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


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 38: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on the role(s) of #women

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 38. 


If it’s a war, then I am a soldier

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Lots of heads of state are calling the fight against the #Coronavirus a war, a silent enemy that must be defeated. While I agree that the deadly virus must be defeated, I do think there’s another enemy out there that continues to attack our societies: sexism.

This enemy has been with us for millennia. It’s one that knows no racial or ethnic boundaries. Striking rich and poor alike, this enemy does not really discriminate based on culture or religion; it’s everywhere. Sometimes sexism is discreet, almost hidden, rearing its ugly head only every so often – for example when one is threatened by a strong woman. If you’ve ever been in the presence of this enemy, you’ll remember that you knew it, instinctively. Over the years you’ve learned to recognize and heed the twinge-y, sinking feeling in your gut when you encounter it, no matter how stealthily it is hiding. You just know.

Today’s war on the #coronavirus is also a war on our current social contract. The world is reeling from massive changes: democracies in decline, collapsing social structures, and free-falling economies. Human desperation is everywhere, even as the Earth heals, quietly and patiently, after so many years of abuse.

As we redefine our values and our essentials, perhaps we’re ready for a new paradigm, one that adopts equality as a human right rather than simply paying lip service to a concept. Let’s do that in the new Normal.

In fact, as part of our Corona-inspired angst and the redefinition process, people are making all kinds of pledges: we’ll do more of this, less of that once we’re out of this war. If we agree that social norms will surely change, let’s go a step further. Let’s pledge to end discrimination against women. For real this time; I for one am tired of seeing well-meaning but ineffectual numbers and letters, like menu items – “I’ll have a 1325 with a side of SDG to go, please.” We are redefining our -isms – nationalism, patriotism, sexism, chauvinism, and yes, feminism – and the new definitions will surely struggle to fit in our new Normal.

So as part of the pledge, can we agree to this: an equal workplace. I mean, location-independence has become a reality, and today’s “digital nomad” is more than just a cool title. Can we pledge to hold workplace leaders accountable – can they judge us by the quality of our work product rather than the size of our breasts? Will they value our achievements, decisiveness, and leadership…instead of wanting us to shake our ass “just for a minute.” Let’s stop sexism and misogyny in their tracks.

Can we do this? I’ll borrow from a great leader and say, “Yes, we can!”

Like most pandemics, the CoronaCrisis is temporary. But if we’re going to war on sexism, let’s be in it for the long haul.


I am woman, hear me roar!

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

Today I am probably not writing anything new. Most of you already know about the role of women in society. However, I think it is important to keep discussions about women’s roles active to make an impact and a change. The title of my post are lyrics from a song by Helen Reddy from 1971. So this topic is not new and has been sung about, discussed in full-length features, and written about in books. I am going to keep my thoughts and frustrations short.

The role of women in the USA has been changing slowly. More women are taking on high-ranking jobs in corporations than ever before. However, despite the increase of women in the workforce and the great strides women have attained in the past decade, they still lag behind men. They fall short in numbers and salaries when it comes to positions of power, in both corporate and political offices. In addition, most women are still expected to fulfill their domestic duties on their own time.

On the other side of the spectrum, many women have jobs that make the world go round – some of which do not pay for overtime, time off, or sick leave. Yet during the Coronavirus crisis, women are expected to step up and report to work, both physically or remotely. While at home, the role of most women continues to be that of wife, mother, cook, nanny, cleaner, driver, etc., placing so much more stress on them.

What happens when both partners are working from home? Are the domestic duties being shared? Perhaps many households have some sort of shared responsibility, but I can guarantee that in most homes this is still the woman’s burden.

Is it the fact that women can bear children and discuss emotions that make them weak in a “man’s” world? Or is it the preconceived notion of their physical weakness that holds them back? I know of women, pre-corona, who were afraid of exposing their pregnancy to their bosses. Or afraid that if they showed any emotion they would be overlooked for the next promotion. Yes! This is 2020!

This is the perfect time to rise up and make noise. The whole world is experiencing the same dilemma. This is the time for women to show strength and demand change.

At the moment, in the USA the committees and task forces making decisions are male-dominated and do not make decisions from a woman’s perspective. I would like to see a shift in the respect for women in power, an equality for women in the workforce and a protection for women who still experience domestic violence. We should expect equality in the division of labor in the home and demand more assistance designated to single working mothers.

It’s really not too much to ask, but it is important to take every opportunity to make a positive change.


Revolution Mama

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

So when it comes to the role of women, I am a staunch supporter of all women; those on the frontlines, those on the assembly lines, those who are mothers, and those who are just housewives. Not just today; that has been one of my life’s missions.

I have total respect for the women who are carrying more weight on their shoulders today than they ever did. But, once upon a time, not centuries ago, women also were the backbone of society. During the First World War and the Spanish Flu, when women were still the underdog in many societies and yet had to cope with a pandemic without the resources we have today.

For one thing, there was no media like there is today. Each woman had to fend for herself and her family. More than 500 million people died (that’s one third of the world population at the time).

And the superwomen were the ones holding the world together. In Rebecca Onion’s 2019 article, she writes: “While male doctors flailed, women took charge of the day-to-day care for flu sufferers. Perhaps this is another reason why the flu epidemic faded in memory: It was the women who did most of the work, and that work was dangerous drudgery.”

During the Second World War, some of those same women were working in factories making B2 bombers and were still taking care of their families while the men were sent off to fight meaningless wars. They also didn’t have the resources that we have today, but they survived and their families are today’s grandmothers and grandfathers.

Which brings me to today’s Lebanese women.

You are upholding the lockdowns and multi-tasking, between working at home, supporting needy families, managing your long list of daily chores – from children’s online classes to finding the right groceries at the right prices, and taking care of and worrying about parents, and dealing with 24/7 temperaments. Just like women all over the world.

But you are also the mother of our revolution, with more responsibility today than ever. We have a revolution that we need to nourish with our hands and minds.

Will we go back to having coffees and forget the needy families that will still need our help? Will we go back to the gym and forget that we have to build bridges with other women two streets over and close the gap between us? Will we no longer head to the Ring because there are too many people not wearing masks and gloves?

I count on us, DC and AC, to continue our march forward and not to stop until we build a better place for our children to live in.

One day, when we are grandparents, we will tell the story of the October 17 Revolution, which was followed by the 2020 #corona pandemic, to our grandchildren. We will smile with pride. I know we will, because we have already achieved a lot.


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

We use photos from Internet searches. 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 37: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on… the meaning of “essential”

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 37. 


Essentially, we need to build a nation

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

Oh, how I would love to tell you that my post-corona essentials will be what they used to be 2 years ago! But for the last 2 years, Lebanon has been an economic ticking time bomb that blew up on October 17. This was followed by government resignations, Eurobonds defaults, rampant corruption unveiled, and billions in looted public funds extracted out of the country to Switzerland and Luxembourg and other tax havens. 

Comes Christmas and the time for giving. The Lebanese were already 40% poorer due to the devaluation of the exchange rate and an unreal inflation of prices. Santa didn’t stop by!

Now comes #Covid-19. More than 800 restaurants closed down permanently. Day laborers couldn’t find work – the minimum wage was $20 a day, if they were lucky, but with devaluation that became utter pennies. Businesses reduced salaries by 50% or shuttered. The snowball rolled down the hill awfully fast. 

So what is essential to most Lebanese today, putting aside the 1% of course?

  1. Food: more than 50% of Lebanese are now below the poverty line due to unemployment and inflation. If it wasn’t for some amazing NGOs and charities distributing boxes of staples to poor families, and the Lebanese army (under the new government) is doing the same, these families would not be able to purchase bread to eat with their tea – a meal in many poor households.
  2. Electricity and water: Almost everyone in Lebanon has to pay 2 electricity bills (regular bill and generator subscription – this is due to the daily blackouts we have had since 2006). We also have to pay for municipality water, water purchases when the municipality fails to provide water, as well as drinking water.
  3. Internet and cellular services: One of the highest bills in the world, the Lebanese have been lucky that the cellular companies that have been robbing us for so long provided free Internet during the lockdown. What happens post-Corona? Will we ever get decent coverage or high-speed Internet?
  4. Healthcare: If you work a full-time job, you have social security that covers some healthcare services. If you own a business (most Lebanese are entrepreneurs), you can’t apply for social security. Then you have to pay for insurance coverage. Or not.
  5. Retirement pension: Again, if you work in the public sector or are employed, you are entitled to “end of service” pension. If you don’t, no official IRA or 401K plan exist, so either your children provide for you, or you keep on working because no one will look after you. Or you starve and become homeless.

The essentials and priorities in Lebanon, with the advent Covid-19, coupled with economic distress, have become eating, having a roof, staying healthy, and staying employed. Staying alive.

For the 1%, I am sure it is the ability to export more of their funds abroad. 

For me, “essential” is not owning a business or starting one; it is not going to the gym, hairdresser, or spa, and not buying more things we don’t need and not spending frivolously because we can. What is essential to me is to help build a nation that I and more than 4 million other citizens can survive in with dignity. I, as a Lebanese citizen, am a red line.


You are essential!

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

Here we are one month or so into our “lockdown” in the USA. All businesses are still closed except for those deemed as essential . Did you know that the homeland security has issued a 10-page list of essential businesses? It might have been easier to just list those that should remain closed like educational establishments, retail, entertainment, and sports. All others, just figure it out and make it work.

Obviously, we need the first responders, healthcare workers, police, and army. We need gas so we can fill our cars to go to the bank to access to our money. From there we take a trip to the store and buy our essentials like food, diapers, booze, and cigarettes.

We go about our everyday life without a thought to the process. We take for granted that we get what we need and our lives just run smoothly. Now we are told that if we stay home and only go out to the grocery store this will all work out.

But how does it work? What about all those behind the scenes? Does anyone really think of them?

Let’s take a simple bag of rice. What does it take for that to reach our shelves at the grocery store? We can start with the farmers in California or Asia who grow and water the rice plants. The rice is harvested and dried. It is then threshed, dried again, and milled. All these processes are completed by hand or machine, but mostly by minimum-wage employees.

The rice is then loaded in burlap sacks and placed on trucks. Drivers will transport it to a packaging plant, which will package this rice in plastic bags made and printed at another facility. The rice is then boxed in cardboard boxes that are also made at another facility. These boxes are then re-loaded and taken by different drivers to the distribution centers and put on trucks, ships, trains, or planes to be transported around the world. When they finally arrive at your local store, the boxes are inventoried, unpacked, and placed neatly on the shelves by the grocery store employees. Finally we walk in the store grab the rice, pay, and leave!

So where do we draw the line on essential? As far as I’m concerned, all workers are all essential. Some jobs may seem menial, but in a chain they are extremely necessary.

I hope that after this pandemic we can appreciate those people behind the scenes, those who are under-appreciated and underpaid.


Is recreation essential?

Norma B. Wallace, #Bend, #Oregon

What are essential needs? That’s really obvious because they are food, clothing, and shelter. Once those are satisfied – what is essential? I think all of us who are in this Coronavirus Lockdown are grateful for the absolute essentials. To provide these essentials are the farmer, the transportation industry, the roads so construction, the delivery, the grocers, and clerks.  The list goes on and on. For every essential need, there are hundreds of people providing. Perhaps one good thing that has come from the lockdown is the appreciation for all the people we depend on to provide the essentials. 

After the essentials are met, the next question is, what is important? For me, that is an easy question. Family and friends. Yet, as much as we love them, can we be with them 24 /7? We need to work to have the resources to pay for the essentials. Working 24/7 isn’t enough either. That brings us to recreation and what that is for you. Yes, it is regional, and individual. One definition is refreshment of strength and spirits after work. Another definition is to simply re-create or some form of renewal. So yes, I believe recreation is essential. I love the four seasons and I choose and love the activities in each season. The picture is from one of my snowshoe hikes just a few miles from my house. Each season has special activities for me, and I love them all. Yet, it is not the activity or what I was doing that I treasure. It is whom I was with and how we felt. 

So I have to ask myself the question, what is essential, what is a real need?   I think the real need is love, caring for each other, and having hope. So once again, my last thought is that of hope. I hope each of us will come out of this crises with hope for the future, and love and caring for one another. 


Let there be Internet

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Gone is the conventional wisdom that “essential personnel” are limited to those in the armed forces or first responders. BC (Before Corona), bullets and tanks could save us, or so we were told. Back then, I’m pretty sure most people didn’t give a second thought to the grocery store clerk or the street cleaner. We know better now.

In with Covid-19, out with the old definitions as we slowly resign ourselves to our new “normal.” The definition of war is changing, since electronic warfare is cooler, and anyway, tanks and guns can’t neutralize the virus. Our modern-day heroes don’t only wear fatigues or capes; they also don their butchers’ aprons, medical scrubs, and firefighters’ turnout pants and jackets. Our wars are localized, and the truck drivers and bakers are just some of the folks we never thought to thank before who are keeping the supply chain moving so the rest of us can social-distance and quarantine in relative comfort.

While we’re redefining “essential,” let’s look at the habits we’ve kept up DC (during Coronavirus). What is an essential element in our day-to-day existence under lockdown? Of course there’s Maslow’s Hierarchy, but a modern pandemic in a modern existence requires more levels of essentials than just the bottom layers of the pyramid.

What about connectivity? Today more than ever, an Internet connection is essential (and should be a human right) if we want to communicate with, um, basically anyone. How else do we commiserate, cry, worry, or share with people who are not in our immediate household? The Internet now where we go to work AND play. Take away my Internet and, yes, you’ll have a revolution on your hands.

Speaking of revolution, I know we like to criticize billionaires and giant corporations. They’re too rich, we claim, and should do more to give back. I have been among those critics. I’ve called for the wealthy to give back more than they already have.

But let’s face it. You’re not reading this post, reading your newsfeed, listening to a podcast, or binge-watching a show because of providence or goodwill. Your online access and social media were not heaven-sent. You can thank, among others, a Gates, a Jobs, and a Zuckerberg. And if you need to do some shopping, Bezos and his team are right there for you. Shouldn’t these people and their teams get some hero credit?

The lockdown has given me a new perspective on who my heroes are and who they aren’t. And why they are and aren’t. My essentials have changed. Have yours?


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

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 34: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on…keeping busy during lockdown

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 34. WE DON’T ALWAYS AGREE – nor do we have to! We post our opinions, and those of our guest bloggers, with no censorship.


All the time in the world

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

Although the days merge into one another and the hours seem to slip by with not much being accomplished, I actually have a few daily rituals to help me pass the time.

I try to get out of bed around 7 am and go downstairs to enjoy the peace and quiet since my family tends to sleep in. I love making my tea and catching up with my dearest friends and family across the world who have been up for several hours.

The one thing that I have found so rewarding, and which has brought me solace, is the daily writing of this blog. I never had the discipline to write a blog on a regular basis before, but for some unknown reason, I have found an outlet in these short daily writings.

It’s after that that my day becomes a little fuzzy. If you are a regular reader, you know I like to joke and present a crazy impression of the current situation. I am the “funny one” amongst my friends (a role designated by me). However, I do not feel fun or funny some days; other days, I feel as though there were a lump in my chest that wants to explode. Many times, I sit immobilized, unable to do anything.

It was when I sat down to really think about how I pass the time for this post that I realized how lucky I am to have all so many options.

These are some of the things I do after my I write my blog:

  • I read a book.
  • I scan the Internet for interesting stories and to see what’s new with the Coronavirus.
  • I go for walks with my husband and my dog.
  • I watch British period dramas online.
  • I FaceTime my parents and my friends.
  • I Zoom my Pilates class.
  • I team up with my son and play the interchangeable role of chef/sous chef as we create our elaborate dinners.
  • I team up with my husband as bartenders and come up with fancy cocktails.
  • I look through my old photos and family trips.

Wow! After looking over my list, I feel as though I am on an awesome vacation and I feel better.


Locked up in the car

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

I hate driving, in normal times, in Beirut. The traffic, the aggressiveness, the waste of time, the lack of parking spots, and the double parking in narrow streets are just a few of my personal grievances.  

I also hate the fact that people have no respect for personal space, even for a car. Bumper to bumper, anywhere a toothpick can fit, one should occupy that space. I often wonder, “You moron, is it going to get you there any faster?” 

Avoiding hitting another car is like trying to drive a bumper car, in an amusement park, sans amusement!

The lockdown law is so that certain days are for odd-numbered license plate cars to drive (run “absolutely necessary” errands, as the policeman told me today at a checkpoint) and even-numbered cars on the other days, with a total curfew on Sundays. Like yeah, right. 

So being Lebanese, I take that opportunity to drive the more or less empty streets, blare the speakers, and listen to my favorite playlist. It has become my reprieve from staying at home. I drive along the Beirut Corniche, look at the sea, fantasize about swimming in it (it is one of the most polluted seas in the world), and enjoy the peace.

Today, I did just that. For half an hour. It was heavenly. I don’t leave my sterilized car (you know by now, I am OCD.) 

In a sad way, I am enjoying the lockdown rules and pray that when they are eased, this law of even and odd numbers will remain to reduce the Lebanese air pollution that we live in. Oh how I wish. But if it doesn’t remain so, I will go back to driving on Sundays only! 


Hope for After Coronavirus (AC) 

Norma Bea Wallace, Bend, #Oregon

We have to get through it first.

Yes, there is Hope that life AC will return to a new normal. I’m sure we will not go back to Before Coronavirus (BC) behavior. Thinking about the new normal – we will have to create what that new normal, just like we have had to create what the new normal is after any life-changing event. 

In an earlier blogpost, I wrote about how life has changed for me after my husband passed away two years ago. I had to move forward. We will move forward, AC. But before we move forward, we have to get through the present life with the Coronavirus and how it affects us. 

So what am I doing during this lockdown?

I am fortunate – I can go out for walks and bike rides and keep social distancing. I live a short distance from National Forest Land. As more people are using the trails, I use them less. I have a stability ball, yoga mat, and some weights at home; I am using them.  I look forward to FaceTime with my family and checking by phone how friends are doing. I have a little patch of yard that I am getting ready; I’ll put in containers with flowers in them. A friend has a greenhouse and he has been starting my flowers in flats. What is the stuffed toy chicken named Aurora doing there? A year and a half ago I started a story about a romance between Aurora and Puffin, who you met on my first blog. She (Aurora) lives with the family that’s preparing my flowers. I had forgotten about that story until the other day. So, I am going to dust off that story and work on it.

I have been sewing masks for friends who needed them for work. I am going to start making them for neighbors too, because it looks like we will be needing them to go most places. So I have kept busy. I enjoy seeing and hearing what others are doing, which reminds me of what a photographer here in Bend is doing. 

The photographer was featured on the same local TV station as the mother I wrote about last week. She started going to her portrait clients’ homes. Using a long lens – in keeping with social distancing – she photographs activities the family is doing; perhaps sitting on their porch or working in their front yard. This helps so many people. The family thinks about the activity they want photographed, or the photographer suggests one and they create a memory. Some families were building human pyramids; some had costumes for a play; some were painting outside; and others working in their flowerbeds. The list seemed endless. I am sure that gave others ideas in addition to the family having their experience documented. I know it made me think of my flowers and going back to writing. There were so many creative ideas that I am sure it inspired other families to do something creative.

We will get through this, and as long as we have hope, we will figure it out in our own way. It will change us; let’s make the change for the better. We will have choices; I believe we will learn from this. 

I am forever hopeful. 


Time keeps on ticking

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

During lockdown, time has a certain fluid quality to it. Some days it goes by quickly; other days, it feels like it is simply not ticking. As the Steve Miller Band says, “Time keeps on ticking, ticking, into the future…” and that future is post-Corona. Then, I really do want to fly like an eagle.

Right now, the sad truth is that I plan my day around Clapping Time, when for 1 – 2 minutes, nothing but the sound of applause matters.

OK, 23.58 hours to go!

I find it easy enough to get my work done, clean the apartment, chat with friends and family, and catch up on the news. These activities keep me occupied for most the day. And let’s not forget the excitement of taking out the trash!

In the evenings, ping-pong and social media occupy me for a while.

But what gets me is the anxiety-ridden nights, those sleepless nights, when time keeps on ticking, and I have no answers for the future.


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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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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.