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

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. 

Thank you for reading our blog! We welcome all feedback.

We sometimes use photos and images we find on the Internet. No copyright infringement intended.

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 48: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on…

how we defuse #lockdown-inspired tensions

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 48. 

Stressful moment, or two, or three…

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

Stress. It can eat us up.

Tension. It can engulf us.

Humor. It can release the stress.

Music. It can diffuse the tension.

All good and nice, but under lockdowns, our stress and tension have increased exponentially and a small trigger can ignite a war. So how to manage?

I use humor and music. An old friend once told me, when I first moved to Beirut, to turn everything that annoys me into a humorous situation and laugh it off. I applied this for many years and still do during these difficult times.

Another friend once told me that when you are in a tense moment, imagine everyone in front of you nude. Automatically, a smile emerges, then a snicker, then you can manage better.

I still use that one as well!

And when all else fails, I find a corner, put on my headphones, and blast the music. Depending on the time of day and the stress, I go from classical music to wild dance music. Either way, I end up relaxing a bit and changing the mood.

Smile and dance…

Photo credit:

On my/his last nerve…

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Today I snapped. Oh wait, that happened yesterday, too. And the day before.

As we move toward Day 50 of lockdown, it’s inevitable that tensions arise every now and then (okay, a little bit every day). But social distancing, and the quarantine that goes with it, have a way of creating new co-dependencies. Let’s face it, Adam and I are each other’s only in-person company for the time being.

So when tensions flare up, one of us tries to make a joke. Sometimes the joke is actually funny and that takes care of that. Sometimes the joke is so incredibly stupid that we burst out laughing and the tension is gone. Sometimes, though, the joke is actually offensive and things can get more heated. At that point, a break is called for. It takes the form of music, a movie, a chat with friends…space. A little distance from one another.

One of the beautiful, positive things that has characterized my time with Adam in Spain is that nearly every night, we talk. We do that over dinner, or a game of cards, or ping-pong. We tell each other funny stories. Sometimes we debate, argue over, or discuss something – but we communicate. Slowly, we get to the point where we apologize to one another, sincerely, for whatever mean thing we said or inconsiderate thing we did. And then our good humor is restored for the rest of the evening.

After all, tomorrow is another day of lockdown, and we’ll still be each other’s only in-person company.

Attention to tensions

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

Simply put, the best and most effective way to defuse conflict is avoidance. Thank goodness we have enough rooms in our house for each person to have their own space. If the door is closed, do not enter. if the headphones are on, do not interrupt. If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything. These have become unwritten rules to maintain harmony in my household.

Some days that is wishful thinking. So I retreat to the only place I know I won’t be interrupted, the bathroom.

Well …..That’s the lighthearted version.

Personally, my tensions have varied in intensity, depending on the cause. I have been reassured by numerous articles validating these feelings as a normal response to a crisis. Examples of solutions offered are to breathe, meditate, go for a walk, get some sun on your face, and maintain a routine. All of which I implement in some form or another.

The most helpful aspect for me has been communicating with my friends. I have a tight group of female friends, with some of whom I share this blog, who have been pillars of support. We have been in touch daily via text, calls, or FaceTime.

In the past, because of our busy schedules and our physical distance, we did not communicate regularly and only saw each other every few months. Now we are in constant communication. We answer FaceTime calls even if we look like shit and offer support and encouragement.

The most important thing to remember is we are all feeling the repercussions of this #coronavirus crisis. Let’s cut each other some slack. Stop being so angry and disappointed in others and in ourselves.

Me and Lucy

Charlie, Metro #Washington, DC

I have a friendship that may end because of the coronavirus. We disagree mightily on the lockdown and generally how Americans are handling it. Doesn’t really matter whose position is what. What does matter is that my soon-to-be ex-friend so disapproves of my position that I’m forbidden to bring up the subject of the coronavirus. I’m beginning to wonder if the virus is going to separate us in more ways than social distancing did. In more ways than Trump vs Liberals have already separated us. Rather than coming together to fight the virus, I think we’re just to be fighting amongst ourselves about the virus like we do about politics.

In truth, I have no idea how to handle this. To shut up about something that is so much a part of our lives now, and likely for a very long time, means not talking about something that informs how we live our everyday lives. The friendship will likely now be about nothing more than talking about the weather.

I’m glad I adopted Lucy, my 15-year-old cat, a few months ago. She doesn’t give a flying fig about the lockdown. She had been living in a windowless bathroom for months after she was rescued from a home where they didn’t want her anymore. Now she’s living in high cotton. Her life couldn’t be sweeter. And every time I look at her, I realize how sweet my life is with her, lockdown be damned. She spends her days sleeping and relaxing and enjoying my company no matter what my opinion is about the lockdown.

This is Lucy

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We often use photos we find on the Internet. No copyright infringement intended.

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 45: #Coronavirus and a global perspective…our best and worst lockdown experiences.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 45. 

The positives of the #Coronavirus isolation

Norma B. Wallace, Bend, #Oregon

The Earth is feeling #love. Yes, streams are clearer, there is less smog, the coral in Hawaii is thriving. The sea turtles on beaches are thriving. The Earth is feeling loved. For years, the environmentalist have been trying to get us to take better care of the Earth. Yet we drove our cars and polluted the Earth, suffocating it. In just one month we see improvement – when the world opens up, let’s still take better care of the Earth.  

I see families out doing activities together, not just going from one scheduled lesson to another. Yes, homeschooling is tough. Yet I see more families being involved in the kids’ education. They also have a better appreciation of what teachers do every day.  Can we hold on to these good features when the country opens up? It really is more loving.

I see creative acts of kindness in our community. Calling the elderly to make sure they are okay. Listening to one another. Playing music, clapping to show your support, wearing a mask to protect others, food being donated, and for those who can, going outside. All ways of showing love that I would like to see continue.

I was trying to explain to children how one person could show their love and that it was contagious and would spread around the world. I took a glass of water and added one drop of blue food coloring. The whole glass of water turned blue.  

When the world opens up, I want to be a drop of Love that spreads around the world.  If more would join me, it would be a better place.  

Light at the end of the CoronaTunnel

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Today the staff at the Poke restaurant across the street put up bright lights on the outside – a sure sign that there’s light at the end of our CoronaTunnel. In Spain, we’ll be “permitted” to go for walks starting this weekend, and lockdown will most probably end the weekend after that. I am on the verge of doing cartwheels!

Some 45 days into it, I’m giving some thought to the best and worst moments I’ve experienced. I’ve had wild laughter during video chats (you know the kind, the laugh-till-you-cry moments) with my closest friends. I’ve also had many sleepless, anxiety-ridden nights. Despite the anxiety, I know I have much to be grateful for: we’ve stayed healthy, I’ve had work, and Adam has been able to zip through his online classes.

My best and worst days have been every day. I’ve chatted with family and friends; the daily rounds of FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, and WhatsApp chats have taught me who my real friends are. My best days are when I walk to the store via the beautiful sea – it is so calming, and the sound of the waves tells me the universe will be all right. My best days are when I say a heartfelt gracias to my heroes, the store clerks and the Amazon delivery guys. My best days are when I open the windows to let in the beautiful spring breeze, or when I turn to the sun, taking a moment to be mindful of the quiet beauty around me. My best days are when I see the plaza statues. In their stillness, they seem to stop time, and I take that suspended second or two to remember that good health and the bonds of family and friends are priceless. And fabulous weather is just that extra chocolate on the churros. My best days are when I walk along Malaga’s streets. They are resting now, and clean, thanks to the tireless efforts of those who disinfect them daily.

My worst days – well, they are when I inadvertently click somewhere I shouldn’t have. Suddenly I hear the voice of He Who Shall Not Be Named. My worst day is when I listen to him touting a weapon of mass destruction as a cure. Let me stop there and quickly get back to one of my best days.

As we head toward the new “normal,” I hope we remember to stay grateful for the simple things, the things that truly matter, the things we’ve learned are priceless. I hope you also manage to find your best days, every day.

Best and worst memories from a 50+ mom

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

I am certain that most people on Earth have experienced a shift in some aspect of their lives during this 2020 pandemic.

I am blessed because my husband is retired and my kids are in college, which meant that we did not telecommute nor did we home school. We have been reading, walking, and reflecting a lot. But the best thing to happen during this shutdown is our divorce from the consumerist society we had taken for granted. We buy groceries only when we need them. With retail closed, we avoid impulse buying. Online retail has a delivery backlog so we only order only essential items.

The worst memory is having to listen to the stupidest leader of the free world taking “charge” of his country. Spouting misinformation and behaving like a kid in a school yard. Responding to crisis by name-calling and vindictive actions.

Best and worst memories from an 18-year-old’s perspective…

He loved the time off because he needed a break from the daily pressures of culinary school. (Culinary school is very regimented. The hours are long and vacations are few).

He has been thrilled to cook and experiment at his own pace on a variety of international foods at home.

His worst memory is the lack of schedule and self-discipline. He was sinking into an abyss that took over his life.

Although he has found a happy medium of rigid schedule and downtime, he still fears going back to “normal” life.


RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

For 45 days, our lives have been turned upside down. We are dealing with stress and anxiety and new chores and washing hands and worrying about mundane things more than on any other “normal” day.

Let’s start with the bleak…the sad memories of the last 45 days: over 2 million people starving, nearly 25 million people will be unemployed worldwide, and almost 212,000 people died because our governments in the first world acted like they are from the fifth world.

During such turbulent times, though, you sometimes do or see something that is hysterically funny and because of the stress, you end up in giggles far more than it deserves. That’s part of stress relief.

One of those endless giggle memories in the past 45 days is when the Lebanese government, (bless them, ha) voted to legalize Cannabis for medical and industrial use. Really.

That, in and by itself is funny, but the funniest is a post I read online the next minute:

Nouh Zeaiter is a well-known “El Chapo” in the Bekaa (where weed is grown). And since, unemployment is high in Lebanon, the joke was that he is the only one hiring in the whole economically devastated country!!!

Thank you for reading our blog! We welcome all feedback.

We often use photos we find on the Internet. No copyright infringement intended.

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 29: #Coronavirus and a global perspective

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 29. Important Note: WE DON’T ALWAYS AGREE – nor do we have to! We post our opinions, and those of our guest bloggers, with no censorship. No copyright infringement intended WRT photos in this post.

Today we have free-for-all posts.
Tomorrow we will rise to the WRITER CHALLENGE
we got from a loyal reader.

Moving on

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

I keep imagining how we will all transition back to our “normal” lives. I don’t know if we will even want the same life we had pre-corona.

It may not even be in our control. Everything in this world progresses and changes. Nothing ever remains the same.

The weather can start off beautiful, warm, and sunny in the morning, then end up with a deluge of rain and hail. The four seasons maybe predictable but some plants don’t make it from one season to the next. At times, perfectly healthy plants are eaten up by other predatory insects or animals.

I bring this up because now more than ever we need to understand that life is such a gamble. One day you could be on vacation in the tropics, not knowing there will be an earthquake or tsunami around the corner. “What incredibly bad luck,” we all say. Other times you could be attending the most boring party and suddenly you discover the love of your life. “What a lovely coincidence,” we all say.

Your money is safely working for you in the stock market, only to crash in a matter of days. Then the schools that keep our children safe and educated suddenly close. “WTF?” we all say.

So why can’t we just be happy and appreciate what we have? Why can’t we be kind to each other and to our planet?

When the world hits that restart button will we all run back and do exactly what we used to do? Even though we know the unpredictability of the world still exists and can change in an instant?

Will the return to our old life be enough? Will rushing to purchase the venti latte on the way to the crowded metro in the hopes that we make it to work on time be rewarding? Will we just continue to tow the party lines regardless of their power hungry politics?

I’d like to see people demand more. More pay for the everyday workers who have become “essential employees.” More reform in healthcare so it can be affordable for all. More attention to and care for Mother Nature, and more tolerance of others who look and sound different. We all saw on the news around the world how this pandemic took its toll on everyone. Hopefully we will pay attention, because now we realize that it can happen to us.

Maybe Papa Bernie had a point after all…

Love is in the air

Y., Barcelona, Spain

When I first heard about the #Coronavirus and before it became COVID-19, for some reason the first thing that came to mind was John Paul Young’s song “Love is in the air.”  And I kept playing that song over and over on YouTube and in my head, imaging scenes of what’s going on. I even sent it to some friends on WhatsApp.

But these scenes, although they were filled with love, were completely different from “Google-image-search” type of love scenes. Instead of getting closer to those you love, suddenly you wanted to distance yourself from them. Instead of people out happily gathered celebrating a shared love, we saw people celebrate love by staying home. And suddenly the basics, the essentials, our love became clearer, as did its lack and absence.

I leave you with the lyrics of “Love is in the air.”  There’s never been a better time for this song, in my opinion. Love is in the air, and it’s all around us. We just have to see it without getting too close before they discover a cure or vaccine. Basically, we’re gonna feel like dicks in a condom for a while, believing that love is in the air. You can sing it in your head using JP Young’s voice or the huskier Tom Jones remake. 

Love is in the air, everywhere I look around
Love is in the air, every sight and every sound
And I don’t know if I’m being foolish
Don’t know if I’m being wise
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when I look in your eyes

Love is in the air, in the whisper of the tree
Love is in the air, in the thunder of the sea
And I don’t know if I’m just dreaming
Don’t know if I feel safe
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when you call out my name

Love is in the air
Love is in the air
Oh, oh, oh, oh

Love is in the air, in the rising of the sun
Love is in the air, when the day is nearly done
And I don’t know if you’re illusion
Don’t know if I see truth
But you’re something that I must believe in
And you’re there when I reach out for you

Love is in the air, everywhere I look around
Love is in the air, every sight and every sound
And I don’t know if I’m being foolish
Don’t know if I’m being wise
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when I look in your eyes

Love is in the air
Love is in the air
Oh, oh, oh, oh

John Paul Young


RJD, Beirut, Lebanon

Today, Easter, was the first really beautiful day in Beirut, weather wise. Off to gardening I went. We have a beautiful roof overlooking the Mediterranean Sea with a 360 degree openness.

I took out my gardening outfit (shorts and t-shirt) and went to the roof to plant.

During these Corona times, I will not have to bring down my summer clothes since we look like we will be stuck at home anyhow. I will just keep things ready as they are for next winter!

After a nice long shower, I got dressed in my going-out outfit and joined our Eritrean housekeeper for our usual Sunday Eritrean coffee ritual.

When done, I changed and got into my lounge wear and did some chores around the house. I am now in my PJs and ready for bed.

Oh I forgot, I carried my handbag when I went “out” for coffee!

Oh, these Corona times are driving all of us crazy. Happy Easter and blessed Sunday!


RafifJ, Malaga, Spain

Some days I just don’t know what to write, but I feel that putting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – is part of what keeps me going during these CoronaDays.

My routine has evolved from BC (before Corona): now Clapping Time and frequent video chats with family and friends are sacred, and I plan my day around them. My inventory of basic necessities is different, too – having an adequate supply of soap is more important to me than my BC habit of owning shoes of every conceivable color and style. Even the old salon luxuries seem pretentious and frivolous – I mean, who do I think I’m kidding with the hair color?

As we near the end of our CoronaPrison – because surely lockdown will come to an end soon??? – I wonder how soon I’ll revert to my old habits, if at all. I suppose we all need to prepare for the new “normal” as we adapt to whatever social, environmental, and cultural rules that will inevitably accompany our journey to After Corona (AC).

Whatever happens, I hope that AC, I will continue to observe Clapping Time, even if privately. I hope that AC, I’ll always honor the heroes – not just the medical professionals, but the grocers and the truckers – who really did serve on “the frontlines” in the fight against this nasty virus. I hope that AC, we will not abolish human contact as a survival mechanism, or find out that we’ve become hermits.

Thank you for reading our blog! We welcome all feedback.

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

Post 4: #Coronavirus and a Global Perspective

Tonight we feature Dublin, Ireland, and Falls Church, VA, USA, in addition to our “regular” Beirut, Lebanon and Malaga, Spain updates.

Aliens 2020

Received via WhatsApp. No idea who created this hilarious cartoon. 

 @RafifJ in Malaga, Spain

Day 4 of lockdown.

Spain’s death toll has almost reached the 500 mark and we have gone over 11,000 confirmed cases. You know that forced-calm, controlled-panic in people’s voices? It’s getting more pronounced as we continue to hear more bad news. As my friend Jean-Claude said, “We are the cast in a living horror movie.”

I have very little to report about Malaga today since I haven’t been out. But I’ve gotten some new work (!!!) and other highlights have been several online meetings and messaging with friends & colleagues.

Even as we learn to socially isolate, we are getting closer. We are texting, messaging, Skyping, and WhatsApping a lot more. In my view, that means connecting and writing, and learning who our real friends are. That means love

It’s comforting to me to think that, ultimately, we are all connected – whether it’s over social media or because of a common fear. Here in Malaga, we connect over our balconies and through our windows. During these scary – boring – difficult – unsure – confusing times, we are somehow laughing together.

I can’t wait for clapping time!


RJD in Beirut, Lebanon

To all my fellow freaked-out OCDs worried about #Corona, good day.

Today, I focused ALL my pent-up energies on building hygiene and sanitation in our building, and here is what I sent our neighbours (we are an 11-floor building):

Hope you are weathering the Corona epidemic safely wherever you are. We want to keep everyone safe and as such we have taken the following measures:

  1. I purchased an air cleaner that is in the lobby near the plant. The filter needs to be changed every 20 days. Unfortunately, each time we have an electrical cut, the cleaner disconnects, so if you find it switched off, please switch it on!
  2. I placed an alcohol hand sanitizer also in the lobby for those who wish to disinfect.
  3. In the elevator, I placed Lysol wipes and a trash bag. I will change the trash bag several times a day. The Lysol wipe is to clean the keypad, open the door and anything else you feel you need to use it for!
  4. Our concierge has been instructed to air out the small elevator every 2 hours and sanitize all door handles, keypads and the lobby, also every 2 hours.
  5. We will lock the generator parking door, as well as all other building doors, with keys. We will provide the concierge with a doorbell that anyone wishing to enter the building will use to ring. If you have deliveries, kindly go down and receive the delivery yourself. If you are receiving a worker/supplier at home (e.g.., water, gas), please ask them to use the large elevator and not the small one.
  6. The small elevator is to be used only by building residents and will be decontaminated several times a day.
  7. Our concierge has been instructed to not leave the building until March 29 and to ensure his family applies the same. He is also not to receive guests during this time.

I feel like I am running a police state, but safety first people!


Marese in Dublin, Ireland, on St. Patrick’s Day

In #Ireland schools and public buildings closed last Thursday. Kids are taken out to open spaces but not playing out. Playgrounds are closed.

Pubs closed last night- mostly because of the eejits who kept going to them. The St Patrick’s Day parades are all cancelled.

Some people are being thoughtless and not social distancing but most are responding in a great civic spirit of solidarity. Supermarkets are setting aside the first 2 hours of the day for older people.

A fund-raiser to feed frontline medical staff with a target of 250 Euros passed 50,000 a while ago.

The number of cases is still below 200 – but people in Northern Ireland, under UK guidelines, are far less restricted and putting us all at risk. So far the social distancing is slowing the spread – but the next week will really show if the strategy is working.


Roula in Falls Church, VA

Corona Confusion

After telling us on Thursday night that the schools will remain open, we woke up Friday to a different story. My 10-year-old son was to stay back. We were also told that on Monday (yesterday) we should go by the school and pick up assignments from teachers. Then we got another message from the school district telling us not to bother. A few schools have remained open, but only for breakfast and lunch distribution to students who need it. Kudos!

Yesterday, we had an appointment for my son’s US passport application, so we got out early to catch a yoga class. The young postman processing our documents asked me if I wanted to pay an extra fee for expedited service.  Seriously? Where the hell does he think we’re going in the next few weeks? “Nah, take your time…”

We finished that and went on our way. The traffic was uncharacteristically light, but there was still a good buzz. At the yoga studio, the two of us were the only ones attending the class! That was fun, albeit in a weird way. My son practiced in the back of the studio, and I in the front. The room, emptied of all blocks, blankets, straps, towels, and people, echoed so badly I could hardly hear the instructor. As we were leaving, I got a text message that the yoga studio will close indefinitely as of tomorrow. Things are getting more serious.

On we went to Shirlington Village for our last hurrah before the restaurants shut down. We easily found a place to park in the usually impossibly jammed parking lot. We strolled through the very quiet streets and made our way to Busboys and Poets. There were perhaps 6 patrons, including us, in that normally packed place. My son was actually able to play with his ball inside the restaurant as we had the whole back lounge to ourselves. After a good meal and in the spirit of the postman, I asked the waitress to bring me the check “when she wasn’t too busy.” She said that was the funniest thing she heard all day. I left her a big tip, wondering if she will have a job tomorrow.

Next stop, Wholefoods Market for a couple of roasted chickens. Again, I easily found parking in an otherwise insanely packed parking lot that usually has at least two attendants directing traffic. But once we got inside, everything seemed normal. I guess people are done hoarding because the store seemed pretty well stocked. I didn’t stock up on too much last week because my aunt in Italy assured me that “lockdown” will still allow essential trips for food, medicine, etc. She also said that the supplies should be plenty, although people might have to wait outside while a limited 10 shoppers at a time are allowed inside.

I have a pretty good idea of what lies ahead because of my good friends and relatives in Italy, France, Spain, and Lebanon, who are going through it now.

Lockdown will be frustrating, but I know that good will come out of it. At the very least, it will unlock creativity, compassion, and hopefully, better us as a human race.

I also hope that lockdown will expose and put on notice everything and everyone that is wrong with our country. This just might be our blessing in disguise. The shit was very close to the fan before all this happened, no? Inward and onward…


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