returned to the faces of passersby. The pigeons aren’t so hungry, and I swear the bugs are acting all friendly. We’re in that honeymoon phase, reacquainting ourselves with charming neighborhoods, reliving nice memories, hanging out at the beach. The street musicians are slowly making their way back to the plazas and the pier. Outdoor restaurants are starting to fill up. Living in a place as happy as Malaga definitely makes for an awesome staycation. Life is good again.

Photo by Matt Hardy on Pexels.com

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Post 51: #Coronavirus and a global perspective…

…on human interactions in the future

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 51. 


COVIDIOTS

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

Today in #Beirut, it was the first day of the second phase of lockdown easing. Restaurants are open today, with many restrictions. So are many other small businesses, such as barbers. Hairdressers will open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, while barbers can open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Having a “necessary” errand to run, I went out thinking things would still be quiet on the corner of the American University of Beirut. But alas, it was mayhem. We are back to the double parking, but worse yet, everyone I encountered had no social distancing on their minds nor were wearing face masks. Gloves are a thing of the past.

On the way back, I encountered a lady going up in the elevator. She did not have on a mask or gloves, and she stood as close to me as possible. I freaked out. This is the second time during these lockdowns that I freak out because someone is not maintaining social distancing with me. The first one was at the bank a couple of months ago. And when I lose my s%*^,  it is not a pretty sight.

I was hoping the Lebanese people will follow the instructions for the phase-in of openings and would adhere to the guidelines by the Ministry of Health. I was also hoping that the police would be more visible in monitoring. I was hoping that all the efforts of the poor Minister of Health, who has managed to help us contain the virus in Lebanon, with fewer than 750 cases despite the protests.

So how do I see human interactions changing in the future? I simply don’t, with so many Covidiots around.

Essentially, this means I am going to keep on losing my s%*^ and freaking out. I suppose my view on the change in human interaction means I will be staying home for a long time to come.


Thanks to the pandemic

Charlie, Metro #Washington, DC

I’ve gotten a bit metaphysical about the pandemic lately. I’m wondering if the pandemic is Mother Nature and the Universe bringing some balance back into our insane world.

  1. Thanks to the pandemic, we’re not likely to go back to being smushed into overcrowded planes.
  2. Thanks to the pandemic, we may seriously consider doing something about the overcrowded highways. How many people now teleworking wanna go back to sitting in traffic for two hours when the trip should only take twenty minutes?
  3. Thanks to the pandemic, continuing to telework could give parents extra time for the working/life balance they want.
  4. Thanks to the pandemic, we’re probably going to be seeing automakers bow to making less polluting cars sooner rather than later.
  5. Thanks to the pandemic, families are spending more time together.
  6. Thanks to the pandemic, people are going outside more and walking off some of the hours spent at the computer.
  7. Thanks to the pandemic, colleges are looking at lowering their bloated tuition costs.
  8. Thanks to the pandemic, scurrilous lenders may no longer be able to keep students indentured to student loan debt for the rest of their lives.
  9. Thanks to the pandemic, kids being bullied at school are getting a break from the misery.
  10. Thanks to the pandemic, parents are having to home-school their kids. That’s going to up teacher appreciation and maybe their salaries.
  11. Thanks to the pandemic, the overheated stock market is cooling its jets.
  12. Thanks to the pandemic, karma is having a bit of a laugh at folks who belittled Muslim women for covering their faces. Now we’ve all gotta cover our faces when we go out.
  13. Thanks to the pandemic, online dating is less about the quick hookup and more about getting to know someone first.
  14. Thanks to the pandemic, we see that Mother Nature sees us all the same. She doesn’t care if you live on Nob Hill or a rented trailer. She’ll kick anyone’s butt when she chooses.
  15. Thanks to the pandemic, we have time to reflect on what we really want out of life and not wait till later to go for it, because if there will be a later.

My list could be twice as long, but I’ll stop here. I want the deaths from the pandemic to stop. I don’t want to go back to the way life was before the pandemic.


The new “normal” and the elderly

Norma B. Wallace, Bend, #Oregon

We all keep talking about the new “normal” and how it will be different after the lockdown. I think young people will welcome it. After all, weren’t they born with an iPhone and iPad in their hands? Isn’t social media already their mode of communication?

Weren’t many give debit cards as soon as they were old enough to use one to spend their allowance? Do they even know what a check is? What about the elderly?

I am 76 years old, and I don’t even think of myself as elderly. I believe I am fairly computer literate; my son may disagree with that. He gets a call from me every once in a while—I need IT support, please. At least I hope I say please, sometimes I am so upset that I have no idea what comes out of my mouth.

Retrieved via Internet search.
No copyright infringement intended.

I have friends, some even younger than me, who only have a flip phone; some friends have no cell phone at all. Just yesterday, I paid my bills online. Yet I have friends who still write checks and even balance a checkbook. One friend had to go to the bank last week to cash a check. I asked why? Just take a picture of the check. I have to admit, I was skeptical of doing that the first time I tried. I still haven’t tried Zelle. That’s been out a couple years now, so I am behind.

With the new “normal” being more and more computerized, automatic, and impersonal—don’t forget social distancing. How will the elderly and computer-challenged (I like that instead of illiterate) be able to function? One way is for those around them to be helpful by teaching and reteaching, patiently, and understanding. Simple things for the younger generation are complex for many of the older generation. While so many things are advancing, there needs to be a way to make the way we do things backward-compatible for those who did not grow up with a computer in hand.

When I think of all the problems in the world, this doesn’t even seem important. There are also simple solutions. I wish there were simple solutions to the other problems in the world. I am forever hopeful.


Hello!

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

I remember the first few weeks of the outbreak, everyone felt so awkward. Familiar greetings like shaking hands and hugging were now questionable. We threw an uncomfortable air hug when seeing someone for the first time in a while. Followed by some embarrassed laughter hoping they didn’t consider it weird. We left people hanging when they extended a hand for a simple handshake. Thinking “You must be joking, I’m not touching you.”

Now it is universally understood that we keep our distance and have no physical contact. Everyone is anticipating that post-corona this lack of physical contact will become the new normal, and we will forever stop our intimate greetings.

I disagree. Most humans are programmed to hug and kiss. We feel better when we are physically intimate. So I believe we will continue distancing for only a few weeks, and then we will fall right back to the way we were pre-corona.

I have always said we are a nation of amnesiacs. We have a short-term memory when dealing with crises. Life will be bizarre for a while, but this will pass. We will forget all the crap we had to go through, forget how people suffered, forget the dead, and slip right back into the way we were. Huggers will be huggers, the touchy-feely will continue as before, and germaphobes will be ….. well….they probably will be more accepted.


Social un-distancing

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Is it really Day 51 of lockdown? Was there really a global pandemic? Just a few days ago, social distancing was the rule. You wore gloves, you maybe wore a mask, you washed your hands obsessively, you stayed away from other people. OK, you cheated by going to the grocery store a little more than necessary. But you did NOT gather in large groups, hug your besties, or do the mwah mwah as you greeted your friends.

Today, we are un-distancing at an alarming pace. Kisses and hugs are spreading as fast as the coronavirus did. At the beach, the crowded boardwalk is happy and full of life, with all the elderly, little kids, teenagers, and young adults going out to socialize. Clearly, our newfound freedom is something to celebrate, even though just a few days ago, we were crippled with fear of physical contact. Hello, neighbor, kiss, kiss; hello cousin, hug, hug.

What else will we forget? What will change? Here are some predictions for the long-ish term:

  1. Business and Work: More people will telecommute and start businesses. Location-independence and the digital nomad lifestyle will become the norm. At the same time, the number of those Chained to a Corporate Desk will dwindle.
  2. Travel: Back to the old normal after much dramatic fretting, lobbying, and feeble attempts to sanitize trains, planes, and buses. There will be half-hearted efforts to make travel affordable again. After price hikes and much wringing of hands, we’ll see special deals for romantic getaways and luxury business travel. Cruises will make a comeback.
  3. Bureaucracy and Paperwork: YAY! I predict that standard processes will be significantly streamlined as government and other institutions implement more sophisticated automated systems.
  4. Dining Out: Back to business as usual in a couple of months. It’s too difficult to eat in when the weather is glorious.
  5. Interpersonal Relationships: The business handshake might take a while to make a comeback, but physical greetings among friends and family are already back. We miss our people, and an elbow bump just doesn’t convey how much we love them.

These are a few notions based on what I’ve seen in the past two days. But here’s the thing: If we can’t maintain social distancing just a couple of days after total lockdown, where will we be in a week? A month??

Here’s a final prediction: if we’re not really, really careful, we’ll have a second wave that will propel us into another lockdown. I know our survival instincts make us rebound quickly from short-term adversity. But what I’m observing is long-term folly.

Please #StaySafe.


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Post 41: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on the first thing(s) we’ll do when it’s over.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 41. 


All you need is sleep

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Here we are, Day 41. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to understand reality, virtual or otherwise, and time is becoming much more fluid as the lockdown rules eat away at my psyche. The current (Spanish) government guidance is that children 14 years old and younger can play outside for 1 hour, starting April 26. [There is no way, right, that I can get away with saying I also need to play? And I need sunshine, and a walk along the beach?] But hopefully this is just the beginning of a slow and gradual easing of restrictions for the rest of us.

What will the words “lockdown over” mean for us? Will we quickly jump back into our BC patterns? What are the first things we’ll do AC? I don’t know if we can ever go back to our old reality, and I’m sure we will engage in what used to be “normal” social behavior (like hug loved ones, go out to dinner, hang out at the beach) with more gratitude, now that we know what it’s like to be deprived of our people, our habits, our “normal.”

I know the list of first things to do is a long one….so I will keep mine short:

Sleep.

Yes, sleep. You know how dogs sleep on their backs when they’re super comfortable? Belly exposed, not a care in the world, trusting that all is right in their universe. That’s how I’m going to sleep. When the pandemic has been declared over, I will finally sleep, deeply – the kind of sleep that isn’t elusive because of insomnia, or interrupted by anxiety. I’ll probably do that for a couple of days. And then…and then, I will head to the beach for a quick walk in the sea, under the sun, on my way to the airport.


First things first

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

I asked a few people around me about their ideas of what they will do when the lockdowns are lifted: “Go to the beach,” “Open my business,” “Travel on holiday,” “Go to a restaurant,” were a few of the answers I received.

…not go back to normal. That is my take on it right now. I am gearing up, for when the lockdowns ease, to change many things in my life.

First and foremost, hygiene. The diligence we have had to adhere to the past few months is going to be the way to go from here on out. However, I will use a lot more white vinegar to clean things than cleaning products. White vinegar comes in glass bottles, which are recyclable, as opposed to cleaning products, which are mainly in plastic containers.

Second, this lockdown taught me more of my priorities in my life going forward. Materialistic needs are gone forever. My needs are now to take care of my family, pets, garden, and self. I don’t need clothes, gadgets, and junk, things…I need to show care.

Family and friends. I will see my family and friends and cherish every moment with them. I miss being with them terribly, be it here in Beirut, or in Dubai, England, Spain, and the US.

Activism. I plan on being much more of an activist for many rights that a lot of us take for granted. The kafala system in Lebanon is one of them. Children trafficking. Recycling. Environment. I am going to have to find my niche and get going on it immediately.

Charity. I have always been charitable. But I am going to spend a lot more time doing more meaningful work that is direct and not through organizations. Boots on the ground.

And finally, give love. Remember, I am a bleeding heart and I want to be able to give love to every living being. I want to hug people and animals. I want to smile at every person I pass by on the street and say hello.

I also want to celebrate life and hope and gratitude.


What is the first thing you will do after lockdown?

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

Ahhhh!!! I dream about the end of this coronavirus a lot. But what is the first thing I will do? The list is long and includes the obvious like visiting family and friends, taking short trips, and vacationing around the world. However, before I can go back into “normal” life I need a personal reboot. I would love to go to back a place where I feel physically and mentally at peace. To a place surrounded by wonderful people and warm weather.

For the past three years, I have travelled with Studio Be retreats to Casa Om, a lovely boutique villa 2 minutes from the beach in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. We are there for one week of yoga, Pilates, meditation, food, sun, and camaraderie. For one week, I am surrounded by a group of mostly women who have travelled from around the nation to meet at Casa Om in Mexico. All with one intention: to give ourselves time for reflection and personal growth.

I am not an early riser, but when I’m at Casa Om I get up early. There is something rejuvenating about waking up before sunrise and walking to the beach for a sunrise meditation. The sand is still cool as you sink your toes in it. All you can hear are the rippling waves and chirping birds.

Every day there are a couple of yoga or pilates classes. The rest of the time you can sign up for massages, sound healing, participate in local adventure, or lay on the beach.

The first time I went there I was skeptical. I do not do yoga or meditate or eat vegan food. I did not let that get in the way and I participated in everything, even took part in a temazcal (a sweat lodge). By the end of the week my mind was calm, my body was relaxed, and I felt great.

The day after I arrived back in the USA I was in a restaurant picking up my food order, when the guy behind the counter said “you look so relaxed like you are glowing” …. I looked around to see if someone had set him up or if there was a hidden camera. Who says that stuff? Had he just come back from a retreat? I must have had an aura around me. I took it as a huge compliment and left smiling even bigger.

So my post-coronavirus dream is not only to physically go back to that place in Mexico, but to have everyone open their minds just enough to let in the spiritual peace that surrounds all of us, no matter where we are. I know traveling to a place like Casa Om is a luxury that is not available to most people, but it is the thought that we can all work on our inner peace right here at home that inspires me. This lockdown has brought so many virtual resources to our homes. We are learning new ways to do almost everything. Maybe we can learn new ways to invite self-awareness so we can accept others and situations that are out of our control.

However, one thing I have come to value as irreplaceable is human interaction. That will never be replaced by virtual reality.


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If you’d like to contribute a post, please get in touch! Send me an email, contact me on Twitter, or leave a comment here. 

Post 36: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on… anything, again.

Weekends are free-for-all for our little group. In case you’re new here, we’re sharing our uncensored experiences, thoughts, and opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 36. 


Living in a bucket of noise

Charlie, Washington, DC Metropolitan Area

My neighbors are oblivious to the fact they have neighbors who can hear every friggin’ stomp, jump, and bash they make. I am held captive in a bucket of noise. I learn too late that the condo I recently bought, where I was assured there was state-of-art soundproofing between floors, is just another contractor lie.

I’m learning many things in the Time of Corona. Like, I want to live someplace without neighbors above, below, or around me. I want trees to be my new best friends. Now, this is a major shift for me. Before ToC, I migrated to metropolises known for their hustle and bustle. Lots of elbowing down crowded sidewalks. Jostling in lines to go to the movies. Bruising battles for a taxi. (In the days before Lyft.) And retail therapy that can save you from rolling off your nut when the stress of whatever professional rodeo you’re competing in becomes too much.

No more. I want to form a life partnership with someone who wants to live in the woods, where walking in nature is our pastime. I figure this change of domicile heart is a tender mercy, because I suspect if it’s not #Covid-19 that puts us in quarantine, there will be another bug come along. One that sets every hair follicle on Dr. Anthony Fauci’s head on fire and has him yelling for me to hot-foot it to the nearest quarantine bunker immediately. I now accept that the only entertainment and human contact in heavily populated areas will be standing in line at Costco or Trader Joe’s, waiting to buy the few grocery items left available because our food supply chains have snapped.

Of course, there is a challenge in my day and night dream of spending my last days with a new-found love who also wants to escape to the woods. How am I going to meet someone in the ToC, because social distancing has put the kibosh on human intermingling? Of course, there’s always the Costco line. Bound to find a disgruntled geezer there who doesn’t want to spend life’s last days in a bucket of noise and social distancing.


Every cloud has a…

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Up and down, up and down, that’s how we roll. I know I’m not the only one on the CoronaDays rollercoaster, where we’re all doomsday and negativity one day, and trying to find that silver lining the next.

Today has been a silver lining day for me. Maybe it’s because yesterday I got a long look at the sea. The sea always lifts my spirits and reminds me that nothing is permanent.

Today, was super-productive. I spoke with friends I hadn’t been in touch with for awhile, got caught up on emails, and figured out a good work schedule for next week. I also scrolled through my social media feeds and saw a post that intrigued me.

The author asked members of an expat group if we would make the move to Spain all over again. Beyond the move, would we move to a city, sight unseen?

I thought about the question for a long time. To me, the question went far beyond the immediate “yes” or “no” answer. It wasn’t just about traveling or making a bold (or crazy) residential move. In my silver lining state, I interpreted the question to be more about our willingness to take giant leaps of faith now and then. About our ability to trust the universe. Faith that all would be right with the world, even if takes longer than we think is reasonable.

Finally, I answered: a resounding YES!

Yes, because despite all the uncertainty we’re experiencing, I can see a day After Corona when we create our new “normal.”

Yes, because my silver lining day tells me that we’ve been given time to reflect and renew. It’s up to us to use it.

Maybe it was the sea yesterday. Maybe I’m having a silver lining day because the sun was shining and I could hear birds chirping outside. Whatever the reason, I’m feeling positive. I’m thinking I will only live once, as far as I know, and I should live it to the fullest.

So! At least today, no moping. No irritation at being in lockdown (extended to May 9 in Spain). Today, I’m thinking ahead. Daydreaming about the people I’ll see and the places I’ll visit. The new business ventures I’ll launch. Today, I know that post-corona, anything is possible. Today is my silver lining day.


Coming to terms with my procrastination

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

My husband and I were planning to move out of our home this spring. But the #coronavirus has delayed everything. This was a blessing in disguise because I was happy to have more time to get my house organized and ready to sell.

I’m a bit of a procrastinator when it comes to doing things I don’t want to do. The current coronavirus “stay home” order has highlighted this slight flaw in my personality. It really doesn’t matter how much time I have; I will avoid doing certain things.

Organizing my personal items has never been my forte. I have a friend who thrives on organization and even started a business to help others like me get organized. It must be a personality trait that she was born with because she has tried to “help” me without much success.

Now I have been home for four weeks and I think I am still deliberately putting off clearing my clutter and packing. I know I am struggling with the same emotions and anxieties many of you are experiencing in the current state of affairs. I’ve heard from several friends that these uncertain times are rather overwhelming and at times crippling. Some experts equate the current Corona Blues to the feelings associated with grief.

After much analysis of my own, I have come to understand the reason for my current procrastination. Packing and moving means that I will be saying goodbye to the past 16 years of my life. 16 years of living in one place and raising my kids. This is the longest I have lived in the same house. I don’t think I’m mentally ready to make the move.

So is procrastination a crippling anxiety and a way of avoiding the truth? Is it the fear of the unknown? Or is it a hope that somehow it will take care of itself?

As Norma wrote in her blog on Saturday we will move forward after a life-changing event, but to do that, we must go through the present. This present is a double whammy for me. I feel the loss of my old life and the loss associated with an unknown future due to the Corona Blues. I need to get to the other side to be reassured that it will be OK.


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Post 33: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on…#Travel

We’re friends and family from around the world, sharing our experiences and thoughts during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 33. WE DON’T ALWAYS AGREE – nor do we have to! We post our opinions, and those of our guest bloggers, with no censorship.


Dreams. Senses.

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

I woke up to the smell of freshly brewed espresso, the sound of someone walking their dog, a delivery truck driving on cobblestone streets. I opened the curtains and went outside to the terrace and saw the sun rising over the hills of Tuscany and sat, basking in the sun.

Oh, Italia, how I miss you! Home to us, every summer. Today I woke up dreaming of our next excursion in Italy. I get this nagging feeling every spring. But then I really woke up. No vacation this summer in Italy. No vacation anywhere. I realized I was dreaming of the smells, the sounds, the tastes of being on holiday. 

What will the future be like for vacationers? We were planning a trip to the Far East, as well as one to South America, with our normal pit stop in Italy on both trips. Now that is all but not happening. 

I opened my digital photo albums and started reliving all the different places we have visited and sites we’ve seen…Kenyan safari, Tanzanian wildlife parks, Italian beaches, walking through the streets of Dublin, Edinburgh, Paris, Prague, Munich, Salzburg, Santorini…and started crying. I still have a lot to see. How will that happen now? 

But what I miss the most is being home with my family, girlfriends in Virginia, sipping Prosecco with Elderflower syrup by the pool. I can hear the sound of laughter and teasing as the younger generation splashes in the pool. The smell of the BBQ grill, the birds chirping, and the tree leaves hissing. I can feel the moment. Are all those good old days gone forever? 

I pray not. 


Where to next?

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

It feels like so long ago that travel was taken for granted. I’m sure soon we will return to our travels. We will go to the beach and sit at cafes. We will stroll along the Seine, walk along the Great Wall of China, and climb Mount Everest. Personally, I have dreamt of visiting New Zealand for many years and I look forward to doing that more than ever.

But how will this all take place? Since the onset of the #Coronavirus, we have spent so much time and effort living in fear of this virus. We arm ourselves with masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers before we go out in public. How will we transition to the way it was before?

Will it just start off as a Coronavirus survivors club? Assuming they are all now immune from reinfecting us and themselves, they can essentially return to their pre-corona “normal” life. They can hug and kiss each other. They can go to the beaches. Heck, they can even travel to other countries!

Will they be forming a #COVID-19 survivors club? Maybe they will have “survivors only” buses/planes to transport them to various destinations. I can see the government issuing a permit of “Freedom to Roam” that survivors must carry when out and about. It reminds me of the Dr. Seuss book about the star-bellied Sneeches as they gather on the beaches and don’t let the sneeches without stars take part in their festivities.

I know, I know! Whenever I try to think of life post-corona, my imagination always takes me to a weird hierarchical society. Probably because I fear the unknown or maybe because I have experienced it. But I will hold on to my dream of visiting New Zealand. I have fallen in love with pictures and I hope to physically go there very soon…. so long as they are accepting foreigners….


Have passport, will go home

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Milan. Paris. Maybe Prague. How about Amsterdam? I love to travel!

When I moved to Spain last year, I was excited at the thought of occasionally catching quick flights to other parts of Europe. The proximity to other places and the cheap airfare were great advantages of being in Malaga, and near an international airport. Sure enough, Adam and I were able to travel a bit in Spain; we also made it to #Rome just ahead of the #Coronavirus.

Since the outbreak, all our planned trips have all been canceled. The long weekend in Milan was the first to go. Then the trip to Paris got canceled. Then the the trip back to the States, when we were planning get-togethers with friends. Now our biggest travel adventure is going to the fresh market down the street.

We are eager to get back to exploring. There are so many places to discover! East, West, North, and South – I want to experience the world, especially now that I realize that our time on this planet is so fleeting.

So I start making a list of places to go. I want to go on an African safari, and I’ve been promising to take that drive across Morocco. I’m eager to sunbathe on new beaches and ready to taste different foods. I can’t wait to experience new cultures, learn a few words of another language, and make new friends. I can be packed and ready to go in 10 minutes!

And then it dawns on me: the reality that, as soon as it’s safe to do so, I will be on the first plane I can find to go to…not the Taj Mahal. Not Victoria Falls. Not the ancient city of Baku, but…McLean, Virginia.

Back to my family (side trip to Montreal) and friends. Because as much as I’d like to taste new foods and meet new people, everything about this lockdown is making me want to run back to what’s familiar. My need to hug Ramsey, my other son, the one who’s back in the US, is far greater than any desire to drive across the desert or ride an elephant. Maybe he’ll come with me on the next trip.


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