Post 67: #Coronavirus and a global perspective…

…on staying indoors during warmer weather.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 67.

Summer time

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

Now that summer is around the corner, I am looking forward to a change. I have this fluttery feeling in my stomach remembering what the word “summer” means to me:

  • Summer means walking barefoot all day
  • Summer means visits to the beach and eating ice cream on the boardwalk
  • Summer means spending the day by the pool with a cocktail or two
  • Summer means longer days and BBQs with large gatherings

May 25th is Memorial Day and the official start of summer in the US. So how does this all play out during coronavirus 2020 ? Will summer will be cancelled?

I doubt it will be cancelled, because many states in the US have already opened their beaches, allowing groups of people to gather in one place. For those who decide to go, life will seem normal. As though we never had a pandemic. At least not until the numbers of fatalities from the coronavirus rise again.

So the question, “Does the warmer weather make it difficult to be indoors?” is a no brainer. Of course it does.

But if our brains weren’t so programmed on how summer is supposed to be enjoyed, we would not feel a loss if it does not live up to our expectations. We only have to change a few things and we could enjoy summer tremendously.

We in America have not been asked to lock down with curfews like most other countries. We have been asked to stay home. The outdoors is open. But there is no retail or entertainment or restaurant dining, but those are opening back soon.

As for me, I am not ready to go back to the normal hustle and bustle. So I will spend as much time as I can outside, barefoot, drinking cocktails, soaking in the sun, admiring the flowers. Eventually the temperatures will soar and I will retreat back indoors to my air-conditioned home.

The chair on the left has my name on it…let’s hope I can go there soon! – Tina

Ughhhh summer is here…

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

The temperature in Beirut has been at 90 degrees Fahrenheit since last week and it has been so unbearably uncomfortable.

I am a hot-blooded individual. The heat has never been my friend and I hate humidity and stickiness. In the summer, I take 3 showers a day!

I also have an aversion to eating outdoors when it is this hot. I can do so if I am in a bathing suit, sitting in the shade. But to me, summer outdoor events, from lunches to weddings, are a nightmare. I avoid them vehemently.

It is beyond my comprehension why anyone would spend hours at the hairdresser and wear evening formal clothes (at a high price I might add), to eat and dance in this kind of weather. And only to see mascara running and sweat marks on their lavish clothes. What a waste of time and money…I know many would disagree with me, but hey!

So, in these lockdowns, I am – luckily – just as happy as can be sitting in an air-conditioned room pretending it is winter. I dream and long to walk the rainy and cold streets of London like a happy duck. Soon…I hope…

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Venturing out and #planting

Norma B. Wallace, Bend, #Oregon

I am going out today!!! Yes, it is more difficult to stay in when it is sunny and bright out. I am actually going to a store!!! I have had friends go to the store for me since the lockdown.  I am going to venture out with masks and gloves, of course.

I was perfectly happy staying in by my fireplace this past week while it rained. I have gone out for walks, where I was hoping to go between showers. Unfortunately my timing wasn’t right, I got drenched. That made my fireplace even more inviting.

After reading RJD’s perspective in Blogpost #64, I got out my planters and decided I would make a little herb garden in them. 

You see how far I have gotten during this week during the rain. The planters have been in my garage for two years and were actually just containers for other things. It’s good to think of them being repurposed and used as planters. No, I am not going to save money. I don’t know what the cost will be, but I need to buy potting soil and plants. I also will have to bring the planters in at night because it still gets below freezing. It will be worth it. I am getting out of the house with a purpose—will get some exercise and eventually add some fresh herbs to my food. 

It feels great to go to the store. Will post another time with the end product. 

Warm weather, good

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

I thought I’d start with a photo of beautiful Malaga. It is virtually impossible to stay indoors when the sky and the sea are this blue. These are just some of the colors that delight our eyes.

I took this photo the first day we were permitted to go outdoors for walks. Other than my elation at being “allowed” outside, what struck me was that the weather had turned warm, overnight. One day we could only go out for groceries or medical needs, and it was cold. The next day, we could walk around during specific times, and the weather was just fabulous.

Actually, for most of our lockdown, the weather had been unseasonably cold and wet. It was as though Nature understood that we were miserable indoors, and chose to make any outdoor trips unpleasant. I remember occasions when I was feeling claustrophobic and invented reasons to go shopping – I need parsley – we’re out of pencils – we might run out of dental floss next week – I would walk furtively to the store, only to get rained on. I’d return home quickly, cold and shivering.

But now it’s a completely different story. Looking at the happy, happy people filling the cafes, and the groups strolling along the shopping avenues in this beautiful city, it’s almost like we never had a coronavirus issue. Other than the masks nearly everywhere (and as of midnight they are required), you wouldn’t know that two weeks ago people were afraid to greet one another, let alone hug and kiss as they do now.

Spring marks new beginnings and new life. Hopefully in May of 2020 and beyond, the spring and summer will not mark a new life for the virus.

#StaySafe #WashYourDamnHands #WearAMask

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Post 50: #Coronavirus and a global perspective.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 50. 

Today is free-form writing.

Special needs and #Coronavirus

Myriam Ramadan, #Beirut

For me, the one person who helped me deal positively with this pandemic is my son, who has special needs. My eldest at 21, Karim was born with Cerebral Palsy. Since I am divorced, Karim and his brother Nadim get to visit me a few days a month. They are far from me, but since I am the type to look at the cup as half full, I came to realize that the boys’ visits make my confinement a little sunnier, happier, and brighter. As everyone probably knows, Lebanon is going through not one, but two crucial issues that are threatening its future: #Covid-19, in addition to a severe economic crisis.

Being confined, alone, without the constant presence of my boys, has been tough. So it is only natural that when they come to visit, spending time with them makes this “Stay at home” lockdown that much softer.

As a mom, caring for Karim is a whole different dimension. Aside from the strenuous physical needs, such as carrying and transferring Karim – mostly done by his male helper – I give him his meals and get to spend quality time with him. He loves good food and classical music. The tool that has benefitted me most in helping Karim and myself to accept his disability is humor. By no means does this imply that I am a clown on wheels (I wish I was)!

Back to confinement, having Karim restrained at home is no easy thing, as his level of frustration from being unable to go out is quite high, since outings are essential for him. The good part is that being confined together for a few days has allowed us to enjoy one another.  

Now that all outside activities have been eliminated, I pick Karim’s brain about music, explaining to him about the pandemic, all the while using humor. So, whenever an advert about “staying home” comes up, we look at each other and we say laughingly, “We got it. What else is new?”

Karim, you are my sunshine.

My daughter on the front lines

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

Medical personnel are getting such praise for their heroic work during the #coronavirus crisis. My 21-year-old daughter is a clinical technician at Fairfax Hospital. She is anticipating finishing nursing school to receive her RN (registered nurse) position. However, she is not immune to the hardships and sacrifices all healthcare professionals are experiencing during the coronavirus.

Her shift begins at 7 pm and ends at 7 am. By the time she gets home, I am awake and I hear her come through the laundry room. She places placing her scrubs and hospital items in the washer on a sanitize cycle. We don’t exchange much conversation as she heads down to the basement, where she is living. She takes a very long shower, unwinds, and goes to bed for several hours.

She does not feel like a hero. She is only doing her job.

My daughter was scared at the beginning, not knowing what to expect. She was asking me if she should quit.

“OMG!” I said “You are so lucky to have a job! You cannot bail out because you are afraid. This is a test and you are to answer the call.”

That was the last time I heard anything from her. She does what she is asked at the hospital. She goes into COVID-19 patients’ rooms when she is needed. She trusts hospital protocols and her PPE to keep her safe.

She has kept her stamina and continued to do what is asked of her without complaining. One thing that resonates so much with me is when she described how much some of these COVID-19 patients suffer. This is different than anything she’s ever seen. She explains how unpredictable it is from day to day. This virus is debilitating.

At the moment, they are extremely busy at the hospital, and the staff does not have time to rest. She told me the other day, ”Everyone should be very diligent. This is very serious.”

I am so proud of her! I pray that she stays safe.

What virus?

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Forget social distancing; forget quarantine! Today we’re enjoying Day 2 of relative freedom: we are allowed to go for walks. Our walks may be for 1 hour. If we’re older than 14, we may walk between 7 am and 11 am, and between 8 pm and 11 pm.

This may possibly be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Who is going to observe this? Not the people I saw yesterday. Who will enforce these rules? The officers on patrol seem to be just as relieved about this wind-down as the civilians.

I went for a morning walk at 7:30. I figured few people would up and moving about that early in laid-back Malaga. I was so wrong! There were a gazillion people out – some walking, some biking, but most pretending to jog. The higher up the mountain – the more challenging the climb – the fewer the new athletes. I am not implying by ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION that I am an athlete, but reaching the point I did was quite an achievement after 50 days of lockdown.

Heading back down, past the port, to the beach, and then back through town, I saw new “joggers” in really colorful and matching activewear. Some were fully made up, hair carefully done. In the athletics-versus-fashion challenge, there emerged a clear victor.

During my evening walk along the beach, I noticed families going for a leisurely outing. Couples were holding hands and strolling along the boardwalk. Groups of people were hanging out on the beach. I was almost expecting street performers to show up on the main avenue.

Virus? What virus? The lockdown mentality in Malaga seems to have disappeared overnight. Spring is crossing into summer here, and the we’ve been locked up for too long.

But…If we’re not careful, we’ll have to reset the clock…we’ll have to start at Day 1 again…there will be a second wave…and this blog will never end…

I think I’ll stick to 7:30 am at the top of the mountain.

Women and perspectives

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it. – Arundhati Roy

There is nothing fair or healthy about patriarchal norms and the expectations they generate, so why perpetuate them in our families? This is a stressful time for absolutely everyone and there is little that we can control about the circumstances that we are now living in. – Soraya Chemali on Think.

If I had one message for all children in the world, it would be this – be bold, dream big and most importantly, be the change you imagine for yourself! – Hartini Zainudin

We live in an interconnected world, in an interconnected time, and we need holistic solutions. – Naomi Klein

While we all go through this we will also hear of so many acts of kindness and caring, because Good has always had that extraordinary will to outdo Evil. – Hala Deeb Jabbour on My SeventyYear Old Eyes.

Humans are very adaptable: we can still fix this. But the opportunity to do so will not last for long. We must start today. We have no more excuses. – Greta Thunberg

We find that marginalized girls are more at risk than boys of dropping out of school altogether following school closures and that women and girls are more vulnerable to the worst effects of the current pandemic. – Malala Yousafzai

I’ve got some bad news and I’ve got some good news. Nothing lasts forever. – Kate McGahan

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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.

Pure Love

Yesterday I was feeling really down: depressed, anxious about work, questioning the future, not sure of anything, not trusting myself to make decisions. I managed to pull myself together enough to go for a walk on the beach. After all, I moved to Malaga to be by the beach!

The 15-minute walk did me a world of good. I was feeling much better when I found a little grassy hilltop where I could sit and watch the brave swimmers and sunbathers (it’s warm, but not THAT warm!). In front of me was an adorable family, what looked like two sisters and their babies. The mothers were chatting and the little ones were playing. The youngest was particularly cute. He was staggering around in that I-just-started-walking way as he played with the other kids.

Suddenly, he started to whine, then cry. His mother tried to distract him with toys and a song, but the cries were getting more insistent. I recognized the sound – “I’m tired and hungry so will you please just whip out that boob!” The mother recognized it too, and within a few seconds feeding her baby.

Once the baby’s hunger subsided, he relaxed. He stretched an arm, extending it towards his mother’s neck. His fist started to unclench. The waves provided the perfect background noise. The baby opened his hand completely, laying it gently against his mother’s neck. She was looking down at him, completely mesmerized.

I was mesmerized too. I finally forced myself to look away. It probably looked creepy, me staring at a stranger breastfeeding her child. If the mother had asked, I would have told her that just seeing the two of them had removed my dark mood. That the beautiful transformation from cranky to at-peace baby had soothed my nerves.

The walk and the sun had soothed me. The waves had made me relax. But witnessing the purest love of all – well, that lifted me. Thank you, mama.