I am feeling very philosophical and reflective today…
A week ago my neighbours were “the couple from 3rd floor” or “that family that live in the apartment across the courtyard”. Now they are Emilio & Carmen, Jose & Suzana and the three little ones Pepe, Suzi and Marta.
A week ago the little girl in the apartment behind ours used to interrupt the evening quiet attempting to plough some kind of a melody out of her flute when she practiced, now she delights us all with her free concerts from her bedroom window.
A week ago “I Will Survive” was a cheesy, out of fashion song, now it is our community anthem every evening at 8:30pm when four storeys of neighbours open their windows onto the courtyard to sing and clap and dance together to the music that keeps us feeling like we have a connection to one another, even though we cant talk to each other face to face.
A week ago supermarket cashiers and shelf stocker, went unnoticed and no-one gave them a second thought, now they are our heroes who risk their good health each and every day they go to work to make sure that we have food to eat in our homes.
A week ago we all took for granted the public health service, thinking that there would always be a doctor to attend to us, and a bed to recuperate in, should we need it, now we worry about unnamed nurses and doctors, who dont have enough masks or gloves to protect themselves, nor beds and ventilators to treat every seriously ill patient, and we marvel at the local family of Chinese shop owners who donated their entire stock of medical equipment to the hospital, or the magnate Amancio Ortega, who re-purposed his Zara clothes factories to making 300,000 face masks so far that were delivered for free to Spains hospitals.
Let’s not forget, when its all over, what the outbreak of COVID-19 has given us. A chance to step back, to re-evaluate the value of what we have, to treasure the emotional and the spiritual over the material, and to feel no longer merely an expat living in Spain, but more a part of human-kind than I have felt in my 37 year life.
After the weekend my children have decided to resist going back to the home-schooling routine. Today has been tough and frustrating to say the least. I can only hope that sticking to the agenda will get them back into the swing of things. On the plus side I have a new client who wants to send funds to Spain for purchasing a property he has just decided to put a deposit down for, so its all systems go.
Over the weekend we stretched our combined imaginations to come up with enough things to do that didnt involve watching TV. It would be way too easy to slip into that spiral and my childrens brains are not getting fried on my watch! Thankfully they are still at an age where simple things will entertain them. Fancy dress, puzzles, board games, doctors and nurses, you name it we did it.
Currently I am writing these lines to the accompaniment of my daughters doing a march up and down the corridor with a scarf on a mop handle as a banner while singing the soundtrack of Frozen II…
Is anyone else feeling a bit lost amidst all the conflicting advice that is flying around about the correct way to keep you and your loved ones from contracting COVID-19? For example, to wear or not to wear a mask. That is the question. On the news, the general consensus seems to be that you only need to wear a mask if you are infected, or if you are working closely with infected people, i.e. you are in a hospital. But the way that people panic bought up all the available masks in the country would seem to suggest that people think otherwise. Also, the few times I have been to the supermarket since lockdown EVERYONE seemed to be wearing one. Where they all got them from I dont know, because I cant get any anywhere.
So, rather than feeling left out, on Saturday I took matters into my own hands and dragged my sewing machine out from the back of the cupboard. It was a gift for my birthday several years back when I thought it would be amazing to make cute little dresses for my girls. Ha. How many dresses do you think I actually made? You guessed it. Zero. Nevertheless, my trusty little machine was now going to come in very handy. And about 2 hours later I had 4 custom made face masks for each of the members of my family. Now I never have to feel left out when going to the supermarket again.
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