Well that’s pretty much what my life will be like the next two months (minus the friends on couch — with social distancing we’ll sit farther apart next time we meet). Pray my upcoming days won’t include people I know getting ill. My colleagues, our families and I are on a 60-day travel ban (this comes from our work, not Belgium). We are not allowed to leave Belgium, and our relatives are not allowed to come in to visit. I’m not complaining. We all have to do what we all have to do to keep this thing under control. But, that does mean our spring break trip has been cancelled. We can’t even drive the 20 minutes it takes to get into France.
We are not in a forced lockdown yet, but precautions are put into place. Beginning this weekend all bars and restaurants are closed (unless they offer takeaway only), all events cancelled and only grocery stores, street food markets and pharmacies can sell their wares (on weekends; during the week all stores can open). Fritteries, fry shops, remain open (lol you can’t stop the frites!) All schools are closed Monday, including mine.
We teachers still have to go to work to set up our online materials and teach online from our classrooms unless it gets to a point where we’re told to stay home. Confirmed cases in Belgium have jumped up to almost 900 — beginning of last week I think we had less than 100 (can’t remember: a week ago feels so long ago).
I, nor most of my American or Belgium counterparts, am not panicking. I do have a stash of paper towel and toilet paper, but we always have about that amount saved — my husband has this now-timely fear of running out of paper products. Who knew this would become one of our life-saving moments?
Yes on Friday (when closures were announced) our store aisles were bare, but most of them filled back up yesterday morning, so I think the mass buying will fizzle out here quicker than in the states
Our street is never this empty on a Sunday afternoon, but hey plenty of parking if anyone nearby wants to visit.
I’ve been preparing myself and my students for online learning, so I feel like the transition into that will be easier for us than those who found themselves having to make this shift overnight.
We’ve also got plenty of beer, wine and food stocked, so I plan on making us some great meals. I also plan on using this time to organize and clean my house and finally focus on two online classes I signed up for almost a year ago. I have to finish them by May, so giddy up it’s time to read and write the b.s. I’ve been avoiding. Provided I don’t get ill, I’ve been given precious time to do all those things I keep putting off because I don’t have enough time.
I’m of two halves on this thing. On the one hand I’m not worried that I’ll get sick, and I know I’m good at keeping my own morale up (not so sure I’m good at doing that with my husband, but whatevs shit will get done in this apartment). As long as we can, we’ll still meet up with friends in small settings because none of us likes being alone for too long (although this extravert is embracing the notion of some down time).
The other part of me is very aware of the dangers of this damned disease. Overall, I’m a healthy chunky monkey, so if I were to come down with this I’m pretty sure I’d beat it. Joe doesn’t fare so well with respiratory stuff (he gets sick way more than I do with those kind of ailments), and he’s a few years older, but while he might bitch and moan about how miserable he is, I sense he too would recover. BUT, there’s always that small chance that either of us won’t, so yeah that sucks — a shitty reality for all of us right now.
Belgium might become the next Italy or Spain. Right now we’re good, but it could go to super scary over night, and of course I pray and hope and throw out tons of positive vibes that it won’t. Universe I hope you’re taking in all that positivity! But, yeah, we’re all fully aware of the reverse of my good wishes, so we just won’t dwell on that unless we have to, and then we’ll take that one step at a time like every other obstacle that comes our way.
I do not think it’s stupid for all of these closures and cancellations. I don’t think it’s over reaction. I do wish our governments would have done it sooner to really wipe this thing out, but only time will tell if their timing wasn’t too late. I also do get why the waiting happened; closing everything down comes at a very large cost — hopefully, we all remember that it’s a worthwhile one, but again we’re an odd species, so we’ll see where it all goes.
I also worry about my sons who work in the restaurant industry back home. They’re young and healthy and currently still working, which is great for them financially, but how long will that last? It’s also affected my daughter’s business.
I worry about the long-term financial impact this will have on us all (and whether it will cause other tensions that lead to nastiness), but again now is not the time for me to focus on the negative, but it is a time to be alert and aware.
There is so much good also coming out of this. We’re learning how resourceful we can be, and I truly believe more of us are pitching in to do good than to take advantage of the situation (although of course those assholes are out there). I hope that when we’re collectively wiping our brows and exhaling because we survived this last bout of crisis, we will reflect and realize we can quickly make massive change for the better.
So it seems 2020 is the year of Wash Your Hands, and what a wonderful metaphor that could be for getting rid of all kinds of figurative bacteria that’s been making us ill for too long of a time. If we can close everything (for the betterment of all) and we can quickly realign the way we work and learn, hell’s yeah we could change those things we say are too embedded to change. Let’s remember that when life goes back to normal.
And thanks to Tracy for the best hand-washing gel a botanical sipper like me could ever scrub her fingers with.