The world has stopped. We had to face many challenges and there is still uncertainty of the future, of what the world will look like “after”. The coronavirus is the most spoken word in recent months. How are we doing in Spain?
Spain is one of the countries more strongly affected by COVID-19. The situation in April was indeed critical. But Spain is a huge country, so the greatest devastation the virus caused in Madrid and Barcelona. Here, on the Costa Blanca, it was not that bad.
How did it all begin?
At first, no one cared about the corona. Just another flu virus. However, after some time the reports from the world lighted the red lights up in many heads.
March 13th was Friday. We were sitting at home from that day on. We decided not to send Tomasz to school. As it later turned out, most of the parents did the same, although the schools were officially closed only from Monday, March 16th.
“Quedate en casa” means “Stay home”.
At first, there were some mixed feelings. I wasn’t afraid for ourselves, because we were going to sit at home and not see anyone. I was worried about our families, friends, and also about what would happen next. I remember that after maybe two weeks, I was briefly terrified how we would stand being at home alone in case the schools remained closed until the end of the school year and nobody would visit us, because the borders were also closed.
The state of emergency has been extended after two weeks by two more weeks. My 3.5-year-old son was happy to spend so much time with his parents at home. Mainly with Mom, because Dad works almost all day long. Fortunately, he is a web developer, so he works remotely.
The other lucky thing is having a dog. Only short walks with the dog were allowed during this period. So at least for a moment, we could go for a lonely walk. Apparently, in some cities, people have begun to lend their four-legged friends for money!
Another happiness is having a yard. It is quite small, but better than none. And yet some people live in apartment blocks. Some even don’t have balconies. It’s hard to imagine how they cope with being locked in an apartment. And yet with a child?
Big luck we have ourselves. The three of us, plus a dog, were locked together. And yet some people live alone. They have no one next to them to support them in such difficult moments.
Good that there’s an internet. For those who are lonely, for those who are separated and for everyone else who has access to the network, this is a huge help. How many games I have found to play with a child at home!
And one more happiness. The sun! At the beginning of the quarantine, the weather was average. It rained a little, it blew a lot. Now it got hot. Every time the sun comes out, I feel brighter.
At first, nothing was known. How long it will take, how long they will lock us down and whether there will be products in the shops. The madness of buying meat and toilet paper, among other things, began. Now we still don’t know anything, but people have stopped a little bit with gathering the supplies.
We did stock up, but, I would say, reasonably. We had enough food for two weeks. It would have been possible to prolong the time without going to the shop, but it would be survival mode, and it was allowed to go to the store so it didn’t make sense. And so, once every second week Jurek was driving to the shop, wearing a mask and gloves.
I always had troubles with planning my lunches. The kitchen is not my domain, but since my husband-non-husband works, preparing meals is my task. I tried to make a weekly schedule so that I didn’t have to run to the store every day. And it never worked out. Corona showed me that planning lunches for even two weeks is possible.
Since January we have been on a keto or ketogenic diet. I won’t go into details now, maybe another time. I’ll just mention that keto is a kind of diet. Some people call it a lifestyle. This term speaks more to us. The main rule is not eating bread, rice, pasta or sugar.
At first, I thought that maintaining such a diet would be an additional challenge. Now I think it made it even easier for us to organise products that would last for two weeks.
So I have acquired a great ability to plan meals and limit visits to the store. Two weeks is quite a long period, at the end of which our fridge is practically empty. But even after coronavirus, I am not going to go to the shop more often than once a week. This way I will save time and money because when you visit a supermarket you will usually buy something off the list. Especially when you visit a store with a child.
Development of coronavirus pandemic
The state of emergency in Spain was imposed on March 14th for two weeks. After this period, it was extended for another two weeks. I checked COVID’s statistics every day. The numbers grew at an alarming rate. I can’t remember when I stopped doing it so regularly. I keep looking at the charts from time to time, but not every day.
On April 26th, that is after more than a month, we were allowed to go out with the children. 1 kilometre away from home, 1 hour, 1 time a day and with 1 parent. We took this opportunity immediately, but my beloved child, on the second day, was screaming that he did not want to go for a walk. Eventually, I managed to convince him and it was fun, but walking is probably not something that kids like the most. A trip is something different. But these were still not allowed.
Adults were allowed to leave houses on May 2nd. We had a dog and a child, so we had some walking possibilities all the time. But the childless and dogless were not allowed to walk before. Since May 2nd, in communes with over 5000 inhabitants, the day was divided into time intervals. And so, from 6:00 to 10:00, adults could walk, from 10:00 to 12:00, people over 70. years old, from 12:00 to 19:00, adults with children, from 19:00 to 20:00, adults over 70 and from 20:00 to 23:00 adults.
On May 11th, most of Spain entered the first phase of de-escalation. The most important thing that has changed for us was that the whole family was allowed to drive within the province and that you could meet in groups of up to 10 people with a safe distance of 2 meters. Apart from that, restaurants could start to receive guests in the gardens, smaller shops opened, and slowly the city markets started to be restored.
On 21 May, the obligation to wear masks (until now, they were obligatory on public transport only) was extended to places both inside and outside, where it is impossible to keep a safe distance.
On June 1 we entered the second phase. Most shops and shopping malls opened, restaurants could receive guests inside the premises, meetings could be attended by 15 people at a time. Finally, it was possible to use swimming pools and beaches. Of course, everything with a safe distance. And the hours 10:00-12:00 and 19:00-20:00 remain reserved for people older than 70.
The state of emergency supposed to be lifted on June 21st and from July 1st the tourist traffic is to be raised.
A positive view of the future
Sometimes I think about how many people complain about the current situation. Sure, it’s not easy. I cannot even try to predict what the consequences are and will be for the world economy, for millions of individuals who have lost loved ones, jobs or businesses because of the coronavirus. Millions of tragedies take place every day. And then I think, though it is impossible to imagine, what happens during the war. People can not only leave home, families are separated, but it is also not clear where the threat will come from. It can happen that someone goes out for food and won’t come back. Constant fear. How to live?
That’s why we have to learn to appreciate what we have, even if it’s not much. Let’s do what we can instead of thinking about what we have no control over. In small steps, we’ll get somewhere too.
At the end, I wish to share a Spanish song, the coronavirus anthem.