There is a big elephant in the room on this blog, and I have not been able to write any travel pieces because I feel like it would be crazy of me not to address it first. Today I start my 4th week staying at home because of the big C…coronavirus (in case you have not found out yet, please Google it immediately). I have felt all other blog post topics inadequate during this worldwide crisis. Yet, what else could I possibly tell you that you do not already know? Our lives have become incredibly similar despite cultural differences. We stay home with whomever we are quarantining with, read books, cook meals (perhaps more time consuming meals), take or teach online courses, attend multiple video calls a day, workout (or try to), live in sweatpants, snack all the snacks, and watch all the movies and Netflix series. These are a lot of people’s lives, even is we speak different languages and have miles of ocean separating us.
Mexico is still far behind in terms of number of corona cases (under 3000 as of today). I put myself on lockdown when there were 14 cases confirmed in my city (there are 40 as of today). Seeing how quickly things escalated in Europe, I felt it necessary to take action early. I teach English online to Chinese children, so I also had a closer look at how my students’ lives rapidly changed. Suddenly they were no longer going to school, and robots were delivering their food in some places. If a person delivered food they had to wait until that person was out of reach to open the door and grab their groceries, eliminating all physical contact with people outside their apartments. Elevators were shut down in some buildings so no one would leave. Many were stuck with extended family post the Chinese New Year celebration. People were singing to each other from their balconies in China way before that video of Italy went viral. To many, the coronavirus has only been happening for a couple of months. But this thing started in January, baby. Raise your hand if it feels like a year!
Bradley and I moved from Puerto Escondido to Querétaro in February. We decided to live apart indefinitely, and we each got our own place on opposite ends of the city center. After a month and a half of living on my own, I was beginning to LOVE IT! I found a gym near my loft and a great trainer to help me get in shape. I bought some basic furniture I loved, which made me feel the most adult I have ever felt in my life. I had more than enough to take care of myself, and I was even making new friends on my own (I had really relied on Bradley’s social skills in the past to build our social circle whenever we moved somewhere new).
Then life began to rapidly change in Europe and the U.S. Once coronavirus arrived in Mexico, I began to formulate plans of action. Things escalated a bit more, and both my job and Bradley’s job seemed slightly less reliable. We decided to move in together so we could take care of one another in case someone got sick, to save money on rent, and to keep each other company for what could otherwise be a long and lonely road ahead.
Before all this happened, our relationship was hanging by thread (which is why we separated). But once the big C hit our city, so many things did not matter and life was up in the air. At the end of the day, we are family to each other. That’s the thing about love, whether it is romantic or not, it never hesitates to take care the other.
I have seen people deal with lockdown in two ways. There’s a productive bunch, taking on a new language, an online course, completing daily workouts on their peloton bikes, picking up that dusty instrument, and whipping up masterpiece after masterpiece in the kitchen. Then there’s the other group: binge watching Netflix, struggling to change out of pj’s, drinking a bottle a day, and maybe getting lost in a book. Whatever side of the spectrum you find yourself in (I lean more toward the productive side, but sometimes sway to the pj side), let yourself be there. This is not normal. No one expects you to do anything other than stay at home. So we all have to find a way to cope with our situation, and to stay human. Whatever you managed to get done today, yay! You did it! You are doing great. Keep staying home. Stay safe, and keep others safe.
This is not an ideal time by any stretch of the imagination. But let’s remember the tools and resources meant to build on our resilience and peacefulness. If seeing this mainly as an awful crisis helps you and those around you, awesome. I am not here to tell you how to spend this time. What helps Bradley and I right now is to see the opportunities in front of us. For me, this time at home has been an opportunity to build healthy habits, to reconnect with old friends, to enjoy various forms of art (Netflix and mandalas count as art!), to strengthen my faith, to work my side business, and to once and for all realize that I am a guest to this planet.
Have you been able to find opportunities while staying home? If so, what are they? Or if not, at least leave some Netflix recommendations below because I will have plenty of time to check those out! I recommend the Mexican series “Unstoppable” to get a taste of this beautiful country while being entertained by feminist characters and lots of edge-of-your-seat drama.
Travels Staying In!