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 66: #Coronavirus and a global perspective…

…on how to get along with your spouse during lockdown.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 66.


Meditating through marriage in lockdown

Tokyo Boom Boom Ciao*, #Beirut, #Lebanon

Really, meditation and yoga have been my one and only saviors during the lockdown here in Lebanon.

You realize things during quarantine about your husband. Sure, you marry for love and it’s romantic and you actually love your companion, but we were all used to spending a small amount of time together in those old days before Corona.

But in no one’s life are you with your husband every day, every minute, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week! You leave for work, he leaves for work, you are out of each others’ lives and whatnot from 6 pm until 10 pm, you have dinner, bath time, and homework if you have kids, watch a Netflix movie together…literally, it’s absurd to spend this much time with anyone.

And one other thing I am going to rant about: you guys are dirty. I never realized how you manage until now. You burp, and you think we don’t hear it? Your butt crack hangs out of your pants and you think we don’t see it? You lay all over furniture with your sweat, you think we don’t smell it and deodorize it when you are not around? You don’t wash your hands after you eat and you eat all day! I didn’t know that until we started living quarantine lives. And you go to the toilet with the door open, who does that?

I am not living with my husband anymore; I am living with a college roommate all over again!

Alright, I am exhausted from this quarantine and have no solutions except the need to go back to work regularly and not live with my husband all day long for the rest of my life. Until then, ughhhhhh…..I will go meditate and practice yoga again.

Retrieved from Pullingcurls.com
No copyright infringement intended.

* Pseudonym to protect the innocent

Co-existence for dummies

RJD, Beirut, Lebanon

When I speak to my friends locally and internationally, I hear the same about coexistence: I am going to kill my partner if these lockdowns continue!

Yes, we are all under duress, we are all anxious and worried, and we are all getting on each others’ nerves. Thirty to forty percent of the world population will go through a depression or anxiety-related issues in the coming few months.

So how do we coexist? Here is my list:

  1. Socially distance yourself. Bathrooms are great places for that. Wait for your partner to finish daily bathroom needs and spend as much time in the bathroom as you can. You can do a self-care ritual, you can sit and read, listen to music, message and talk to friends in private and complain about your partner!
  2. Create time zones. Take a fake nap in the afternoon, watch a movie or series alone, or just meditate more often! Transport yourself to a different time zone for an hour or two each day while your partner is awake.
  3. Sing. Sing badly in a loud voice around your home, hum or whistle. Usually, your partner will get fed up and move to a different space!
  4. Consider the best-case scenario.  What would you love to do on your own right now? Travel? Watch a YouTube trip to somewhere you love, pretend you are there. Get drunk with your friends, host a party (in the bathroom), make a drink, and cheer each other.
  5. Encourage your partners’ friends to stay more in touch.
  6. Create a man/woman cave for them.
  7. If all else fails, have a fake fit! It does calm things down!!!!

The lockdowns will end one day, but you don’t want to end up in a situation where you are permanently alone (or do ya?!), so make the effort and apply co-existence for dummies ideas to get by for a few more days…weeks… months…it will end one day.

Found during an extensive Internet search.
No copyright infringement intended.

Knickers in a twist

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

There is a saying in Arabic for when two people have been spending a lot of time together. We say “tizein bil bas.” Translated it means “two asses in an underwear.”

Usually the saying is used when the two are getting along with one another. But after spending so much time together in such close proximity, it’s inevitable that the underwear becomes way too tight and nerves/threads start to fray. And they basically can get their knickers in a twist.

I must admit that my husband and I are finally dealing with this constant oneness quite well. We have decided that we are each entitled to feel the way we want. We are also allowing each other to be as productive or as lazy as we want.

Do you see the common thread? Allowing the other person to live as an individual is key to a lasting relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, we still have our moments. For instance, I dread hearing him call my name when he is sitting in his home office at his computer. A sure sign that he has a technical questions. It maybe the fifth time he has asked about this issue and this is the fifth time I give him the solution. I take a deep breath and bite my tongue… haha, anyone who knows me knows I would never bite my tongue, but rather I bite his head off!

Sometimes I feel especially angry and want to go and lock all the controls on electrical appliances and watch his baffled face as he tries to warm something in the microwave.

What? I’ve never done that! I was just thinking about it…

Anyway, back to the positive interactions. We go on walks together a lot, we eat and drink together a lot too. But if I am truly honest, the key to success is this: Live independently but not selfishly. Share in the chores and never expect things to get done without asking for them first.

Retrieved from chatelaine.com
No copyright infringement intended.

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Post 9: #Coronavirus and a global perspective

Here’s our installment for Day 9. We’re chronicling our experiences during the #COVID-19 lockdowns, quarantines, and other restrictions. Mayya S. in Herndon, VA, came up with the idea for us to share our experiences.

Care to join us? 

A mother’s dilemma

Tina F. in Fairfax, VA

I have two children. My 21-year-old daughter is in college and works as a nurse technician in the coronary unit at INOVA hospital. She already lives at home. Her college will begin online classes and her job is obviously secure. She has not really had to modify her work life because of the #Coronavirus. But after her 12-hour night shift at the hospital I greeted her and asked about the state of the hospital and she said, “the shit is going to hit the fan in a couple of weeks, Mom” and disappeared to shower off her hospital germs and sleep.

My son is 18 and is attending culinary school in New York. Last week his university moved up Spring Break and sent the students home for an extended 3-week break. Since they are on a year-round school, that meant they were utilizing the 2 weeks of summer break too.

He has been home for a week and yesterday he was told that the university will be closed until at least May 11. They are going online with classes, but as a hands on learning school this will be a challenge.

We gave my son a well-deserved several days off; he is on break after all. As a matter of fact, we have all been watching more TV and binge eating. But his isolation has become a concern for this Mama.

At 11:00 am I knock on his door.

“Sweetheart, don’t you think its time to get out of bed? “

“Why?”

“Well, so you can get things done and give yourself a sense of accomplishment?”

“Like get what done?”

If it were a normal day I would have yelled GET A JOB! But I said, “I don’t know like….”

“EXACTLY! There’s nothing to do!”

Well, that’s not exactly true. My husband and I have given him household chores like taking out the trash, changing light bulbs, etc. And most importantly, going to pick up food for everyone. He accomplishes these tasks in record speed, then retreats to his cocoon with his PS4 and online streaming.

At dinner, I told him that I would like to spend some time together and asked him if he had any ideas about what we could do. His answer was vague and evasive. My suggestion of ping-pong was scoffed at. Then he said, “We could play Monopoly!” A glimmer of hope washed over me. “Sure, honey, that’s a great idea!”

“Ok, maybe tomorrow” and returned to his room.

Prices have gone up since Tina was a kid!

My question to you all is, how do you get through to your adult children who are stuck in this unprecedented limbo? Especially college-age kids, who have discovered their independence and think any time spent with their parents is being a loser.

Tomorrow after Monopoly I will start a new strategy. I just have to think of one.

***

Time to Stop Brawlin’
and Start Compromisin’

Sunny, a Global Cowgirl® in Frederick, Maryland

Life in the time of Corona is chock full of dire messages from the Dark Side, but what about a message from the Light? Of course, today’s medical town criers obsessively tell me in this time of Corona there’s just one degree of separation between me and the Grim Reaper. But I’ve been to the near-death rodeo a few times before and no horse has bucked me off yet. So, I’ll just do what I’ve always done—saddle up, shove my boots in the stirrups, and show this latest horse the meaning of true grit. And if I get bucked off? Well, everyone gets bucked out of Life eventually.

What fascinates me more than getting thrown by Corona, is the valuable lesson it’s sending me. Compromise. We need to stop our brawlin’ and start compromisin’.

Politicians and government officials may talk compromise, but, if the proof is the pudding, then the pudding they’re serving us is rancid. The willingness to compromise in this time of Corona—and after—rests with us, we the people. Right now, the US, and the world, is on a train headed toward a mountain where no one’s dug a tunnel. I think Corona is gonna kick our petards into the next life if we don’t put down our dukes and come together to send Corona packing.

Is compromise and peace between the human species possible? When I get discouraged, I reread a message I wrote to myself after going to Antietam Battlefield. It is a reminder from the Light that compromise is possible…

Burnside Bridge

Battlefield of Peace

Peace. Countries around the world search for peace with guns and megaweapons drawn. We’ve even got war colleges dedicated to developing new ways to fight for peace. All of this done in the hope of achieving this elusive human yearning.

While my own life is full of vexations, frustrations, and anything but peace, I’ve found a place where I can feel and even “see” the peace I ache to experience all the time.

Ironically, the spot is on a battlefield where the bloodiest single day of fighting in American history took place. September 17, 1862. The Civil War’s Battle of Antietam, near Sharpsburg, Maryland.

Antietam Creek ran red with the blood of Union and Confederate soldiers. Over twenty-three thousand were killed, wounded, or missing.

There is a bridge that runs over Antietam Creek—Burnside Bridge. When I stand in the center of the bridge, I see a delicate cloud coming up from the earth, blanketing battlefield and creek. Within the cloud’s mist swirls a Light not of this world. Looking into the mist, my mind and body go calm. All worries evaporate. The air is pure, and with each breath, I’m filled with the cloud’s peace. I can see the misty cloud and feel its serenity every time I stand on Burnside Bridge.

There is something else. I sense the presence of the soldiers who died there, Union and Confederate. There is no rancor between them. Each body released its soul, and these thousands of souls made a peace among themselves that is beyond our understanding here on earth. They rest in harmony at Antietam.

I return again and again to Burnside Bridge to feel the unfettered peace that stretches out to enfold and caress its visitors, no matter the horror of our personal or political battlefields.

(from A Global Cowgirl Takes Stock of Life’s Lessons, being released in Spring 2020)

In our battle with Corona, I hope I’m able to lay down my discouragements, frustrations, and anger around the battle and use this time to see the Light in every person. To open myself to the compromises we’re all going to have to make to stop that train from running into the side of the mountain where no one’s dug a tunnel…at least not yet.

***

Another Sunday

RJD in Beirut, Lebanon

Today is another Sunday in Beirut. Oh no sorry, it’s Monday, Tuesday? Not sure anymore. Reminds me of an old movie called “If it’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium” https://youtu.be/n2lEC58jtMI (for those who need an oldie but goodie to watch!)

So on this Monday, it is the beginning of our second week in quarantine. Realistically though, for me, it started yesterday when the military actually stopped people moving and gathering. Essentially, that prolongs our 2-week quarantine.

Most friends I am connecting with are starting to feel the worry and anxiety. Boredom, fear, loneliness are setting in. To stay busy, I cleaned out our pool room and opened pool season early (it’s okay to do that when days and weeks seem endlessly intertwined.)

In the process, I blasted the speakers with Lebanese Revolution songs and danced and sang as I cleaned. It was quite an outlet.

Tomorrow, Thursday, I mean Tuesday, it’s going to be planting day in hopes of seeds bringing new life which will help us see the light at the end of our tunnel. I am sure there is one…I want you, all my friends out there, to not despair and stay with me to see the light. We shall overcome.

***

Gratitude

RafifJ in Malaga, Spain

Day 9. Cold and rainy in Malaga. The wet streets are oddly beautiful. The rain makes the only sound that breaks the silence in this city that used to be so full of joy and merriment.

The news is more disheartening than the cold rain. More than 33,000 cases reported, including nearly 4,000 health workers. Lockdown extended to April 11. No flattening of curves in sight.

Calle Larios in Malaga

Being on lockdown teaches you to be thankful. Maybe guilty, too, because there are so many who are sick or suffering, and you’re thankful for not being one of them.

Going to the supermarket becomes an exercise in introspection. You appreciate being outdoors. You become grateful for the legs that take you to the market; the arms that carry back your purchases; the money that made the purchase possible. We’ll get through this somehow.

Clapping Time, even though short, makes you realize that you are applauding someone who may soon be your doctor, your nurse, your caregiver. This virus knows no race, religion, nationality, or income level. Let’s get through this, somehow. #StayHome. #StaySafe.

***

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